Not enthused by the Beatles, Benton nixes George Harrison mural

City leaders in Benton, Ill., where George Harrison took a brief pre-"Ed Sullivan Show" vacation in 1963, have voted not to fund a Beatles-themed mural in the community.

California rtist John Cerney planned to paint the 16-foot mural in a piece of city-owned property near Interstate 57 and asked the city to pay him $2,000 for travel and motel costs while he was in Benton.

Most City Council members weren't crazy about the idea:
"What is that going to benefit the city?" questioned Commissioner Donnie Wyant after city attorney Tom Malkovich reported he and Gartner contacted the artist to confirm Cerney's intentions.
"We're kind of hoping they (visitors) would want to stop and get a picture of the mural and spend some time and dollars in our communities, whether it be our restaurants or antique shops," Commissioner Dennis Miller said.
"The Beatles don't enthuse me at all, so I'm going to vote no," Wyant said.
"I'd rather put that money toward a police officer," said Police and Fire Commissioner Donald Storey.
Harrison's sister, Louise, lived in Benton with her family when George and his brother Pete visited the community in September 1963.

While in town, George bought a new Rickenbacker guitar; accompanied the family on a camping trip; sat in with a local group, the Four Vests, at the VFW hall; did a radio interview, and bought some records including James Ray's "Got My Mind Set on You," which he covered years later.