2010-12-10 / Neighbors

Bob Eubanks’ Christmas dream comes true

Spectacular opens today at The Lakes in T.O.
By Steve Holt stevencholt@gmail.com

FAMILY AFFAIR—Westlake Village resident and former TV host Bob Eubanks is working with his wife, Deborah James, and her company Bella Vita Events to present a Christmas spectacular. WENDY PIERRO/Acorn Newspapers FAMILY AFFAIR—Westlake Village resident and former TV host Bob Eubanks is working with his wife, Deborah James, and her company Bella Vita Events to present a Christmas spectacular. WENDY PIERRO/Acorn Newspapers A new event coming to the Conejo Valley will offer residents a generous helping of the Christmas spirit.

A Family Christmas Spectacular will embrace both the secular and religious aspects of the holiday.

Westlake Village resident Bob Eubanks is excited about the Spectacular, which will be open from 2 to 9 p.m. every day Dec. 10 through Dec 21 at The Lakes, 2200 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.

“This Christmas project is a dream of mine,” he said.

The event is produced by Eubanks and Bella Vita Events, a Westlake Village-based planning firm owned and operated by Eubanks’ wife, Deborah James.

Over coffee in Westlake Village, Eubanks recently discussed the Christmas gala and his career.

After their son, now 7, was born, Eubanks and his wife attended as many Santa events as they could. Some were better than others. Eventually they decided to present their own event and agreed it had to be special.

Bella Vita Events has won awards for organizing galas, special events and weddings. Eubanks also has production and promotion experience.

When guests enter the exhibit, “The world of Christmas will come alive,” Eubanks said. “Everything will be first-class.”

The spectacular will include a light show, a nativity and Santa Claus (who will be able to communicate with parents and guardians via an earpiece). Children can write and mail letters to Santa, decorate cookies, see a toy exhibit and ride in a train.

Eubanks knew that in order to do it right, A Family Christmas Spectacular would be expensive to produce. He was amazed at the generosity of contributors and supporters.

“We couldn’t do it without them,” Eubanks said.

The show is in an enclosed pavilion in The Lakes’ rear parking lot. Tickets are $15; children under 2 are admitted free. Students and church members will receive $2 off. Valet parking is free.

For more information, go to www.afamilychristmasspectacular. com.

Life in the business

Ask most people who Bob Eubanks is and they would probably answer, “A TV gameshow host,” specifically “The Newlywed Game.”

Eubanks acknowledges that his national fame initially came from that popular program, which debuted in 1966 and continued through 1974 in its first run. The show has returned on and off over four decades.

Eubanks’ career, however, is more extensive.

After he graduated from Pasadena High School in 1955, Eubanks went to broadcasting school because he wanted to be a disc jockey. His first job was in 1958 in Ventura County, a midnight to 8 a.m. show on KACY in Port Hueneme.

“I was a lousy DJ,” Eubanks said.

But he saw the job as a way to advance his career.

In 1960, he was hired by KRLA in Los Angeles, a powerful station in a big market. Although Eubanks had to borrow $320 to pay his union dues, his career was moving upward.

He borrowed money again in 1964 when he needed $25,000. Eubanks used his Woodland Hills home as collateral.

He wanted to produce a concert at the Hollywood Bowl for a British rock band.

That band was The Beatles.

Despite selling out in a few hours on April 25, the Aug. 23, 1964 concert wasn’t very profitable. It netted only about $5,000, Eubanks said.

Because The Beatles wanted their concerts to sell albums, their managers demanded low ticket prices, $3 to $7. The band also collected 40 percent of ticket sales. As producer of the event, Eubanks had to hire law enforcement officers to protect nearby residents from property damage and other potential problems.

He learned his lessons well and would produce two other Beatles concerts, at the Hollywood Bowl in 1965 and Dodger Stadium in 1966.

Eubanks also produced concerts for the Rolling Stones, Barry Manilow, Dolly Parton, Elton John and Merle Haggard.

Eubanks and Haggard had a great relationship. They spent nearly 10 years on the road. In addition to producing his concerts, Eubanks helped manage Haggard’s career.

During the recent interview, several people smiled or nodded at Eubanks, who responded likewise.

“Do you ever get tired of people asking for your autograph?”

“No,” he answered, “because when it stops, you’re done.”

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