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