(AP) - There are probably more people who claim to have seen it now than the 74 million Americans estimated to have tuned in originally. But Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

The appearance is looked back on as the official launch of Beatlemania - and exposed the nation to the mop-top hairdos and music that captivated people then - and still resonates today.

The night of February 9, 1964, tens of millions watched as John, Paul, George and Ringo took the stage where David Letterman now does his late night show - and several hundred audience members - most of them girls and young women, screamed their heads off. The event was so captivating that years later, George Harrison said he had been told that there was hardly any time reported during the time the Beatles were on the air.