Rare Beatles film of '64 Kansas gig sells for $6,600

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Rare film footage of an unscheduled concert by the Beatles in Kansas City during their first U.S. tour 44 years ago fetched 4,100 pounds ($6,600) when it went under the hammer on Tuesday.

The two-minute silent, color 8mm film was uncovered by American Drew Dimmel who attended the concert as a young boy in Kansas City in September 1964 but had forgotten about the footage until he was clearing out his parents’ home.

The footage was estimated to fetch between 4,000 to 6,000 pounds.

“This was their first tour and what happened was this very rich baseball club owner (Charles O. Finley) promised to bring the Beatles to Kansas City,” Alan Pritchard of Berkshire-based Cameo Auctioneers told Reuters Television.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t on their scheduled tour so he talked to Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager, and he persuaded them to come on their day off. I think he paid something like $150,000 for their 30 minute or so appearance.”

Pritchard said Dimmel had managed to borrow his father’s new cinecamera and took it into the stadium, passed it to his father’s friend in the orchestra who took a clip of the Beatles doing their first number.

The Fab Four were besieged by fans during their first trip to the United States and were watched by a television audience estimated to be about half of the country’s population when they played the Ed Sullivan Show.

But the concert at the Kansas City Municipal Stadium was only half sold-out with a crowd of 20,000 due to local animosity toward Finley, the owner of the Kansas City Athletics Baseball Team, according a lot listing on the auctioneer’s Web site.

Other items up for auction included a Beatles “Please Please Me” vinyl record that sold for 2,000 pounds ($3,200), nine unpublished Beatles photographs that fetched 950 pounds, and a Beatles original concert flyer selling for 470 pounds.

Editing by Belinda Goldsmith