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Capitol spreads Beatlemania

GOOD MORNING: I, too, remember the Beatles — when they first arrived in Hollywood in 1964 with a crush reception at the Capitol Tower. And this week Capitol president and CEO Roy Lott tells me land has been acquired just north of the Tower where a museum will be built to house the memorabilia of the Beatles plus other Capitol stars. “Too often pop music doesn’t get the recognition that other forms of music gets,” Lott reminded me. And someone who has also not received the recognition deserved for bringing the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and many others to Capitol is Alan Livingston. He got that recognition this week with Capitol-EMI-Apple Corps’ release of the “Beatles 1” CD and Friday’s airing of ABC’s two-hour “The Beatles’ Revolution.” “I felt this occasion (the CD and TV special) was the right opportunity to give Alan that recognition,” Lott said. And so, Livingston was intro’d to Capitol employees and friends in the Tower’s Studio A, where he told how the label had twice nixed signing the Beatles, as had CBS, RCA, Decca, A&M. It was only after a phone conversation with Brian Epstein that Alan listened to “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” signed ’em with a $40,000 exploitation starter. You know the rest. Livingston, also, privately taped a lengthy interview on the Beatles and his successful tenure as president of Capitol Records. It will be part of the Capitol archives to go into that new museum … On Aug. 26, 1964, I wrote, Capitol’s prexy Alan Livingston was the most popular guy in town that week as the Beatles were partied at the home of his mother-in-law, Mrs. Henry J. Olson’s (Nancy Olson Livingston’s mom), in a benefit for the Hemophilia Foundation of Southern California — the then-huge sum of $10,000 was raised! A sight this department will never forget is the mob of Hollywood famous, standing patiently aside while their small fry waited — impatiently — to meet the more-famous Beatles, seated on four stools under Olsons’ prized deodar tree. I also wrote that “the press conference for the Beatles was the weirdest I’d ever attended. It is to the Beatles’ credit they answer the inane questions with humor and intelligence. When asked what kind of movies they planned to make, they answered, ‘suitable and cheap.’ ” A two-page ad in Daily Variety boasted, “Last week, UA’s film rentals on the Beatles’ in “A Hard Day’s Night” was over $1,600,000 … The greatest for any one picture in any one week in UA history!” Ah, memories.

“IT WENT SWIMMINGLY,” Jack Valenti said describing Wednesday’s meeting in L.A. with the compliance officers, seven members of the MPAA and DreamWorks. “And I will meet with them every two months,” Valenti said. He presented a 12-point set of initiatives to remedy the marketing of films and pledged each company’s compliance — following the John McCain committee report on the conduct of the industry. He returns to D.C. today and on to N.Y. for the wedding of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones … Michael Caine went to the Palace today at 10 ayem to be knighted (K.B.) by Queen Elizabeth II. He worked late Wednesday night on “Last Orders” in which he plays a London butcher — who is murdered. Fred Schepisi is directing … The original Spago on the Sunset Strip will close at the end of March. Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in BevHills on Canon Drive, of course, stays open as do his dozen other successful eateries around the country … The former site of Chasen’s on Beverly Boulevard is now officially Bristol Farms, having had a “premiere” party Tuesday night. On hand for old/new times sake were Scott McKay, grandson of (the late) Dave Chasen and his wife Maude. Also there: the well-loved Ronnie Clint, Chasen’s general manager, and bartender Pepe Ruiz. As promised, the front room’s booths have been preserved and are in the cafe/deli department. And Chasen’s chili is available there — and in markets around L.A. and for sale on the Internet.

GREGORY PECK WAS SURPRISED, Tuesday p.m. at the BevWilshire when the evening of the Gregory Peck Readings Gala for the Library Foundation of L.A. concluded. A chorus of stars who had participated in his program the past five years, took the stage to serenade him with a version of “The Old Man” by Irving Berlin from “White Christmas.” Peck was nonplussed and delighted — as he and others were with the evening that included readings by Anjelica Huston, Sally Field, Patrick Stewart and Jack Lemmon. They were joined in the musical finale by previous year readers William Atherton, Beau Bridges, Keith Carradine, Jeanne Carson, Biff McGuire, Samantha Eggar, Dylan Kussman, Shelley Long, Brock Peters, Christina Pickles, Victoria Tenant, David Warner, Michael York, Stephanie Zimbalist. In keeping with Peck’s reading program, the table settings included reading glasses for each guest. More than $300,000 was raised for the deserving Peck program … The life and times of Henry Mancini will be honored Saturday at the Universal Hilton’s benefit for the Pancreatic Action Network. Norm Crosby m.c’s with a special tribute sung by Monica Mancini along with David Wilson and E.J. Peaker, who worked with Hank Mancini — who died of pancreatic cancer, the No. 4 cancer killer of both men and women … Jay Livingston is honored Friday with the Diamond Circle Award from fellow members of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters at their luncheon honoring Pat Harrington at the Sportsmen’s Lodge … Katie Flynn, 18, daughter of Jane Seymour and David Flynn is this year’s Miss Golden Globes.

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