News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion Columns

February 8, 2014

MARK BENNETT: Yeah, yeah, yeah... For some grownups, first impression not so fab

TERRE HAUTE — We’re pretty smart here in middle America.

Our DNA carries the common-sense chromosome. From birth, Midwestern culture begins honing us into the most rational and perceptive of human beings. Sure, our prisons are full, but generally, we mean well. And we’re wise.

With maybe one exception, back in 1963. Some grownups in the heartland got a sneak preview of The Beatles a year before 73 million other Americans met the Fab Four — 50 years ago today on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” Midwesterners heard those twentysomething foreigners first and weren’t impressed.

Oops.

On a 2006 visit to Terre Haute, Louise Harrison recalled the shrug The Beatles’ sound received when she took the earliest recordings by her “kid brother’s band” from Liverpool, England, to radio stations in Illinois and elsewhere in 1963. Louise moved from the UK to the USA that year, when her husband’s coal mining job shifted to the southern Illinois town of Benton. Her sibling, George, 11 years younger, played lead guitar for The Beatles back in Britain.

Louise tried to get Americans to listen. Unfortunately, programming directors at the stations were mostly male, and responded to her pleas with condescension and chauvinism.

“They said, ‘You should go home and take care of your husband and stop worrying about your kid brother’s band. Nobody’s ever going to listen to that,’” Louise remembered in a presentation to captivated students and faculty at Sarah Scott Middle School eight years ago. Her quip drew chuckles from the adults in the school gym.

Louise went to Sarah Scott at the invitation of former principal Mark Miller, who well understood her connection to history. He told the youngsters, “I don’t know if you realize what we’ve got here, but for people my age, this is like having the president’s sister here.” With all due respect to Miller — a friend and my former freshman baseball coach — meeting Louise was better than meeting any president’s sister. There have been 45 presidents. There were only four Beatles.

I guess Miller’s analogy could apply. For Lincoln aficionados, this was like meeting Abe’s sister. It was surreal and amazing.

Louise came to tell their story and promote the Liverpool Legends, a tribute band based in Branson, Mo., and I had the chance to talk at length with her. At 74, she spoke with enthusiasm that sparkled in her sharp blue eyes. Her bright smile and Livepudlian accent conjured images of her late brother, who died of lung cancer in 2001. She brought photos of herself, roaming backstage at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York on the night George and his mates debuted in America.

Like billions elsewhere, I’ve enjoyed their music since buying my first 45 — “Hello, Goodbye” — at the Terre Haute Kmart at 25th and Wabash. I was 7 years old, and decades later, I can still visualize standing in the checkout line with my folks, reading the record’s label and smelling the onions from the submarine sandwiches the store sold near its entrance. Beatles memories are like that — they stick.

That’s why so many people will recount their whereabouts on Feb. 9, 1964, when the foursome burst onto TV screens from Boston to Albuquerque. Just 3 then, I was too young to maintain a clear memory of it, but I’m sure our family — like 40 percent of the U.S. population — watched Ed’s “really big shoo” that night. Households didn’t have a flat-screen in every room of the house in those days. They had one television set. The whole family watched the same program, like it or not.

On Feb. 9, 1964, most Americans — especially the younger ones — liked what they heard and saw.

A youthful mind tends to be more open, thank goodness, and not every radio station turned down The Beatles when Louise showed up with their single, “From Me To You” in the summer of 1963, eight months before the “Ed Sullivan Show.” The documentary, “A Beatle in Benton,” detailed George Harrison’s trip to southern Illinois in September 1963 to visit Louise (and check out the United States). George stayed 18 days, played with a local combo at the Benton VFW, wowing the crowd, stunned by “the Elvis of England,” as he was introduced.

A few months earlier, as Louise trekked from town to town, trying to get a DJ to play “From Me To You,” she made a stop at a station in West Frankfort, Ill. A young female DJ, high-schooler Marcia Raubach, played the record on WFRX-AM, according to the documentary and a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. When George came to scope out America that September, he and his big sister dropped in at WFRX, and the station aired the single, “She Loves You.”

A teenager in small-town Illinois gave The Beatles their first exposure in America before Ed Sullivan.

For all those stations who told Louise “no,” a high-schooler said yeah, yeah, yeah. Kids can be wise.

Mark Bennett can be reached at 812-231-4377 or mark.bennett@tribstar.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion Columns
  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: They didn’t make it!

    The “One and Dones” done went and didn’t! (I know this is grammatically incorrect, but I want those folks down in Kentucky to read it.)

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: Royce Waltman

    In recent days the papers have been full of good things about Royce Waltman. Not a lot of puffery, but more like Royce himself… straight, true and right at you.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • LIZ CIANCONE: Not much peace since war to end all wars

    My jaw dropped the other day when I read that this year, 2014, marks 100 years since the start of World War I. No, you wise guys, I wasn’t there personally.

    April 14, 2014

  • MARK BENNETT: It’s (Not) So Easy

    Arctic air bled into the Wabash Avenue post-hippie-era diner-pub every time the wooden door swung open.

    April 12, 2014

  • ERIC SCHANSBERG: The 1040 tax form turns 100

    The 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution brought us the federal income tax in 1913. A year later, the 1040 tax form was born.

    April 12, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Pondering our planet’s future

    I watched a TV show recently and the subject was global warming.

    April 11, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Bits & Pieces

    I don’t know about you, but I get a total sense of helplessness when I realize 239 people died in one airplane crash. And to make it worse, if that is possible, the loved ones left behind can’t close. Maybe this week.

