It Was 40 Years Ago Today (almost) when Helen Halmay interviewed the Beatles before their only San Diego concert (August 28, 1965, at Balboa Stadium). Halmay, who was 20 at the time, says she has a few regrets.
"Nobody who interviewed them asked for their autograph.... I had never been to a press conference before. I didn't know I didn't need tickets since I was with the press. After the press conference, we went out and went in through the gates. I thought, 'By God, if I bought tickets, I'm going to use them.' Do you know how much those tickets would be worth if I had saved them?"
Of the 28,000 tickets available, fewer than 18,000 were sold for $3.50 and $5.50. The Beatles reportedly earned $50,000; promoters, $6000.
What questions did reporters ask the Beatles?
"People tended to ask them what they thought of San Diego. That was really dumb. They had never been here before, and they had just gotten off the bus. My one question was 'What's your favorite American TV show?' I think they said The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
Halmay, who was the society editor for the weekly La Mesa Scout, says she "asked my owner/editor/publisher if I could cover it. He said, 'None of our readers are interested in the Beatles.' " Halmay got permission to go (off the job) and bought her own film to take pictures.
"They are not very exciting. It just shows them sitting in a row at a table." She says all four were heavy smokers. "I guess I've forgotten how much people used to smoke in those days."
As it was with Balboa Stadium, Halmay says the La Mesa Scout "...never made it out of the '70s."