Did America fully fathom what was happening 50 years ago... as it was happening? After all, we were invaded by air, land, and see (rather than sea).
First, The Beatles vaulted into the #1 spot on the U.S. singles chart with "I Want to Hold Your Hand" on February 1, 1964. That was the beginning of the on-air invasion of radio. Then, the land invasion hit on February 7, 1964 when The Beatles landed at JFK as seen above. The "see" invasion began on February 9th when 73 million Americans saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. Translated to today's standards we might call it "shock and awe".
With 73 million watching, we guess it was fully fathomed. Here's newsreel coverage of the invasion...
Photo Credit: By United Press International, photographer unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons