Beatles For Sale

This “06880” blog is “where Westport meets the world.”

That includes Liverpool. I’ve written before about local connections to the Beatles: Tim Jackson in the Ed Sullivan audience (right behind Nixon’s daughters). The Remains playing on the final ’66 tour (and Paul Ferrante’s book about it). Al Brodax’s role in “Yellow Submarine.” Prudence Farrow, the inspiration for their “White Album” song.

Remains Barry Tashian (left), Vern Miller and drummer ND Smart, on the Beatles 1966 tour. Keyboardist Bill Briggs — who, like Tashian, was a Staples High School graduate — is not in the shot.

I’m still searching for proof of the (sub)urban myth that the Beatles once hung out at Compo Beach, on a (supposed) visit to disc jockey Murray the K’s Bluewater Hill rental.

It’s been more than 50 years since the band broke up. They were together for only 10 — and mega-stars, really, for just 7.

But those early years were special. The Beatles were young, fresh, innocent. They smiled a lot.

Some of those smiles now hang on Michael Catarevas’ wall.

The Westport writer has been a Beatles fan nearly his entire 66-year life. Growing up near New Haven, he listened to their 45s at the legendary Cutler’s record store.

The older he gets, the more he appreciates them. The Beatles, he says, are “the soundtrack of my life.”

Catarevas never collected Beatles memorabilia. But in early 2020, he saw an online auction of the estate of Paul Goresh. The amateur photographer had taken the only photograph of John Lennon signing his “Double Fantasy” album for Mark David Chapman, a few hours before he murdered the singer.

Paul Goresh’s photo of John Lennon signing an autograph for Mark David Chapman, hours before being killed.

Many of Goresh’s photos fetched high prices (the Chapman image went for $40,000). But Catarevas bid $180 for — and won — a 1965 photo of the 4 Beatles, smiling and holding their MBE medals from Queen Elizabeth.

“They were so happy,” Catarevas says. “They were 21, 22 years old. It was such a fun time for them.”

The first Beatles picture Michael and Ben Catarevas bought.

The writer’s son Ben is 22 right now — and a big Beatles fan too. Working remotely from his parents’ house during the pandemic, he started watching the Goresh auction with his dad.

There was a lot to bid on. So Catarevas picked a theme: the Beatles and their girlfriends (“Beatles and Birds,” to use a ’60s phrase).

“It was a fun project,” Catarevas says. “Every day there was something new.”

They learned when and how to bid. One guy stymied them often. They thought he might represent a museum. Instead, he was just a fan with unlimited funds.

The “girlfriends” turned into wives: Cynthia Lennon, Jane McCartney, Maureen Starr, Pattie Harrison. Later, all became ex-wives. [CORRECTION: Paul McCartney never married Jane Asher.]

One wall n the Catarevases’ guest bedroom.

Catarevas and his son bought most of what they wanted (including shots of second wives). They have 33 original photos, plus magazines, posters (one in Czech), signed pictures by Albert Maysles from his documentary, newspaper front pages, and a signed print of a Cynthia Lennon drawing of the Beatles at the Cavern Club.

When Catarevas’ previous company moved from Stamford, employees could take anything they wanted. He picked the “boring corporate art” paintings — hoping the frames would one day come in handy. They just did.

The $180 for that first photo was the highest price the duo paid — except for one. They spent $220 on a shot of John, Paul and George singing at one mic. That’s extremely rare, Catarevas says.

A rare photo of 3 Beatles at one mic.

The framed images — along with album and EP covers — now line the walls of a guest bedroom in Catarevas’ home. He and Ben wander in from time to time, just to admire their work.

Long after the pandemic is over, Catarevas says, Ben will remember all those months bidding on photos with his dad. They appreciate the time spent together.

Of course, the value of their collection will appreciate too.

Cue “Taxman.”

BONUS TRACK: Catarevas has an oversized postcard of the Beatles with Murray the K. When he got it (for $35), he did not know about their (alleged) connection with Westport, through him.

Murray the K (center) with the Beatles.

11 responses to “Beatles For Sale

  1. Jack Backiel

    Murray the K came to the Westport Golf Range one evening. I can’t remember what year, but it was probably in the early 1960s.

