Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dallas press conference - datebook magazine story

This is one of those "Girls who met the Beatles" stories that was published in Datebook magazine in the 1960's.   15 year old Donna Canada of Dallas, Texas was the youngest person to attend the Beatles press conference in Dallas in 1964 and she sure took her job seriously.   Her transcription of the press conference is really good when you compare the text to the youtube video of the press conference.   Especially when you take into consideration that she was a 15 year old Beatlemanaic, was and would have been distracted by the fact that she was in the same room as the Fab 4, she did not have a tape recorder and wrote down everything and she had never been to a press event of any kind before.  Sure she didn't get everything word for word, but she did well.    But what I do not understand is why she turned down Paul McCartney!    Really???   

By Donna Canada (age 15) Thomas C. March Junior high school, Dallas, Texas

The tension was mounting by the minute.  You could understand their being five to ten minutes late, but not thirty.  Where were they?  Had anything happened to them?  Then the call came from Brian Epstein:  the Beatles were caught in a mob at the once beautiful Cabana Motor Hotel.  Fifteen minutes later, their spokesman announced that they were here, and that they would arrive in four minutes.  Since I didn’t have a watch on, I anxiously counted to sixty four times.  I was very nervous, since I had never been to anything this exciting in my whole life.  The policeman who let me in was a  little hesitant, as all the kids outside the door chanted, “That’s not fair, she’s a teenager.”  Two of my friends tried in vain to get in with me.

Through the mist of my day dreams, I saw the familiar mop of George Harrison.  In two minutes, I was right next to him.  I said, “Hi George, how are you?”  He replied smiling, “I’m feeling fine, and you?”  I made no reply, for I saw the next idol step forward.  It was Paul McCartney.  I spoke up quickly, “Hi Paul.”  There was confusion in his large dark eyes.  “Hi,” he replied, very puzzled.  Then a reporter pulled me back, I was so mad. If it hadn’t been for that reporter, I would have been able to meet John and Ringo too.

I couldn’t act like I wanted to act.  I had to act like this type of thing happened to me every day.  I was burning with excitement inside, though.  They announced that the camera men were to go first, the journalists were to go second, and the television and radio men were to go last. 

George was dressed more formally than the others.  He was suited in a blue shirt, black tie, grey jacket and grey slacks.  John wore a green corduroy blazer, white and beige dickie, and black slacks, and Ringo’s taste blared through when he showed up in a blue and white striped shirt, with white collar, black tie, blue jacket and black slacks.

All of them wore high heeled, black leather boots, and the tightly fitting continental slacks that they have made so famous.  Their attire could be described by any American girl, who was familiar at all with the Beatles as nippy, gear or the fabmost.  It truly was.

Questions started racing through the air.  I scribbled on my tiny pad as fast as I could.  I am proud to say I got every question and answer that came up.  This was hard to do for a beginner like me, at my first press conference.

Q:  How are you John?
A:  Fine thanks.  (His reply was with sarcasm)
Q:  When are you leaving Dallas?
A (Ringo) In forty minutes
Q:  What do you like about Dallas the most?
A: (John) the organization.  (At this point John blew smoke in George’s eyes from his Winston.  George was very upset.  Tears were streaming down his face as he rubbed his burning eyes.  Then George added, giving John a dirty look, “It was very hectic.”)

