We love them, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. Beatlemania in the United States had its start on February 7, 1964. It was a seemingly normal day as the Pan Am Yankee Clipper flight took off from London’s Heathrow with The Beatles in tow ready for their first visit to the United States. After the jaunt across the pond, they arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City with quite an introduction. They were met with a near riot as 3,000 teary-eyed and hysterically screaming fans strained for just a glimpse. Dressed in mod-suits and sporting their trademark pudding bowl haircuts, the Fab Four did their famous press conference at JFK for their eager listeners.
Little did they know that the JFK arrival was just the beginning of Beatlemania. Two short days later, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison were ready for their real introduction to all of America on the beloved Ed Sullivan Show. An estimated 40% of the U.S. population (73 million), tuned in to watch the performance muffled by the screams of teenage girls in the studio audience. This performance on the Ed Sullivan Show was their true arrival into the iconic adventure of American music and pop culture history.
But what was the engine behind the scenes that actually made it happen?
The answer is presented here in this very offering. It is the contract that put into motion and finalized their commitment to the Ed Sullivan Show. This particular agreement would have been on file with the show’s production company. It was basically, a deduction of dues agreement to the AFL-CIO and it was signed for the producer of the show Robert Precht by each member.
NEVER before has any contract or document surfaced with their full name handwritten signatures disclosing the details of the Ed Sullivan performance. And here it is
And yes that’s right, it is important to note that they are signed formally with their full names as any contractual document would be. They signed,John. W. Lennon (John Winston Lennon), james.P. McCartney (James Paul McCartney), George Harrison and Richard Starky (Ringo Starr). Any Richard Starky signature alone makes this a tremendously impossible find.
The owner was inspired by the 50th Anniversary of the Ed Sullivan Show and a recent 1960s CNN documentary to bring these contractual documents to the public light.
With the magnitude of the documents importance, it was necessary to get renowned authenticator Roger Epperson to examine and authenticate them in person. Epperson stated, “The autographs being fully hand written, “J. W. Lennon (John Winston Lennon), J.P. McCartney (James Paul McCartney), George Harrison and Richard Starky (Ringo Starr) would fetch mid to high six figures. These particular signatures are binding the Beatles to the 1964 Ed Sullivan show on a formal document and contract. There’s no telling what price a collector would pay for them.”
Understandably, condition is important when it comes to documents. These are in pristine condition with each having a staple hole in the top left corner as they were once fastened together. There are no tears or discolorations on the off-white paper. In fact, they have not seen the light of day since 1992 when they were purchased right under the nose of Beatles superfan Michael Jackson at a private collector’s party. Apparently, Jackson did not step up to the plate with enough cash.
Producer, Robert Sprecht did not sign his name on the corresponding signature line on each of the four Ed Sullivan contracts, because this was the producer and accounting copy. Technically, it did not have to be signed unless it was called upon by another party. These documents would have been filed away with Production Company.
Each 9×6 document reads :
“To Robert Precht, I hereby assign to the New York Local of the American Federation of the Television and Radio Artists (AFL-CIO), from any fees earned or to be earned by me as your employee in connection with your program entitiled Ed Sulllivan Show for the week ending in 2/9/64, the sum of Two hundred seven dollars and .50 cents $207.50 on account of initiation fee and or membership dues as shall be required by my membership in said Union. I authorize and direct you to deduct such amount from the fees due me and to remit the same to the Union. Very truly yours, –”
The Release was created the day before the Beatles arrived in America which was February 6, 1964. The Beatles arrived on the 7th, and when they came into the Ed Sullivan Theatre, it was there that they signed these documents.
Within the original Contract signed by Epstein, provisions and rules are very prevalent as to how the contracts must be completed and written in order to ensure they were following the union guidelines. This is another reason that the Ed Sullivan Release is so significant. Each and every part of the documents had to be carefully executed in order to get the Beatles on stage.
When it comes to the Beatles memorabilia, anything written, played used or owned by the Fab Four continues to soar in value. And we do mean anything: In 2011, a dentist paid over $31K for Lennon’s decayed tooth, we here at BidAMI sold Lennon’s Balwin Upright Piano for over $250,000 and his White Steinway Piano sold for over $2 million. Autographed albums have been selling over $120,000k. Recently, Pawn Stars featured a Beatles Contract signed by the Fab Four for $1 million. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!