  2. Charles Taylor

    Great article Dan but Paul and Jane never Married.

  3. Dorrie Barlow Thomas

    Fun article, Dan. I see someone has beaten me to the Jane Asher correction. (She left Paul over all his dalliances).
    As a nearly-lifelong Beatles fan myself, I’d love to own some memorabilia like that! I would not, however, relegate it to a guest room!

  4. Fred Cantor

    Dan, there’s the Westport-Beatles connection that ties in perfectly with Michael’s collection: Linda Eastman coming to photograph the Yardbirds concert at Staples in 1966. I think one of those pics appeared in a photography book she published.

    And reading the mention of Cutler’s brings back fond memories. It was THE record store during my college years.

    Finally, seeing the picture of the Beatles VI album brings back fond memories as well. That was my 12th-birthday gift from my bunkmates at Camp Rosemont in the summer of ‘65.

    Very cool story.

  5. The Beatles’ stay in Westport is no myth. My aunt’s best friend was the travel agent who arranged for their rental on Bluewater Hill. Somewhere, I still have the signed Beatles promo photos from that American tour that she gave me at that time….

    • Fred Cantor

      Matthew, what year/month(s) do you think they rented in Westport? I ask because, up until their final American concert in the summer of ‘66, they were so busy with tours/performances.

      Here is what I posted a while back in connection with the question of whether they ever stayed with Murray the K when he rented here:

      Sally, I had contacted the official Murray the K website, which is maintained by one of his sons, about that. The son confirmed that Murray the K did rent a home in Westport but also wrote back “there’s no evidence that he ever had the Beatles as guests.”

      I also looked at the Beatles’ American tour schedules and there would have been a very narrow window of opportunity for them to have made that Westport visit. (Plus, at one Beatles’ site that has detailed info about their activities during those tours, there is no mention of the Beatles having taken the time to get away from their NY hotel for a visit to CT with Murray the K.)

      I doubt that the Beatles made it out here but I suppose it’s possible.

      PS—of course, we do know for a fact that the Beatles spent some time hanging out with two Westporters in the summer of ‘66😏.

  6. Sally Palmer

    My sister Susie Campbell and I worked with Murray the K producing his big concerts. Nancy Black, a friend our Mom Vira Parker, agreed to rent him her estate on Schlaets Point for several summers. Also, we often employed Linda Eastman to photograph the artists we managed. We were hanging out in Susie’s office in NYC one thundery summer afternoon when she announced she intended to marry Paul McCartney. We laughingly wished her good luck!

  7. Barbara Katz

    Every time I read about a Beatles collection I feel a little sad. I had an enormous collection of all-things Beatles, including baseball cards and concert programs. And I was fortunate to attend 3 of their concerts, one at Forest Hills and 2 at Shea Stadium. None of my classmates at Staples could figure out how I was so lucky to get the tickets. I got them from some company Murray the K casually mentioned on his radio program one day. Then I loaned my collection to a friend’s daughter in the 1980’s and learned some time later that she had sold it at a Beatles convention. I’ve often wished I had it. Ah, well. It’s been great fun to read about another collector and to get a look at the awesome photos in your story, Dan.

  8. Debbie O'Malley

    My Beatles fanatic 9 year old would love to see this stuff, let alone own a piece of it. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Nancy Powers Conklin

    Dan, I collected oodles of Beatle stuff starting in 7th grade at Long Lots. My Grandmother worked at the news stand across from the library when it was on the Post Road. She would get me the first run copies of all their fan magazines. I had a pretty large collection. When I left for college I left all my Beatles memorabeilia with my parents at their home. All was lost a few years later when a flood ravaged Westport and our basement. ALL of my collection was ruined and tossed out. I was crushed but, nothing could be done. Such a disappointment!! I did get to Forest Hills back in the ’60s to see their concert with Jackie De Shannon as there opener. I did tour Paul’s home in Liverpool a few years ago. And, also toured John’s home where he lived with his Aunt and Uncle. Those were huge thrills for me. Also, got to see the Cavern club which was great! I was really hooked on the Beatles
    and still am today!!