LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The Beatles are coming to Southwest Florida, 50 years after their historic first visit to America. They come in the form of an exhibit of rare and never-seen photos from the winter of 1964.
"These pictures are really candid, behind the scenes most of them, and they show a relaxed and fun side of the Beatles as they first came to the United States," says Matt Johnson, director of the Southwest Florida Museum of History in Fort Myers.
The pictures, from a Life Magazine and CBS phorographers, show the Beatles in New York City, their frenzied fans, their appearances on the Ed Sullivan TV show, and their train trip to Washington. Pictures also show the Fab Four rehearsing in Miami Beach, and goofing off in the surf.
"What strikes me is their youth. They were just young guys, and they changed the world. They changed culture and music and hair-styles and everything you can think of. And they were kids, really," says Johnson.
The exhibit also features Beatles items from the collection Steve Brettholtz of Lee County.
He is a former musician who sits on the board of directors of the history musuem.
"What strikes me is their youthful exuberance in these pictures. This was early '64, after the Kennedy assasination, so some of the innocence of the times was going away. But they were so full of joy and fun in these pictures. Later, they all changed, as society changed.But this is a really neat look at those early days," says Brettholtz.
The exhibit opens on Friday, Jan. 24 at the museum, 2031 Jackson St., Fort Myers. It runs until April. The musuem also is hosting a fund-raiser at Harborside event Center on February 8, featuring a Beatles tribute band, known as Beatlemaniax. You can find more information on the website, MUSEUMofHISTORY.org