    April 10, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: Basketball and Done

    I guess I’m going to have to change my mind about the “One and Done” rule. It would seem the future professionals wearing university uniforms — national runner-up Kentucky is an example — has proven me a fool. Why should I care about the education they are getting, or not getting?

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • LIZ CIANCONE: Angling for a mate not fond of fishing

    While many little girls daydream about the dream man they hope to find, it seems to me that they concentrate on all the wrong things. I can’t discount the appeal of beauty, brains and virtue, but my dream man was one who was not dedicated to fishing.

    April 7, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: A fine mess for collegiate sports

    Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were a comedic team in the late 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.

    April 4, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: The Angry Planet

    It is better to imagine an ocean as peaceful and calm.  The problem is, an ocean is very rarely, ever that way. I remember when a writer took his wife and family from New York to England in his sailboat. And later, his wife commented there was never a time she could have something cooking on the stove without the food spilling out.

    April 3, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Learning as you go

    I have always been a person who respects education. Education doesn’t always come to you in the orderly process of school and classroom. Sometimes, it finds you in work-a-day situations.

    April 1, 2014

  • LIZ CIANCONE: Words can take us on memorable excursions

    When The Tribune-Star recently asked the reading public to name “the best” in dozens of categories, I didn’t hesitate in naming Mike Lunsford as my favorite columnist.

    March 31, 2014

  • MARK BENNETT: Volunteers’ cleanup efforts key to river’s future role in community

    People throw all kinds of garbage into and along the Wabash River, aiming to make their used-up stuff disappear from their lives.

    March 29, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Even NCAA floors pure Americana

    I noticed during the NCAA Tournament games I have been watching that all of them have identical basketball floors, regardless of where the game was played.

    March 28, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: Guns and Schools

    I guess I just don’t get it. Perhaps I’m not smart enough. Those who don’t agree with me very often probably think that is the problem — me not being smart.
    The idea that children will be safer if you have a gun in your car in the school parking lot, or somewhere on school grounds, leaves me with the traditional “Duh!” I don’t wish to poke fun at those honest citizens who “pack” and hope they will be able to do something good in the way of helping family or neighbors in the event of a crisis, but often in those situations innocent people get shot.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • RONN MOTT: Flight 370

    Not too many days ago, I heard a reporter refer to Flight 370 as an accident. It wasn’t an accident … it was, most likely, murder. If this aircraft went down in the Indian Ocean, we will be extremely fortunate to find the remains of the plane and any of the people on it.

    March 25, 2014

  • LIZ CIANCONE: Memories stir desire to collect new ones

    I was talking with a friend the other day, a much younger friend. Somehow the conversation turned to early memories. One of her earliest memories had to do with 9/11 and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers.

    March 24, 2014

  • MARK BENNETT: Dues Paid, change under way

    In the 1940s, Dorothy Jerse sat in a University of Illinois accounting class, listening to a guest speaker.

    March 22, 2014 1 Story 1 Video

  • RONN MOTT: Catching up on the here and now

    Oh my, write down the date, underline it, and say, “The guesswork in Ronn’s column the other day was wrong!”

    March 21, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: The Russian Bear

    As I’m writing this, the official word from the Crimean election is not yet in. It doesn’t have to be … Putin would not have an election for the Crimea to ask itself out of the Ukraine back into Russia because he does not want to be embarrassed. 

    March 20, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: Thank you, NCAA

    The MEAC, the MAAC and the MAC. Do you know? And how much do you know mixed with how much do you care? Now we know the MAC, they’re practically home boys. That’s Northern Illinois, Ball State and a handful of teams in Ohio. But you get reacquainted with some of these schools because of the NCAA Tournament.

    March 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • LIZ CIANCONE: Spreading news from one ‘Liz’ to another

    I received a letter the other day from a Yorkville High School classmate. It wasn’t snail mail, it was written in cursive writing and although it required more than the 3-cent stamp of my youth, it found our mailbox within a couple of days of posting.

    March 17, 2014

  • KIEL MAJEWSKI: Sexual violence demands the world’s action

    I have a lot to learn in life, but I am convinced of this: The day men share power equally with women is the day we will see true peace in this world. The day women and girls are valued as much as men and boys, and are treated with the same respect as their male counterparts, is the day we will finally see healthy societies.

    March 15, 2014

  • MARK BENNETT: All aboard!

    Find me a George Mason University basketball T-shirt in Indiana.

    March 15, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: One and done, 2014 style

    Hoosiers, this time of the year, turn their minds and emotions to the grand old game of “hoops.”

     

    March 14, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Ukraine 2

    The situation in the Ukraine should let us know plainly, and openly, the old saying about a leopard never changing its spots is true. Vladimir Putin is a KGB officer, grew up a communist and, from all appearances, still believes like a communist.

    March 13, 2014

  • MET 031214 BACON MAYO.jpg MARK BENNETT: First BaconFest sure to cure your salty fried meat cravings

    Bacon taught me a life lesson.
    I wrapped strips of it around chicken livers and secured the cold, gooey bundles with toothpicks to earn money.

    March 12, 2014 3 Photos

  • RONN MOTT: SAWS

    A few days ago we talked to John Anderson of the Greencastle Presbyterian Church. He’s the coordinator for a mission of the church that builds ramps and stairs for those who are physically handicapped in Putnam County.

    March 11, 2014

  • LIZ CIANCONE: We’re not only ones ready for springtime

    During the most recent of our numerous descents into polar temperatures, I was astounded to see a dozen or more robins up to their ankles in snow. They were fluffed out to about twice their normal size. I suppose that was an effort to provide a bit of feathered insulation against the cold.

    March 10, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual
NDN Video
Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity