Bob Eubanks is no stranger to celebrity. The veteran television personality and radio DJ is probably best known for hosting “The Newlywed Game,” though that only touches on the TV and film appearances that made him a household name. Eubanks, in many ways, has been America’s M.C., guiding viewers through game shows, the Rose Parade and pageants. Music, however, put Eubanks on the map.
He wasn’t a singer. He didn’t land a recording contract. He simply loved music, and that love shone through in his disc jockey broadcasts, first at KACY in Oxnard and then KRLA in Pasadena, which was also where Eubanks was raised. He started producing concerts in the 1960s, handling such popular acts as the Rolling Stones and the Supremes. And it was Eubanks who brought the Beatles to Los Angeles.
It is that legendary band’s 1964 and 1965 Hollywood Bowl concerts, as well as their 1965 concert at Dodger Stadium, that are the focal point of “Bob Eubanks: Backstage with the Beatles,” a special conversation with Eubanks at the Saban Theatre on March 19 at 7 p.m.
“I am the only living person to have produced a Beatles concert. All three years they toured America,” he said. “I tell seldom or never before heard stories that lead up to music on stage with me, and I have a wonderful Beatles band Ticket to Ride that travel with me to do the show. It’s a good show. It’s fun, and a lot of the stories happened to me personally.”
One of Eubank’s favorite stories involve Paul McCartney, who had a melody he was humming but didn’t have any lyrics yet.
“He didn’t have any words to [it] and he walked around singing ‘scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs.’ Finally, he put words to it, and the song became one of the most recorded songs in the history of music: ‘Yesterday,’” he said.
The Beatles appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” on Feb. 9, 1964, watched by 73 million people. That studio audience only had 500 people, but there were 75,000 ticket requests. It was this demand that led Eubanks to the group.
“They decided they were going to tour, and I had a young adult nightclub in North Hollywood called Cinnamon Cinder, and I was buying acts every Wednesday night like Chuck Berry, Ike and Tina Turner, Beach Boys, people like that, and so I went to the Hollywood Bowl, because Brian Epstein, their manager, said that’s where he wanted to play, and he wanted more money than anybody else has ever made there. And because I was a talent buyer and a disc jockey on a hot station here in town, I was given the rights to promote their concert. It was a wonderful, wonderful ride for three years,” he explained.
Eubanks’ conversation will stick to his time with the Beatles, though his career with musical acts was only beginning following his work with McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. He would eventually bridge into country music, helping to popularize such big names as Merle Haggard, Barbara Mandrell and Dolly Parton. In the 1970s, he managed Parton, but under pressure to have a Nashville-based agent, Parton parted ways with Eubanks.
“About a year later, she was at the Beverly Hills Hotel. She called me and said, ‘Can we have a meeting?’ I went to the meeting, and she said, ‘Would you manage me again?’ Now this is the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life. I told her. ‘I’ve got concerts going out of my ears, and Dolly, I just don’t have time to treat you the way you should be treated.’ And I decided not to manage her. Well, she’s worth $600 million right now, and I was making 7%.”
It is his television work, though, for which Eubanks is best known. “The Newlywed Game” famously did not use the words “sex” or even “making love.” Instead, a different term was coined to describe the marital act.
“At the beginning, they wanted me to say make love, I wouldn’t. I said, ‘No, I won’t do it. You shouldn’t have to explain that to your children,” he recalled. “So, [Frank] Sinatra had a hit record called ‘Making Whoopi,’ and that’s how that all came about.”
Eubanks will soon launch a new podcast that discusses his many close encounters with other celebrities, as well as a new memoir. He’s also available for personalized videos on Cameo. On March 19, though, Eubanks will be live at the Saban Theatre. For tickets, call (310)546-6222. For information, visit backstagewiththebeatles.com.
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