Q:  Ringo, how do you feel about this Ringo for President business?
A:  You better watch yourself down here (laughed) It’s very nice though, but I’m sure I wouldn’t win.
Q:  Mr. Lennon?  (A loud reply came from John, Yeah!) Mr. Lennon, in your book you hinted that you might be an anarchist.  Can you verify this statement?
A:  I don’t even know what that means. (laughed)
Q:  Hey, did you like your hats?
A:  (Ringo) Hey, we sure did.  (in heavy Texas accent)
Q:  Ringo, in California, it was reported that a girl ate the grass that you walked on.  How do you feel about this?
A:  I hope she didn’t get indigestion. (laughed)
Q:  What do you think of the mods and rockers?
A:  (Ringo)  I think they should be locked up.
Q:  Do you ever get scared when you step off a plane or something and you see a mob?
A: (John) No, but we’re more scared here perhaps (in Dallas) (laughed)
Q:  What kind of feeling do you get when you think of all the money you’re making?
A (George) It’s a good feeling to make money (laughed)
Q:  What do you think of the American girls?
A:  (Ringo) A lot.  (laughed)
Q:  Ringo, do you think the girl who wants your tonsils has a chance?
A:  I sure won’t need them, but I don’t think so.
Q:  Who’s the most anxious to get home?
A: (John) Jolly good, me I guess.  I’m very anxious to see the ole wife you know.  (laughed)
Q:  Is there any jealousy among you on or off stage?
A: (Paul) Jealousy?  Of course not.  No jealousy at all.  (At this point Paul took both elbows and dug one into john’s side, the other into George’s.  They were slapping each other all over the chairs.)
Q:  Ringo what sentimental value did that medal that was taken from you have?
A:  None whatsoever, I got it when I was twenty-one.  I just wanted it back.
Q:  George, are you trying to start a fad, like Ringo and his rings by always wearing black turtleneck sweaters?
A:  I guess I am since I’m wearing one now.  (George expressed this with sarcasm, since he wasn’t wearing one.  Paul along with everyone else laughed very loud).
Q:  Have you written any new songs since you’ve come to the United States?
A: (John) Yes, we have, two.
Q:  George , is there a guitar with your name on it yet?
A:  Right now, no, not right now, but later perhaps.  Yes later indeed.
Q:  How long will y’all’s show be tonight?
A:  After thirty minutes, cousin.  (Not sure who said this, but whoever did spoke in a heavy Texas accent and laughed)
Q:  How does the weather affect your long hair?
A:  (Ringo) We sweat. (laughed)
Q:  There are rumors that you cut your show down as low as nine minutes because of the screaming.  Is this true?
A: (Paul) No, our shows and singing length are the same length.  If the audience is a little more courteous than average, we clown longer with them though.
Q:  Are you disappointed that you never get out of your suite with being mobbed so you can’t ever see anything of a city?
A:  Disappointed, of course.  This is what’s to be expected on tour.  After all, it’s our work.  (Paul explained this giggling).
Q:  What will happen with the bubble bursts?
A:  (John) Paul and I will probably carry on.
Q:  John, how come you don’t like to wear your glasses?
A:  Because I don’t want to see you. (laughed)
Q:  Paul, when did you write your first song?
A:  When I was thirteen – I lost my little girl.  (laughed)  It was awful (laughed).
Q:  Mr. Epstein, do you get any time at home?
A: (Brian) None
Q”  Have you bought any luxuries here in the United States?
A” (John) Yes, we have
Q:  What?
A:  (Paul) Fast cars
Q (from KLIF loveable bunny) Ringo have you met any Texas girls yet, do you hope to?
A:  I always hope to! (laughed)
Q:  Paul, is it true you were grabbed and hugged by a girl last night entering the Cabana Motor hotel?
A:  Yes, very nice.
Q:  What do you think when you hear one of your songs sung by someone else?
A:  (Paul) We’re honored; we think it’s marvelous.
Q:  One girl asked a really long question.  I couldn’t get it all down.  After she went through the whole thing and was out of breath, John said
A:  What was that?  (She didn’t bother to repeat it).
Q:  What makes a publisher want to print your song?
A (Paul said this very serious) You write a good one.
Q:  What is your favorite song?
A: (Paul) WE don’t want to promote or anything, but it’s by Cilla Black – the Race of Love, on sale at your local record shops now.  (laughs) (John):  It’s number 18.

Q:  What do you plan to do next?
A: (George)  Take a quiet day off.
Q:  Are you coming back to the United States?
A:  (John)  It’s up to our manager.
Q:  What was your wildest escape from your fans?
A: (Paul) I guess when we were in Seattle, and we escaped in an ambulance.
Q:  What country did you enjoy touring the most?
A:  (John) Britain.   (laughed)  (Paul):  outside England, the United States.
Q: What is a scouser?
A: (John)  A Liverpudlian dish, very tasty.
Q:  The other night in Cleveland, did you find it necessary to be taken off the stage?
A: (George) We found no cause to leave.  It had been much worse than that before.  I think that the captain there was just a little nervous.
Q:  Was this the first time this ever happened?
A: (John) Yes.
Q:  In comparison with all the greetings you’ve had at the airports, how was it last night?
A (Paul):  Very good for the time of night, hectic, but very good indeed.
Q:  George, there is a record out that tells about a girl, who meets and hugs you behind the Cow Palace in San Francisco.  You supposedly said, “Hi Bird.”  Is this true?
A:  We are known to use the word “Bird” to girls.  I NEVER met any girl behind the Cow Palace (Paul nudged him and laughed) and I never use the expression, “hi bird.”  I’ve never heard the record either.
Q:  John how do you feel about royalty?
A”  Oh, I suppose they’re doing all right.  Pretty good job I guess.  I’m not really interested.

Paul smiled constantly.  John played opposites and stayed straight-faced through the whole conference.  His sharp features looked like they were almost frowning.  He was much smaller than his pictures show.  Besides this, he looked exactly the same.  John, I feel was the wittiest.  He spoke up the most, too.

George was very calm and quiet.  But as you can see by his comments, he has wit, too.  George stared at me.  It wasn’t jus ton and off, and it wasn’t a blank stare either.  It was a look.  After about five minutes he winked.  I looked around and there was no one behind me so I winked back.  He surprised me greatly by winking again.  I felt like running up to him and hugging him, but I couldn’t risk being thrown out, so I stuck to my first impulse and winked again.  I’ll never forget it. 

Ringo was my favorite when I arrived, but as I left the conference, was last in line.  Once I tapped him on the shoulder and he didn’t even turn around.  He seemed so bored with the whole thing.  Once in a while, you could detect the flicker of a smile.  He really looked quite different than I expected.  He face showed signs of strain, and it was much thinner than his pictures show.

I’ll never forget my first press conference.  I met most of the KLIF D.J.’s, had a write-up in the paper for being the youngest person there, was asked to speak on the radio, and I met a lot of the reporters and their wives.  I was also invited by Paul to meet him in his dressing room for an autograph.  I declined his offer because I didn’t want to be the only one in there.  I am crazy now that I think of it.  But most of all, I really got to meet and speak with the Beatles.  It was a dream come true.


  1. The photo of the Beatles at their Dallas press conference was taken by Bob Jackson. Just 10 months earlier, Bob took the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of Jack Ruby gunning down Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of the Dallas Police Headquarters - one of the most iconic images of the 20th Century.

  2. Forgot to mention that, at the time, Bob was a staff photographer for The Dallas Times Herald.