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Monday, December 13, 1993 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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John, Paul, Ringo, George - And Dave -- Beatles Display A Ticket To Ride Into Band's Era -- Fans Share Memories And Memorabilia

Nestled between the "Meet the Beatles" lunch box and the autographed packets of Beatles bubble gum is a real treasure. Carefully ironed and mounted behind a protective plastic cover, it's the wrapper for a Hood's Beatles Krunch Coated ice cream bar, the brand that offered fans a Beatles coin if they sent in 50 cents and the wrapper.

Fans ogled the wrapper, one of the collectibles featured at a Beatles minimuseum at the Edgewater Inn over the weekend.

They fingered yellowed albums, listened to "Abbey Road" and watched a videotape of the famous Ed Sullivan show where the Fab Four performed "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."

Occasionally, John, Paul, George and Ringo - members of the Beatles tribute band Rain - walked along the display tables, chatting and shaking hands.

For these retro fans, Pearl Jam and Nirvana can't compare.

"We take people on a nostalgia trip," said Brooklyn-raised Joey Curatolo, who has played Paul for 15 years. "Today's music is too raucous."

It takes about five minutes for Skip Boettger, organizer of the exhibit and the Rain concert, to pick his favorite Beatles song.

After much coaxing he chooses "Yes, It Is," the B-side to the hit "Ticket to Ride."

"It's an absolutely gorgeous exercise on three-part harmony," he said.

Boettger, 48, has been a fan since he was a teenager in Cincinnati, where he listened to "Please, Please Me" on his uncle's shortwave radio.

"I love them all," he said.

He compared the group to classical artists like Mozart and Beethoven, whose music never fades.

His favorite Beatles item? A blue-denim hat once owned by John Lennon. It's "darn near priceless," he said.

Among the most prized items was an original album cover for "Yesterday and Today," where the Beatles posed with slabs of raw meat and doll limbs. The 1965 cover caused such an uproar that Capitol Records slapped a group photo over the offending cover.

Boettger said the cover can bring up to several thousand dollars, depending on its condition. None of the items on display over the weekend was for sale.

The Beatles stayed at the Edgewater Inn in 1964, when they performed in Seattle for the first time. Their room, Suite 272, is now part of the hotel's banquet room. That didn't stop the curious from looking for it.

Dale Perry Jr. showed off his 22-inch-tall Fab Four dolls, complete with brown yarn hair and tiny guitars. He and his brother Dave collect Beatles memorabilia ranging from posters, painted collectors plates and, of course, vinyl albums.

Perry recalls spending hours playing his albums backward to hear messages supposedly hidden in various Beatles songs.

"I never could hear them," Perry said with a shrug. "It didn't matter. I loved their music."

Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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