The night The Beatles were trapped in Dodger Stadium

Friday, August 08, 2014

Paul McCartney is getting back to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday for the first time since he played there with The Beatles 48 years ago. This time around, let’s hope he has a better escape route planned. Back in 1966, his exit from Chavez Ravine went anything but smoothly. He and the rest of the Beatles — John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — ended up trapped in a Lincoln Continental that was smothered fender-to-fender by a frenzied blanket of screaming, crying, pawing, clawing fans who desperately wanted to touch their idols. It was Sunday night, Aug. 28, 1966, and The Beatles were trying to make a break for it after playing for 45,000 people at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. It was the first concert booked at the 4-year old ballpark and, though no one knew it at the time, the second-to-last show The Beatles would ever perform. After another stadium gig the following night at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, their concert career was over. Westlake Village’s Bob Eubanks, who cut his teeth in radio at Oxnard’s KACY from 1958 to 1960 before jumping ship to powerhouse station KRLA in Los Angeles, is responsible for bringing The Beatles to Dodger Stadium. 

The future “Newlywed Game” host and Rose Parade emcee booked the date with his business partner Mickey Brown. It was the third time they had brought The Beatles to SoCal, following sold out shows at the Hollywood Bowl in 1964 and 1965. At the Hollywood Bowl concerts, The Beatles were able to slip out through the guarded backstage exit, Eubanks said. But at Dodger Stadium there was no secure retreat. The Fab Four were completely out in the open, with 45,000 pairs of eyes trained on their every move. A 6-foot-tall stage was set up at second base. Behind it was an enclosed tent that housed the Lincoln. As soon as The Beatles played the last note of “Long Tall Sally,” they were to race offstage, head for the tent, dive into the car and be whisked out of the stadium through a center field gate before fans could get out of their seats and catch them.

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