When The Pittsburgh Press published a story about the newly formed “Anti-Beatle Association,” the newspaper declined to reveal the addresses of the group’s officers.
The move was a precaution against “possible mayhem,” the article read.
Editors imagined rampaging throngs of angry teenage girls in knee socks, plaid skirts and sensible blouses.
The Anti-Beatles Assoc. was organized by three young men — a “cadre of copy boys for the Pittsburgh Press,” recalled one, Tom Buschek. Their slogan: “Don’t let the Beatles bug you!”
Buschek was 19 at the time, and conservative. “We were raised to be that way,” he recalled. He was president of the group.
The organization was formed soon after the Beatles stormed New York and appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in early February 1964. A picture of Buschek trimming his crew cut with a large pair of scissors accompanied the Press article about the group’s formation.
ABA membership cost 50 cents, which was donated to charity. After six months, the group attracted members as distant as Iceland and Salt Lake City. A Press article in July 1964 reported an ABA donation of $72.45 to Children’s Hospital.
At the time, Buschek was preparing to attend Slippery Rock University. (He’d go on to graduate school at University of Pittsburgh and become a teacher).
Being a president of the ABA came with certain benefits, he recently recalled.
“It was a great way to meet babes,” he said. “If anything arose their ire, it was being an Anti-Beatle. They’d want to debate. After the debates, the romance would begin.”
The Beatles spent six hours in Pittsburgh in 1964. Read about the events of that day in a special PG online presentation.