It was the age of family entertainment through variety shows: Ed Sullivan, Carol Burnett, Lawrence Welk. Dad purchased replacement tubes when one blew on our television, which he called: "the idiot box." We were a family of eleven, and we always had an idiot box. The screen protruded from a huge wooden console, and was center to all our furniture, like the holy grail. It was through that conglomerate of knobs and antennas that the Beatles were featured on The Ed Sullivan Show, thrilling and mezmerizing generations.
I was just five years old in 1964, but the Beatle's sound exploded that night on the Ed Sullivan Show, and it wasn't long before I learned the romantic, yet simple lyrics to songs like:"I want to hold your hand." Half a century later, it still makes sense to start there. I watched the video of a live performance of "I Want to Hold Your Hand," this morning on Youtube, and the audience evoked perplexity, as it always did.
I really liked the Beatles, I mean a lot, but I have a confession. I was confused by the screaming and the fainting of girls in the audience. I observe the faces in this video and recall that even when I was a kid, I would have been the 40-something year-old woman, who clapped her hands, but not in sync with the beat. And while others were carted off on a stretcher to be observed for convulsions, that lady's facial expression said, "I get this, I do. And I like it a lot." Of course, saying that out loud could elicit death threats in the 60s, maybe even now. And so if there are others like me, who feel thrilled by their music, but not to the point of screaming or fainting, know that you are not alone.
Great story Margaret!! The herd effect has a profound capacity to enable frenzy. In this case it was probably justified.