The (Rochester) Face of Beatlemania

February 5, 2014
screenshot of a girl screaming during the Beatles performance in 1964, with a smaller photo of the same girl, now a grandmother holding a baby.

From teeny-bopper to grandmother: Robin Lynn ’70 as she appeared on the live broadcast of the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, and with her grandson Nathan in 2010.

Rochester alumna Robin Lynn ’70 witnessed the birth of Beatlemania—and had her reaction broadcast live on television. Fifty years later, she remains linked with the famous British foursome.

In early February 1964, 15-year-old Robin Lynn was at home when her aunt called her with the news: “I got them!”

Caught off-guard, Lynn replied, “Got what?”

“The tickets you asked for!”

Lynn’s aunt worked as an accountant for a movie producer, and she had secured a pair of tickets to the upcoming taping of The Ed Sullivan Show featuring the Beatles.

“I can’t say I’m a big music fan,” explains Lynn, “but living in New York City, I knew that the Beatles were coming to town—and that it was a big deal.”

It’s Showtime
The show started at 8 p.m. on February 9. Lynn and her friend took a cab to Manhattan’s Theater District and waited in line outside The Ed Sullivan Theater.

“Our tickets were for balcony seats, so we went upstairs and sat down. Before the show started, a cameraman turned around and said to us that we might be on television tonight.” With all the energy and commotion, the rest of the night passed by in a blur, recalls Lynn.

That episode of the show is remembered today as the start of Beatlemania in America. An estimated 73 million viewers watched that night. Little did Lynn know that she would be immortalized on screen along with Paul, John, George, and Ringo.

As Paul McCartney sings “All My Loving,” the camera cuts to Lynn and stays on her for several seconds as she sighs and pants in adoration of the lads from Liverpool.

Many of Lynn’s friends and family saw her on television that night. “I was quite the celebrity at school the next day,” she says.

Then and Now
Since then, the Beatles’ iconic performance has been rebroadcast countless times—and with it, Lynn the fangirl. “Whenever there’s a retrospective or review about the 1960s, the Beatles, television history, or Ed Sullivan, that clip reappears.”

Not that she’s complaining, even fifty years later. “The best part is the reaction I get from people,” Lynn says. “They just perk up when they find out that I’m that girl. Needless to say, it’s been a lot of fun.”

Watch part of the historic broadcast on YouTube
Lynn appears at the 1:24 mark.

Category: Society & Culture

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