ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Fifty years ago Sunday The Beatles made their U.S. television debut. Millions of americans were glued to their television screens.
New Mexico Hall of Fame Radio Broadcaster Art Schreiber watched the program, but never imagined six months later, he’d join the Fab Four on their first North American tour.
“If my son were here in this interview, he would tell you the last person in the world who should’ve been assigned to The Beatles tour was his father,” Schreiber said.
Schreiber, who moved to New Mexico in the 1980s, spent much of the 1960s reporting on the civil rights movement. He was scheduled to cover the Democratic National Convention when he pitched another idea to his bosses.
“I said, ‘Put me on The Beatles tour,’ and that’s how it all started,” Schreiber said.
For three weeks of The Beatles North American tour Schreiber filed 15 reports a day. He also tried to dodge fans who wanted to get close to John, George, Paul and Ringo, but lost three suits to voracious fans.
“They just got shredded, clawed with long fingernails,” Schreiber recalled. “A jacket didn’t last very long.”
While fans were clamoring for the band, John Lennon would call Schreiber nightly for a game of Monopoly and to talk about American culture.
He didn’t take any photos with The Beatles, but he didn’t leave empty-handed. A signed picture hangs on his wall, encouraging him to keep playing Monopoly.
Schreiber, who became blind in the 1980s, can’t see it anymore, but his memories are still vivid. He said he knew The Beatles were something else, but never could have imagined the influence they’d still have fifty years later.
“Their music has stayed and will stay,” Schreiber said. “They’re icons. It’s incredible.”
Tapes of Schreider’s interviews were stolen shortly after he returned from the tour.
Now retired, Schreiber is very involved in the New Mexico Commission of the Blind, as well as the National Federation of the Blind.