Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

14,000 Expected to See Beatles on TV at Hipp

Cleveland Press March 3, 1964

An estimated 2,500,000 Beatle fans are expected to pack theaters across the country Mar. 14 and 15 when their four heroes appear via closed circuit television.

The telecast here will be carried at the Hippodrome, a theater with a seating capacity of 3500, a total of 14,000 for the four shows.

The nation-wide estimate was made by Eugene V. Klein, president of National General Corp. in Los Angeles.

"WE THINK it's a pretty good for our first venture," he told me yesterday by phone.

"The show will be a mixture of tape and live entertainment. We taped segments with the Beatles in Washington's Coliseum just before they left for England. We'll mix them with live performances by the Beach Boys and Lesley Gore."

THE SHOWS will be at noon and 2:30 Mar. 14 and 15. Manager Jack Silverthorne of the Hipp said that tickets at $2.50 each will go on sale the end of the week. Seats will not be reserved.

Klein said that he expects to announce more features in a few days.

There's a bit of irony in the fact that National General Corp. will begin its efforts with the foot-stomping mopheads that set the nation on its ear in recent weeks.

National General is a theater chain which made news last November with the announcement that it would offer long-hair attractions of another type.

AT THAT TIME the company signed an agreement with the Metropolitan Opera Company for the taping of five full-length operas during a three-year period. Carnegie Hall too was signed for a series of concert attractions.

Hollywood composer Dmitri Tiomkin was retained to do a series of musical specials that would originate on the West Coast.

THESE ATTRACTIONS are expected to get underway in the fall. All are promised in full color making use of a new projector developed by General Electric. (The Beatles will be in black-and-white.)

"We will cover the entire entertainment spectrum -- the Met, Broadway, boxing, football. We'll be blazing new trails," Klein said with a good deal of optimism.

Klein ruled out movies for closed - circuit presentation. The company will enter movie production, has one picture ready to start, but this will be for conventional release.

National General describes itself as the nation's second largest motion picture circuit operator. The company has 217 theaters.