Thursday, September 18, 2014

The story of the lucky Dallas fan club presidents

This great story comes to us through a long, time Meet the Beatles....for Real blog reader, Mark Naboshek.   I recall meeting Mark at the Fest for Beatle fans in Chicago and just being amazed that people that I did not know looked at this blog every day!    He has always been helpful in the comments in the past and he has a great collection of Beatles memorabilia.  He also was the editor of the amazing book, Some Fun Tonight by Chuck Gunderson.   I am proud to share this story with all of you and I want to send a bit thank you to Mark for his generosity. 

 Stephanie Pinter was co-president of the Dallas chapter of the National Beatles Fan Club, sharing those duties with her friend and classmate Yolanda Hernandez. When she heard that the Beatles would be playing Dallas on September 18, 1964, she knew she had to meet them. Her mother suggested that she try to contact Brian Epstein and arrange a meeting in Dallas. After weeks of effort, she finally got a response from Brian. He said he’d be delighted to have Yolanda and her meet the boys when they arrived in Dallas. In the weeks prior to the concert, the two girls had the local Stetson factory create four black cowboy hats to present to the group. They’d also told the manager and publicist for the Cabana Motor Hotel of their plans so there wouldn’t be any complications the night of the meeting. On September 17, 1964, the Beatles played Kansas City and then immediately hopped their chartered plane and flew to Dallas. By the time they arrived, it was shortly after midnight. Stephanie and Yolanda met up in the lobby with another group of girls who had gotten a room in the hotel just below the Beatles’ ninth floor suite. They patiently waited there until they heard the band and entourage arrive above them. When it came time to head for The Beatles’ floor, only three girls made it through: Stephanie, Yolanda and a girl named Marie Leggett (who was head of a competing fan club). They’d taken the elevator and the others had taken the stairwell, where they’d been stopped. In fact, Stephanie, Yolanda and Marie were also stopped by a cop as the elevator opened on the Beatles’ floor. They were about to be sent downstairs and escorted out when Stephanie saw the hotel publicist who told the officer they were allowed. They were taken to Derek Taylor’s room where Neil Aspinall told them to stay momentarily. “Are you ready to meet The Beatles? he asked them upon his return.

They followed him to the Beatles’ suite. Rushing them into the room, Stephanie stumbled and fell at the feet of her favorite fab, Paul McCartney. Embarrassed, she stood up and extended her now sweaty hand to him. “I’m Stephanie” she said. He shook hands with her and immediately wiped his hand on his pants. She was mortified. The room was filled with reporters and members of the Beatles’ party. She managed to get their attention with tales of the JFK assassination. The subject had been brought up by John Lennon who was fascinated by it. When she told him that she’d been standing along the motorcade route and had made eye contact with JFK just moments before the murder, John was enthralled. Soon, Stephanie found herself the center of attention of all four Beatles. As the time passed 2am, Brian Epstein told the girls that they would need to leave soon. He asked Stephanie if she’d gotten the boys’ autographs. She admitted she was so deep in conversation with them that she hadn’t thought of it. Brian handed her his own pen and a pad of notepaper from the Cabana and told her to get their signatures. She went around to all four and collected them all on a single piece of paper.

After Stephanie had gotten all four Beatles to sign, she walked over to Brian to thank him for making the meeting possible. He was very gracious and so she asked him to sign the paper as well. Stephanie said that Brian was very reluctant to sign at first because he didn’t want to mar the Beatles’ autographs with his own. Stephanie insisted that he sign, so he found a spot on the lower right-hand side of the sheet and signed along the edge, just to be sure he didn’t obscure any of the Beatles' autographs.

from Mark Naboshek's collection

Once the autographs were secured, Derek suggested they take a photo with the group. He asked Ringo to bring out his Polaroid camera and Derek posed the three girls among the four Beatles. Stephanie was making her way to a position next to Paul (her favorite Beatle) and had to pass George to get there. She never made it. George pulled her closer and asked her how old she was. When she said “fifteen”, George said, “Brian, we have illegals in the room!”  Derek took a photo with Ringo’s camera, forever preserving the moment. In the photo, Stephanie holds in her hand the autographs she’d just gotten. Moments later, after the girls were issued passes for that evening's press conference at Dallas' Memorial Auditorium, their visit ended. 

The Dallas fan club presidents with the Beatles:  Stephanie Pinter (far left, holding the autographs), Yolanda Hernandez (squatting down with Ringo in the center) and Marie Leggett (between Paul and John).    Photo from Mark Naboshek's collection. 

Before the concert that night, Stephanie and Yolanda were able to meet the Beatles again and present them with engraved lighters as well as the famous black Stetsons they're seen wearing at the Pigman Ranch in Alton, Missouri the day after Dallas. On August 24, 1966, Stephanie, Yolanda and Stephanie's sister Debbie were present at the Capitol Records building in Hollywood when the Beatles gave their press conference (four days prior to their Dodger Stadium show) and were presented their gold records for the "Revolver" LP.  In between those two events, the Dallas girls were called up to the stage and presented personalized branding irons to the Boys. 
I purchased the Dallas autograph set from Stephanie in 1992 and have had it ever since. Having lived in Dallas since 1958, and remembering the Beatles' visit to the city like it was yesterday, this is clearly the most astonishing Dallas-related Beatles piece I could own. To my knowledge, this is the only known, surviving authentic set of Beatles autographs signed in Dallas -- with the bonus that it's also signed by their famous manager and is on the letterhead notepaper from their Dallas hotel. The set is currently on display in the Grammy Museum's 50th anniversary touring exhibit, "Ladies and Gentlemen...The Beatles!", opening at HistoryMiami in Miami, Florida on October 10th.


  1. I have a Vintage Beatles t shirt that says Dallas on there and I'm wondering if it is from their 1964 tour here in Dallas since It was there only time here. its yellow and it says Dallas. do you happen to recall with their shirts looked like?

  2. I'm only aware of two Beatles shirts associated specifically with the Beatles and Dallas. One is a standard Beatles sweatshirt which has the famous collarless suits photo on the front and "KLIF BEATLE BRIGADE" on the back. Radio station KLIF -- THE teen station in Dallas in the 1960s -- printed up the stock Beatles sweatshirt with a promotion for the station. They wanted the kids to wear the shirt to the concert to help fuel the notion that KLIF was the sole radio station sponsor of the concert. It wasn't as no single station was allowed to sponsor the show. The other shirt I've seen is a sweatshirt that says on the front "WE LUV 'EM - DALLAS BEATLE FAN CLUB" Above these words is a cartoon of a female Beatles fan wearing a Beatles sweatshirt. Do you have one of these? I'm interested in getting the second sweatshirt I described (from the Dallas Beatle Fan Club) if you have it and are interested in selling it. Sorry for the year-long delay in writing. This is the first time I've seen your comment. Sara: Is there any way to notify Kari that I finally replied to her question so she can read it?

    1. Hmmm--I am not seeing how to contact her, but I will keep looking into it. I don't even remember this comment being left!

  3. I read that Paul lost his engraved lighter at the Pigman ranch, that was later found by the maid there. He said the lighter was from Neman Marcus in Dallas.