As the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four's only Milwaukee appearance nears, Milwaukee Public Television launches a 30-minute documentary about the Beatles' half-hour performance at the Milwaukee Arena, Sept. 4, 1964.
"The Beatles Invade Milwaukee" -- written, directed and produced by Raul Galvan -- tells the story of the Fab Four's one day in Milwaukee that would reverberate for a half a century.
Though there isn't a wealth of footage of the Beatles' appearance here, Galvan does a fine job of collecting film of John, Paul, George and Ringo at the airport, onstage at the Arena and, sans John -- who was suffering from laryngitis -- at a press conference held on the second floor of the Coach House hotel, where the band was staying.
He interweaves this footage with memorabilia, still photos and interviews with the well-known -- like former WOKY DJ Bob Barry, and chart historian Joel Whitburn -- to the fans, as well as cultural historian Dr. Diana Belscamper and two of the daughters of the late Nick Topping, who promoted the Milwaukee concert.
Though their visit was brief, the Beatles arrived in Milwaukee at the height of Beatlemania, just months after the landmark appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show."
As Belscamper notes, "they were part of Milwaukee, if only for one day."
But it was a day that would live in the memories of fans for decades. One of the half-dozen or so fans interviewed says, "to this day it's a really big deal. One of the best days of my life."
You can get a peek at "The Beatles Invade Milwaukee" on Wednesday, Aug. 27. There will be two screenings, at 6 and 7 p.m. Admission is free, but seating is limited, so arrive early. After each screening, Barry, Galvan and others will take part in an audience Q&A.
The documentary will debut on channel 10 at 9 p.m., Monday, Sept. 1. It airs again at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 4 on channel 10 and Saturday, Sept. 6 at 10 p.m. on channel 36.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.