September 10, 1964 was an exciting day for Beatles fans in Key West. It was on this day that the Fab Four flew in from Montreal to take a rest stop. They were originally supposed to stop in Jacksonville but according to The Beatles Ultimate Experience due to Hurricane Dora off of the northeast coast of Florida the flight was detoured to Key West until Hurricane Dora passed.
At this time the South was still segregated and this included Florida. The Beatles refused to play the Gator Bowl if the audience was segregated on race. It was promised that the audience would be desegregated and the performance remained on the books. Their hotel in Jacksonville was another matter though. It seems that desegregating the hotel while The Beatles were present could not be worked out. It was rumored that this is the real reason their rest stop was moved to Key West.
While in Key West reporter Jean Morris was able to interview them. After some questions about Rolling Stones and who was married and who was single the subject came around to eating.
JEAN: “Do you always eat on the run like this?”
RINGO: “No, we sit down like this.”
JEAN: “No, I mean, with all these people don’t you get indigestion?”
RINGO: “Well, we usually eat in the room, but seeing the hotel’s got no room for us, we have to eat here, you see.”
JOHN: “That was unfortunate, that.”
John and Ringo are referring to their canceled rooms in Jacksonville. Where in an earlier interview when asked
directly about it tried to not make a big deal about it by saying they had no control of booking rooms or the cancellation of them. Jean Morris does not ask them to elaborate.
The Key Wester Motel was demolished in 1999 and was replaced by the Hyatt Windward Pointe. The Hyatt Windward Pointe Hotel, according to the Beatles Bible , an open-air structure named the Beatles Hut commemorates the place where the group stayed. While there they jammed with rhythm and blues singer Clarence “Frogman” Henry, The Bill Black Combo, and The Exciters, who are from New Orleans and local musician Coffee Butler.
While their concert at the Gator Bowl was canceled due to Hurricane Dora the game was still played. It was Florida State v. Oklahoma. The final score was Florida State 36 Oklahoma 19. The details of the game can be found here and here.