50 years ago: The Beatles sold-out Cincinnati Gardens

A program cover from The Beatles' 1964 Cincinnati Gardens show. (FOX19 file)
A program cover from The Beatles' 1964 Cincinnati Gardens show. (FOX19 file)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - It's been 50 years since 14,000 screaming fans welcomed the Fab Four from across the pond to Cincinnati.

The Beatles played a sold-out show August 27, 1964 at Cincinnati Gardens, where the concert lasted a mere 29 minutes and tickets were only $5.50.

For the Cincinnatians who can say "I was there",  the experience was worth a lot more.

"I had never been anywhere and experienced anything like that before, but I'm sure I was up there yelling with everybody," says Talethia Miller, who was a 15-year-old at Sycamore High School when she attended the show.

The Beatles' first Cincinnati show was only six months after the band made the now-famous appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, their American television debut that had an unprecedented 73 million people tuned in.

The hype from that show led local disc jockeys, known as 'The WSAI Good Guys,' to secure The Beatles in Cincy.

Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes, who was part of The Good Guys, says they sent a telegram to London requesting The Beatles stop in Cincinnati. When they got the green-light, each Good Guy pitched in $5,000 to cover the $25,000 appearance fee.

The Beatles spoke to the media backstage at Cincinnati Gardens while The Righteous Brothers and Jackie DeShannon opened the show.

"I couldn't wait for those people to get off the stage," Vicki Sims recalled as she sat inside the Cincinnati Gardens and reminisced with FOX19 NOW about that night.

"The seats were just, we couldn't have asked for anything better," said Sims, who remembered the incredibly loud and screaming fans more than anything. In the minimal footage remaining of the show, the Fab Four can hardly be heard over shrieking fans.

The Beatles returned to the Queen City's Crosley Field, the former home of the Cincinnati Reds, two years later on August 20, 1966.

Cincinnati then went 45 years without any Beatlemania action until 2011 when Paul McCartney played for a generation-spanning crowd at Great American Ballpark.

With the media attention and influence the group had 50 years ago, will we ever see anything like the Cincinnati Gardens show again?

"I don't think this moment's gonna be replicated any ways similar, ever again," says Rhodes.

FOX19 NOW'S Betsy Ross and Dan Wood contributed to this story.

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