WFAA investigative reporter Brett Shipp shares the story of how his father, then an assistant news director and reporter for WFAA, scored an exclusive interview in 1964 with The Beatles during their stop in Dallas.
In 1964, Bert Shipp was assigned to cover the arrival and pre-concert news conference of The Beatles, who actually spent a night at the Cabana Hotel — now a halfway house at Continental Boulevard and Stemmons Expressway in Dallas.
BERT SHIPP'S FULL INTERVIEW
Instead of dutifully setting up in the interview room with the rest of the press in Dallas, Bert thought he would try his luck and talk his way into their dressing room for an exclusive one-on-one interview.
As fate would have it, he knew the officer stationed at the door to The Beatles dressing room. According to Bert, he promised the officer he would score some an autograph for him if he would look the other way while he and his cameraman slipped inside. The officer nodded and looked the other way as Bert and his photographer walked right on in.
Bert tells the story of walking inside and turning the corner to find the four lads sitting around waiting for the news conference to begin. Bert said they greeted him like a pack of puppy dogs and were more than eager to engage him in conversation about who he was and what he was after.
Bert says they consented immediately to do an interview because their manager, Brian Epstein, had left the room and wasn’t there to kick Bert out. So, for the next two or three minutes, Bert found himself scrambling to come up with questions for the British sensations and — as is evidenced by the interview tape — he hadn’t a clue as what to ask them. The interview speaks for itself.
The boys turned the tables and started making fun of my dad’s accent and the fact that he was totally unprepared for the most important interview of his career. Regardless, Bert scored the exclusive and two sets of autographs, one for the officer and one for himself. He then made his way back out to the conference room with the rest of the media, no doubt musing how Bert Shipp always gets the scoop. He dares to go where no other reporter would dream of.