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[MUSIC] Bob Eubanks was the Beatles' Promoter at the Hollywood Bowl

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  • madchinaman
    DJ Mortgaged His House to Bring the Beatles to the Bowl By Cecilia Rasmussen, Times Staff Writer
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 22, 2004
      DJ Mortgaged His House to Bring the Beatles to the Bowl
      By Cecilia Rasmussen, Times Staff Writer

      A long time ago — as one of them pointed out on a CD — they were
      Fab. More than 40 years ago, a KRLA disc jockey named Bob Eubanks
      watched the Beatles sing on "The Ed Sullivan Show," and days later
      decided to mortgage his house to bring them to Los Angeles for their
      first local appearance.

      By February 1964, when the nation's youths were riveted to black-and-
      white TV screens, the simplicity and innocence of the 1950s had
      ended. On Nov. 22, 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated,
      plunging the nation into grief and signaling the end of an age. Tail
      fins had shrunk, McDonald's had replaced the local malt shop and the
      Beatles were displacing Elvis Presley in popularity. The stirrings
      of the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement and nascent feminism
      were calling the values and ethics of a nation into question.

      Less than three months after Kennedy's death, the Fab Four set foot
      on American soil, bringing a desperately needed infusion of youthful
      optimism. Shockingly longhaired for the time, George Harrison, John
      Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr made their American
      television debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show" as teenage girls shrieked
      and fainted. Beatlemania was born, and Eubanks, who was watching in
      his Hidden Hills home, was inspired.

      "The electricity on the Ed Sullivan show that night came through my
      television and struck me like lightning. It was so cool," said
      Eubanks, who later became TV host of "The Newlywed Game." When
      Eubanks heard the Beatles were planning a U.S. tour and had not
      committed to play Los Angeles, "Right then I decided I would find a
      way to book them and bring them to town," he wrote in his book "It's
      in the Book, Bob!"

      Eubanks worked as a doorman at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood
      before landing a job as a deejay at KRLA in 1960, when he was 22.
      KRLA was the city's second-most-listened-to top-40 radio station,
      broadcasting from a bungalow at the old Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.

      Eubanks and a partner also opened several Cinnamon Cinder nightclubs
      for young adults, booking rising stars such as the Beach Boys,
      Righteous Brothers, Ike and Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder. In 1963,
      Eubanks bought his first house in Hidden Hills. Within weeks of
      seeing the Beatles on TV, Eubanks mortgaged his home for $25,000;
      several banks had turned him down after he told them what he planned
      to do with the money.

      County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn pulled some strings to secure the
      Hollywood Bowl as the venue. KRLA became the "official" Beatles
      station. Disc jockey Dave "the Hullabalooer" Hull became president
      of the station's Beatles fan club.

      When tickets went on sale in April 1964 — four months before the
      concert — all 18,000 were snapped up in less than four hours by
      screaming teenagers who had waited in line all night. Singer Nat
      King Cole's daughter, Natalie, 14, and her brother, Kelly, joined
      their friends in line as their father's chauffeur crept along the
      curb in a limousine, keeping an eye on them. Ticket prices ranged
      from $3 to $7.

      To add to the delirium, the Beatles' first movie, "A Hard Day's
      Night," was released 10 days before the concert. Fearing a deluge of
      frenzied fans, the Ambassador Hotel canceled the Beatles'
      reservation, and Lockheed Airport in Burbank refused to let their
      plane land.

      A fellow celebrity stepped in. British actor Reginald Owen rented
      the Beatles his two-acre Bel-Air estate for four days for $1,000. It
      was there that Lennon jumped into the pool fully clothed, and the
      foursome played cowboys and Indians with toy pistols — a gift from
      Elvis Presley. Still, screaming girls surrounded the mansion on St.
      Pierre Road.

      The slavish hysteria repelled some more serious fans. A group of
      teenagers from Birmingham High School in the San Fernando Valley
      picketed the airport as the Beatles arrived and the Hollywood Bowl
      before the concert, begging fans to quiet down and listen to the
      music. They might have saved their breath. On. Aug. 23, 1964, the
      Beatles opened the concert with "Twist and Shout" and "You Can't Do
      That." The screams, Eubanks wrote, were deafening. No one could hear
      a thing over the crying, shrieking girls.

      The Beatles played for 30 minutes, ending with "A Hard Day's Night"
      and "Long Tall Sally." They bowed, waved and raced off stage,
      without encores, into Eubanks' white Plymouth Barracuda, which a car
      dealer had given him in hopes of getting a photo of the Beatles in

      The next day, the Beatles helped raise $10,000 for the Hemophilia
      Foundation of Southern California at a Brentwood party hosted by
      Capitol Records — which had earlier turned away the Beatles, saying
      in an infamous 1963 memo that their music "wasn't suitable for the
      American market."

      The Beatles didn't perform; they just sat on stools greeting guests,
      who included Mayor Sam Yorty and 500 celebrities and their young
      relatives: Edward G. Robinson and his granddaughter; actor Lloyd
      Bridges and children Jeff and Cindy; Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, 15,
      daughter of Rita Hayworth and Prince Aly Khan; Eva Marie Saint and
      her children; and all five of Dean Martin's children.

      "Haven't I met you before?" Starr said to Sharon Louise Heinz, the
      15-year-old great-granddaughter of pickle founder H.J. Heinz. "Oh, I
      wish you had," she sighed. Later she worked her way behind him and
      combed his hair. "That feels good," he said.

      Later that evening, McCartney went to Burt Lancaster's home to watch
      a movie while the other three met Jayne Mansfield at the Whiskey a
      Go Go on the Sunset Strip. Eubanks wrote that although he didn't go
      along, he heard that Mansfield tousled Lennon's hair and asked, "Is
      it real?" The quick-witted Lennon looked down the front of
      Mansfield's dress and quipped, "Are those real?"

      The Beatles cleared $58,000 for their 30-minute performance; Eubanks
      paid off his loan, saved his house and cleared a cool $1,000. The
      Beatles returned to Los Angeles twice before they split up,
      appearing again at the Bowl in 1965 and at Dodger Stadium in 1966.

      Lennon was shot to death by an obsessed fan in 1980, and Harrison
      died of cancer in Los Angeles in 2001. Starr and McCartney continue
      separate careers in songwriting, recording and concert touring.

      Eubanks, 66, lives on a ranch in Santa Ynez while continuing to
      host, with pal Stephanie Edwards, KTLA-TV Channel 5's annual
      coverage of the Rose Parade.
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