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TO JULY 5
D.C. never gets the credit it deserves. As we’ve learned from the Washington Post’s Richard Harrington, it was Silver Spring’s own Marsha Albert who started the American mania for the Beatles by writing a letter to WWDC-AM DJ Carroll James, urging him to play “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Hoopla ensued, and soon the Fab Four’s first stateside concert was held here at the Washington Coliseum. D.C. Beatle-boppers set the pace for the rest of the nation, but grumpy New Yorker Ed Sullivan gets all the credit. Another fellow who undoubtedly feels a bit left out of the limelight is Mike McCartney, brother of Sir Paul. But lucky Mike was along for the ride during his big bro’s initial U.S. visit in 1964 and had the presence of mind to bring a camera. More than 60 photos of the group’s trip are on display—including the younger McCartney’s own snaps—at the National Museum of American History in “The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes.” The exhibition chronicles in stills many of the same moments that the Maysles brothers captured on film in their 1964 documentary (about to be re-released on DVD as The Beatles—The First U.S. Visit): inside hotel suites and limos, on the train to D.C., onstage at the Sullivan show, at a Miami beach (pictured). Compared with recent manias and pop spectacles (hello, Mr. Jackson), the Beatles’ invasion was a decidedly civilized affair. The show is on view from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily to Monday, July 5, at the National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Dave Nuttycombe)