A fun & collectible Meet the Beatles display from January 1964, produced by their record label, Capitol Records.
This item was made to perch on record store countertops and lure attention toward this new English phenomenon, and their first records released by Capitol.
For starters, here’s the primary text lifted from this Meet the Beatles standup. It says:
“BRITAIN’S ‘BEATLEMANIA’ HAS SPREAD TO AMERICA! On Television: Jack Paar Show (NBC-TV)! Ed Sullivan Show (CBS-TV)! Walter Cronkite News (CBS-TV)! Huntley-Brinkley News (NBC-TV!)
“Featured in Time, Life, Newsweek and newspapers everywhere! Now HEAR the performances that have made the Beatles the most exciting vocal group in English history!”
All of the text found on this Meet the Beatles retail display is in red, to (obviously) grab peoples’ attention.
In fact, only the pictures and Capitol’s oval logo are black in color.
It’s funny to note that this Meet the Beatles merchandising display shows 12 Fab Four faces in toto… three pictures with all four B’s in each one.
On top there’s the big, air-jumping picture, and then you add to that the cover of their first Capitol album, Meet the Beatles, and their first Capitol single, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
I find it interesting that George, John and Paul are holding their instruments across the top of this Meet the Beatles counter display, but Ringo, oddly, is not holding his much smaller drum sticks.
But I’m sure at the direction of band manager Brian Epstein, all four boys are wearing sports jackets, skinny ties and their trademark “Beatle boots.”
There’s a lot of action crammed into this little Meet the Beatles cardboard display with easel attached, but action is what you wanted in the swinging ’60s. Plus, the Beatles were brand new and needed the spotlight.
What’s hilarious is that not all of the news outlets named on this placard had nice things to say about the Fab Four; some of them were actually quite critical. But Capitol was just following the old saw that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
It’s odd the way ABC-TV is missing from this Meet the Beatles 3-D display. CBS and NBC get two mentions apiece, so I guess ABC was simply slow to catch on.
But Time, Life and Newsweek were the best-known weekly newsmagazines, although Look and the Saturday Evening Post were right up there, too, so I guess they hadn’t done Beatle stories yet, either.
This Meet the Beatles retail countertop display has been prolifically counterfeited over the years. The original shown here has somewhat of a collector’s value, but the bootleg has no collector’s value at all.
It’s easy to tell the counterfeits: they have black words down below instead of the original red, so that’s quite a difference. Also, the guys’ Beatle boots blend with the big red letters on the original, but are hidden behind those red letters (“The,” “Beatles!”) on the reproduction.
Another thing to look for is the easel on the back; the original Meet the Beatles point-of-purchase retail display has the easel on the back, whereas the bootlegs have no easel at all.
You have to know these things because both the original and the reproduction are of the same material, and measure pretty much the exact same size.
Speaking of which, this Meet the Beatles in-store display is constructed of heavy cardboard, and measures 14 by 20 inches in size.
You have to remember that there weren’t a lot of record stores back in 1964, so this was most likely used by drug stores & department stores more than anywhere else. Maybe musical instrument stores, too.
This Meet the Beatles Capitol promo sign is displayed and explained by long-time Fabs collector Peter Howard. That’s me, and I can be reached thru firstname.lastname@example.org on the Internet, or by calling 805.540-0020 on the phone. I will pay you TOP DOLLAR for this collectible placard or any early Beatles promotional materials like this. Thank you.