Sept. 4 is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' one and only appearance in Wisconsin. This was the band's first American tour, at the height of Beatlemania, and hundreds of fans showed up to greet them at Milwaukee's Mitchell Field. But the 80 police officers on hand spoiled everybody's fun by arranging for the plane to land far away from the crowd. Then they shuttled the Beatles through a back exit, where no one could see them.
The band complained, to no avail. Later, at a press conference, Paul McCartney accused the police of pulling "a dirty trick" to keep them from greeting their fans.
The Beatles didn't treat the local press any more respectfully than they did the local police. At a press conference, a reporter asked them what they planned to do when their bubble burst. George Harrison answered, dryly, "Ice hockey."
Tickets for the show at Milwaukee Arena topped out at $5.50. Red Cross workers, armed with ammonia inhalants, stationed themselves around the arena to treat fainting girls.
As for the performance, it got drowned out by the screaming of 12,000 fans. The screams were so relentless that no one could tell "All My Loving" from "Can't Buy Me Love." Nevertheless, the Beatles seemed to have a good time, playfully engaging the crowd between songs.
Before the band left town, McCartney took time to call a local fan in the hospital. He had heard that an illness prevented her from seeing the show. The Beatles may have had no use for Wisconsin's disapproving elders, but they loved the kids who responded so passionately to their music.