FELIKS BANEL

Remembering how Boeing helped bring The Beatles to America for their first-ever visit

Feb 7, 2022, 5:44 AM | Updated: 7:11 pm
Boeing Beatles...
The Renton-built Boeing 707 that carried The Beatles on their first trip to America in 1964, seen one year earlier in Honolulu. (Courtesy Pan Am Archives)
(Courtesy Pan Am Archives)

When The Beatles came to America for the first time 58 years ago today – on Feb. 7, 1964 – the four lads from Liverpool famously flew Pan American Airlines’ legendary trans-Atlantic “Clipper” service from London to New York.

The jetliner, which had the honor of carrying the mop-top quartet to the Big Apple for their triumphant appearance two days later on The Ed Sullivan Show was, perhaps not surprisingly, a Boeing 707. It was nicknamed Jet Clipper Defiance – with tail-number N704PA – and had been proudly built in the Pacific Northwest four years earlier, at the burgeoning civilian aviation giant’s historic Renton plant.

Sullivan’s “where-were-you-when” Sunday night variety program was broadcast live on Feb. 9 on the East Coast and in the Central Time Zone. Beatles fans in Seattle would have to wait a few hours to get their fix; the iconic show was seen via tape-delay in Seattle at 8 p.m. Pacific Time on KIRO TV.

And those same Seattle fans – and thousands of new ones – would have to wait even longer to see The Beatles in person. It would be another six months – and another trans-Atlantic flight – before the band returned to the United States and appeared at the Seattle Center Coliseum on Aug. 21, 1964.

The Coliseum still stands, of course, though it’s been reimagined and transformed into Climate Pledge Arena. Jet Clipper Defiance, on the other hand, was not as fortunate. According to aviation blogger lore, after a decade and a half of peripatetic service for Pan Am and other airlines, the Beatle-bearing Boeing was broken up for scrap in Long Beach, California, in 1977. The band had broken up seven years earlier.

You can hear Feliks every Wednesday and Friday morning on Seattle’s Morning News, read more from him here, and subscribe to The Resident Historian Podcast here. If you have a story idea, please email Feliks here.

Feliks Banel

Skaters roll past the "ALL SKATE" sign at Pattison's West on Thursday morning. (Feliks Banel/KIRO N...
Feliks Banel

All Over The Map: Beloved Federal Way roller-skating rink saved by local non-profit

All Over The Rink? Friday morning on @KIRONewsradio & @Mynorthwest #AllOverTheMap pic.twitter.com/nIQifn3ivS — Feliks Banel (@FeliksBanel) September 29, 2022 The big building housing a beloved roller-skating rink in Federal Way has just been purchased by a new owner. But, unlike most of these sad-sack local history stories about old bowling alleys closing or derelict theatres […]
1 day ago
flight...
Feliks Banel

Seattle flight was second only to Wright Brothers in aviation history

A community group is making plans to celebrate the centennial of a 1924 Seattle event that some consider to be second only to the Wright Brothers’ flight at Kittyhawk
3 days ago
oregon...
Feliks Banel

All Over The Map: It’s STILL not pronounced ‘ORE-uh-GONE’

You would think by now that those distant East Coast media types in plush studios atop their ivory towers would know how to pronounce the name of the state south of the Columbia River.
8 days ago
empire builder...
Feliks Banel

New ‘Empire Builder’ documentary is about more than just railroad history

After more than two decades of work, a new documentary about James J. Hill, the founder of the Great Northern Railway, will premiere this month.
10 days ago
Follow @https://twitter.com/feliksbanel...
Feliks Banel

All Over The Map: Volcano’s ‘landscape starting to give back what it covered up in the 80s’

When Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980, 57 people died and dozens of square miles of the landscape were covered with ash and pumice. Now, more than 42 years later, the Forest Service says some long-lost artifacts from the blast are starting to turn up.
15 days ago
columbarium...
Feliks Banel

Evergreen Washelli Columbarium celebrates 100 year anniversary

A distinctive facility in North Seattle is observing its centennial this year and is inviting everyone to attend a festive party ... in a cemetery.
17 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Remembering how Boeing helped bring The Beatles to America for their first-ever visit