Andrea Tebbetts’ 15 Minutes Of Beatles Fame

Tonight’s final story on the “CBS Evening News” was a feel-good look back at the Beatles’ 1st television appearance — 50 years ago this Sunday — on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” (It was also a subtle promo for CBS’ continuing coverage of that historic event, but what the hell.)

The hook was Andrea Tebbetts. Half a century ago, thanks to her grandfather’s connections, she scored tickets to the live TV appearance. There were 50,000 requests, for only 700 seats.

Tonight, CBS took Andrea back to that studio. David Letterman uses it (and it’s now named for Ed Sullivan).

Andrea Tebbetts, in the Ed Sullivan Theater. Today, she's a tax attorney with the Justice Department, in Washington DC.

Andrea Tebbetts, in the Ed Sullivan Theater. Today she’s a Justice Department tax attorney in Washington, DC.

She described how the camera zoomed in on Ringo. Then — suddenly — it cut to her. Screaming, like every other girl in the theater (and in America).

73 million viewers — at that time, a US record — watched her scream.

Andrea Tebbetts, mid-scream.

Andrea Tebbetts, mid-scream.

It was Andrea’s 15 minutes of fame. Up to then, she said, she was known in school only for being “clumsy, a Girl Scout, president of the Science Club.”

And what school was that?

Long Lots Junior High, right here in 06880.

18 responses to “Andrea Tebbetts’ 15 Minutes Of Beatles Fame

  1. Nancy Powers Conklin

    What year would she have graduated from Long Lots or Staples?

  2. Holy cow! I had wondered if any Westport kids had the good fortune of having been in the studio audience that night.

    So, I guess that means there is a Westport connection of sorts to the Beatles’ first performance in America and their last–because Staples grads Barry Tashian and Bill Briggs were at Candlestick as the lead guitar/singer and keyboard player of The Remains when they opened for the Beatles on their last-ever tour.

  3. Drea Rhodin!!!! I always look for you in that Beatle footage!!! I was so happy for you that night. My whole family watched and my sisters and I screamed, of course!!! Please write me through my website!!! Xxxx

  4. You find the most amazing “hooks,” Dan.

  5. Sharon Paulsen

    What an awesome tidbit – glad you shared this Dan!

  6. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    There is a Westport connection to just about everything (I’ve learned here).
    Just wondering, Dan, if Westport has any Olympic connections?

    • Of course. There will be a story this Saturday regarding athletes. And Rebecca Lowe — NBC Sports’ morning studio announcer in Sochi — now lives in Westport. She’s an amazing woman, and will do a great job.

      • Nancy Hunter Wilson

        Thanks. I look forward to it.

      • Claudia Ebeling

        I graduated from Staples in ’69. I seem to recall as a sophomore that there was a junior or senior named Carolyn Hacker who was headed to the US Olympics team. In fact, I think she left Staples to finish school where her coach was located. Another Olympic connection: my senior year at Staples, I took fencing through the adult night school program. Someone told me that our teacher had defected from a Soviet or Czech team during one of the Olympics in the fifties. And, now that I think about it, Dorothy Hamill’s cousin attended Staples. I worked with his mother/her aunt summers during college at the Westport Bank & Trust Co. during Dorothy’s Olympic career.

        • Pretty tangential, but former “Miracle on Ice” hockey goaltender Jim Craig worked for a while in Westport — I think in one of the financial companies on Riverside Avenue.

  7. Was at the Woodstock Inn. WIth Bob Fink and his Dad and brothers. Winter break. Skiing Suicide Six. Watching the B&W tv near the fire.
    Riveted, of course. 12 years old. Couldnt wait to get my hands on an electric guitar!. Happened months later….hence…..THE SHADOWS! with Kim Halliday, TIm DeHuff, Jason Williams and MOII

  8. Bonnie Scott Connolly

    I remember Carolyn Hacker. She was in our class ’67. She trained with Muriel Grossfeld. And Dorothy Hamill’s Aunt lived next door to us on Narrow Rocks Rd. Mary Swan who later became Mary Piper?

    • Claudia Ebeling

      I was thinking the aunt’s last name was Gordon, but then, there could have been more than one relative, and it’s been, gulp, 4 decades.

      • Bonnie Scott Connolly

        That is interesting. I’m not sure if there were other relatives. I definitely know Mary was her aunt. Mary’s daughter was Nancy (Wilson?). That’s who I thought you were talking about until you said “he”.