Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


NO SURPRISE, THERE’S A LIVERPOOL BEATLES MUSEUM. In its three levels, the museum contains more than 1000 bits of Beatlemania. A surprise, though, is to find an example of little known talents among the Liverpool Four. Here are tidbits gleaned from Chris Long’s “Sir Paul McCartney’s Stage Designs Go On Show,” BBC News, April 23, 2023. 

Background. According to Wikipedia, on February 9, 1964, their first live U.S. television performance (on The Ed Sullivan Show) was “watched by approximately 73 million viewers in over 23 million households, or 34 per cent of the American population. Biographer Jonathan Gould writes that, according to the Nielsen rating service, it was ‘the largest audience that had ever been recorded for an American television program.’ ”

A Worthy Beatles Tidbit. Wikipedia continues, “When informed that the venue for their 11 September concert, the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, was segregated. The Beatles said they would refuse to perform unless the audience was integrated. Lennon stated: ‘We never play to segregated audiences and we aren’t going to start now … I’d sooner lose our appearance money.’ City officials relented and agreed to allow an integrated show. The group also cancelled their reservations at the whites-only Hotel George Washington in Jacksonville. For their subsequent US tours in 1965 and 1966, the Beatles included clauses in contracts stipulating that shows be integrated.”

London’s Saville Theatre. In 1965 Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager and a former drama student, leased the Saville Theatre to present both plays and rock and roll shows. Wikipedia says, “The venue became notorious for its Sunday night concerts. During one by Chuck Berry, members of the audience stormed the stage and the police were called to clear the theatre.” 

Saville Theatre, London. Image by TP Bennett from

Paul’s Artistic Touch. Chris Long quotes Museum owner Roag Best saying Beatle McCartney “was invited to come up with the designs in 1966 by Epstein, who had put on concerts by artists including the Bee Gees, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Chuck Berry at the theatre.”

This and following images from BBC News, April 27, 2023.

Long cites annotations in McCartney’s designs: “… one with a warning of ‘slow moving machinery,’ one with the note ‘this way up’ along side a sketch of an upside-down house, and another reading: ‘This piece of the set falls on the stage, revealing red curtains through which performers emerge, smiling.’ ” 

“Another design,” Long observes, “showed 12 mirrors for the audience to glimpse themselves in, while a further sketch with glasses and moustaches on the backdrop has the note: ‘Plain comedy set. Comedian enters through mouth, not smiling, crawling.’ “

The sketches, on loan to the Museum, had “never been seen by the public before,” says Best. Their owner said he had spotted the designs at auction “with a reserve of £3000, but ended up paying £25,000.”

Sir James Paul McCartney, CH, MBE, Liverpool-born 1942. Musician extraordinaire.

Best says, “This is a total one-off and I think Beatles fans and art connoisseurs will love to see it.” 

I agree. Set design has long been a genre I enjoy. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2023 


  1. Mike Scott
    May 10, 2023

    Donovan, who taught all Beatles but Ringo how to fingerpick best summed Paul McCartney: “He’s a genius, you know.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: