The Doors 1969 Celebration Concert Poster – L.A.’s Aquarius Theatre

A genuine and collectible Doors Celebration show poster advertising the band’s two concerts at the Aquarius Theatre in Hollywood, CA on July 21, 1969.

Depending on how you look at it, this poster is either highly artistic or rather crude; it’s in the eye of the beholder. But I think “abstract” is a pretty good description that everyone would agree on.

This Doors Aquarius Theater concert poster was the work of graphic artist Leon Bernard, a member of the band’s camp, whose signature is displayed down in the lower right-hand corner.

I would also call this poster “stark” because it consists only of black ink printed on thin white paper, with no pictures of the Doors and only minimal information given.

It was the middle of summer in Southern California when this Doors Celebration street sign was printed up, so it was fine that it was done on flimsy paper, because weather wasn’t a factor. During the winter, however, thicker cardboard would’ve probably been better.

Then again, Los Angeles’s weather conditions are nothing compared to back east and the upper Midwest, where a flimsy poster like this might not have survived the elements.

There were two shows given this night, at 8:00 and 10:30 PM, although for whatever reason, the Doors Aquarius Theater fence poster doesn’t mention that.

One possible explanation is that only one show was originally planned, and then a late show added after these posters were printed. Just conjecture.

One thing I like about this Doors Celebration poster is that the artwork reminds me of something Jim Morrison himself could have done. I think it has that feel to it.

The only easily understood portions of the artwork are the band’s name and “Celebration.” The rest is just abstract art, although that could be a person’s silhouette down toward the lower left.

But then the old-fashioned, standard print comes in to get across the basic information – but it’s small, very small. In the middle you have “Aquarius Theater,” and below that, “Live!”

And in the lower right-hand white margin, it states “21 July, ’69,” artist Leon Bernard’s signature, and then “Moonday,” humorously conveying that Monday was the day of the week for this event.

What’s missing from the Doors Celebration window poster is information on ticket prices, and where you can buy them. Then again, the two shows probably sold out in a heartbeat.

But it does give the year (’69) as part of the date. That’s what’s fun about collecting old concert posters like this: every graphic artist had a different idea of what they wanted their poster to convey.

This Doors Aquarius Theater event poster was used to advertise the group’s comeback from the infamous Miami, Florida incident of Jim Morrison supposedly exposing himself.

So there was a deafening buzz leading up to this night, which also served as a homecoming for perhaps Los Angeles’ biggest rock group ever.

Although this Doors Celebration concert sign doesn’t inform the attendees, tonight’s two shows were recorded by Elektra Records for release on an upcoming live album.

That eventual record, 1970’s Absolutely Live, most likely had some portions drawn from these two shows. And one of that LP’s two cover photos – the one tinted blue – was definitely taken on this very night.

Another thing not on this Doors Aquarius Theater street poster: this was part of the Elektra Records Showcase Concert Series, taking place throughout the summer of ’69.

It’s not widely known that the band also took to the Aquarius stage the following day for a long “rehearsal” of sorts, also recorded by Elektra.

This Doors Celebration concert announcement must’ve been met with, indeed, celebration in the L.A. area, because the group’s previous tour had finally been canceled when the Morrison brouhaha had grown to be too much.

So this was indeed a comeback for the group, and a triumphant one at that. Lead singer Morrison, in particular, was singled out by critics as being especially relaxed and self-assured.

I always tell the back story for a poster when I know it like this, because for me at least, the Doors Aquarius Theater ticket poster just becomes all the cooler when you’re informed of the story behind it.

Ditto for the fact that tonight’s two shows were eventually released in their entirety on the Doors’ own Bright Midnight CD reissue label. How cool to listen to those while looking at this poster on your wall?!

This Doors Celebration window display doesn’t have any mention of it, but the band’s newest album, The Soft Parade, had been released by Elektra on the preceding Friday. So that certainly must’ve fired up their local fan base.

Jim, Ray, Robbie and John never really cared much about playing their hit singles in concert – “Light My Fire” seemed to be the only guarantee – but they did perform their latest hit, “Touch Me,” at the late show here, but not the early show.

You might wonder how this Doors Aquarius Theater appearance poster could advertise the group playing at this venue, when the wildly popular musical “Hair” was occupying the theatre on a full-time basis.

That’s easy: as with most live theatre, the Aquarius was dark on Mondays, the day of rest for the play’s cast. So the Doors were able to slip right in there on a Monday night.

This Doors Celebration tour poster is displayed and discussed in intricate detail by poster collector Pete Howard (@805-540-0020 or email pete@postercentral.com). As a collector who doesn’t own this poster, I will pay you THE BEST PRICE, PERIOD if you have, or know of someone who has, this poster. Thanks.

To see another special Doors concert poster (from 1968) plus some other gems of the genre, please visit, right here on this web site, http://www.postercentral.com/rock.htm

Posted in **All Posters, **Psychedelic Posters Only, *The Doors | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SF Mime Troupe Appeals 2 Window Card 1965 Fillmore Auditorium – Part Two

PLEASE GO TO PART ONE to see the main part of this video. This is just the final three minutes. Thanks!

A historic and early S.F. Mime Troupe concert poster from late 1965 to raise funds for the Troupe’s legal defense. This was a Bill Graham production – his first ever at the Fillmore – even though his name does not appear on the placard.

Here’s exactly what the poster says:

 

S.F. Mime Troupe Appeal II

For Continued Artistic Freedom In The Parks

(Then in huge red letters) DANCE-CONCERT

 

–with– Jefferson Airplane, John Handy Quintet, Sam Thomas and the Gentlemen’s Band, The Mystery Trend, The Great Society, “And Many Other Friends.”

 

Friday, December 10

9 P.M. till ?

Fillmore Auditorium

Fillmore & Geary Streets

Donations – $1.50

Information: GA 1-1984

 

To read a lot more about this fun, rare piece of early S.F. rock memorabilia, please refer to the big write-up I did for part one of this two-part video presentation. Or, of course, just… watch the videos!

And please remember, I PAY THE VERY BEST PRICES, PERIOD, for this poster (I don’t have one) and many other vintage concert posters from 1920-1970. Check out my hobby web site for details: www.postercentral.com. Thanks very much!

Peace & Love,

Pete Howard

pete@postercentral.com

Posted in **All Posters, **Psychedelic Posters Only, Boxing-Style Concert Posters, Fillmore Auditorium | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

S.F. Mime Troupe Appeal II Dance-Concert Poster 1965 Jefferson Airplane – Part One

A vintage, authentic San Francisco Mime Troupe Appeal II window card dated December 10, 1965 for an event held at S.F.’s legendary Fillmore Auditorium.

What makes this poster historic is that it is simply the very first Bill Graham concert poster ever designed and printed, even though his name doesn’t appear anywhere on it.

It’s nowhere near as pretty as all his later psychedelic concert posters, but those were still months away. For his S.F. Mime Troupe Appeal II show poster, Graham could have gone with straight B&W, but instead, his utilized red very effectively. It was used for the big “DANCE-CONCERT” up top, plus all of the performers’ names.

This was not Graham’s first Mime Troupe Appeal event; that happened the previous month. However, Bill didn’t use a poster to advertise that shindig, just a little handbill (which I’ve also blogged).

So that leaves this S.F. Mime Troupe Appeal II broadside as the first piece to advertise musicians that BG ever hosted, so it’s a shame he didn’t think (or didn’t have the authority yet) to put his name on the poster.

But no worries, by the Appeal III show in January, Graham had added his name prominently. And Bay Area music would never be the same.

As most of us know, Mr. Graham was a master marketer. Bob Dylan held his own press conference in San Francisco a few days before this show, and Bill managed to sneak a copy of this poster into Dylan’s hands. It was held up before the TV cameras and Dylan even said he wished he could attend. Incredible free publicity!

Dylan was prompted to address the poster, and I believe it was San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ralph Gleason who asked Dylan what the poster was for… perhaps working in cohorts with Graham.

On the music tip, this S.F. Mime Troupe Appeal II window display is pretty important to fans of the Jefferson Airplane. Not only is it a very early JA concert piece, but future member Grace Slick is present, too, pictured as a member of the Great Society.

In October of the following year, Grace would leave the Great Society and join the Airplane, from which point the group “took off” to major commercial success.

So it’s nice that you get both of Grace’s bands on the S.F. Mime Troupe Appeal II window poster. The other hip rock act on there is the Mystery Trend, an early San Francisco pop-rock group that never broke through, unfortunately, to commercial success.

Joining the rock acts are Sam Thomas & the Gentlemen’s Band and the John Handy Quintet, fine musicians I’m sure, but who faded to obscurity with the passage of time.

When holding this S.F. Mime Troupe Appeal II show placard, I always zero in on the box that says, “And Many Other Friends.” Because amongst those other “friends” were no less than the Warlocks, who were right on the cusp of changing their name to… The Grateful Dead!

So that has to be seen as a missed opportunity to get a 1965 Dead concert poster with their picture, alongside the Airplane, at Bill Graham’s first musical event and first show at the Fillmore. Holy cow, what an awesome poster that could have been.

But for reasons unknown, Graham or the typesetter left the Warlocks off the S.F. Mime Troupe Appeal II telephone-pole poster. Perhaps it was a matter of several more bands appearing on the bill, so one of the poster’s squares had to “cover them all” with the generic phrase that you see.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great poster… but it would’ve been ever greater if the very early Grateful Dead were pictured on there, for all the obvious reasons. So closed, but yet so far.

As usual, no year is shown on this S.F. Mime Troupe Appeal II ticket poster. Why bother with it? The show was conceived and planned in November, the poster probably printed at the end of that month, and the concert was held December 10. At which point, all of the advertising was then discarded. Who needed a year on there?

This same reasoning is behind the cheap material posters like this were usually printed on… constructed to last but a few weeks, not decades like the surviving copies have.

And then there’s the show’s location at the bottom of the S.F. Mime Troupe Appeal II street sign. The hallowed Fillmore Auditorium at the corner of Fillmore and Geary Streets. For some, this is the most important element of this collector’s item.

And the final tidbits at the very bottom address the ticket price and a phone number to be called for information. I’m sure Graham even answered that phone some of the time, given how small the Mime Troupe business office was… can you just imagine?

Technical stuff: the S.F. Mime Troupe Appeal II poster board measures 14×20” and was printed on very thin cardboard, also known in the hobby as cardstock.

Interestingly, no printer’s credit is given on the poster, although it’s assumed it was done somewhere in the San Francisco area.

This S.F. Mime Troupe Appeal II concert herald is happily discussed in great detail by serious concert collector Peter J. Howard. That would be me, and I can be contacted by one of two ways: 805-540-0020 or pete@postercentral.com. I don’t have this poster, so I will pay the BEST PRICE IN THE HOBBY, PERIOD, if you happen to know of one. Thank you very much.

Posted in **All Posters, **Psychedelic Posters Only, Boxing-Style Concert Posters, Fillmore Auditorium | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beatles Window Card 1963 U.K. w/Gerry & The Pacemakers

A genuine, highly attractive Beatles hanging concert poster from their week-long engagement commencing July 22, 1963 at the Odeon Theatre in Weston-Super-Mare, England.

This miniature Beatles ticket poster comes from a time when the boys held down the #1 single and #1 LP in Britain, enjoying their initial explosion in popularity over there.

It’s pretty small compared to the usual concert poster, and was printed on card-stock material… thicker than paper, but still very flexible.

This Beatles Odeon poster represents a time when our beloved moptops were relying heavily on cover versions to flush out their albums. Just a few days before this engagement began, the Fab Four recorded “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” “Money,” “Til There Was You” and “Devil in Her Heart”  – all slated to appear on their upcoming long-player, With the Beatles.

Some observers see cover versions as perhaps a sign of weakness, that a group is running short of good, new songs. But not me – the mix of repertoire the Beatles presented in this era was simply magical.

There are several notations at the top of this Beatles concert placard that might puzzle Americans, being so distinctly British.

For starters, the weird-sounding Weston-Super-Mare is a seaside resort in the southwest of England, beneath Wales, and a well-traveled tourist destination.

And then this Beatles tour poster proclaims one word, “Odeon.” in big red letters at the top, to signify the venue. The Odeon Theatres chain was a string of movie and performance theatres throughout England at the time, which the boys often performed in.

And take a look at that phone number – simply “1784.” Boy, does that ever indicate that this was an advertisement for locals only, and that the country’s population was sparse compared to today.

My favorite expression on this Beatles broadside is found in the sentence, “Arthur Howes Presents Britain’s Fabulous Disc Stars!”

Howes was a prominent English concert promoter at the time, and in fact, became the primary Beatles tour operator in Britain from 1964 until they stopped touring in 1966.

Another dated, but cool, design element of this Beatles fence poster is the way their four heads are arranged, floating together with no necks or bodies. This was a common technique at the time, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Notice the same method was used for the 2nd-billed act, Gerry and the Pacemakers. Not only that, but they got a song title on the poster, too – “I Like It.”

It’s a shame this Beatles event poster doesn’t have any of their song titles; how great would it be to see either of their recent smashes, “Please Please Me” or “From Me to You,” on there.

Gerry and the Pacemakers may have been second-billed, but they were keeping close pace behind the Beatles at this point in time. They had already logged a pair of number one hits thus far, the aforementioned “I Like It” plus “How Do You Do It,” and another was right around the corner, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

And then this Beatles in-person poster is rounded out by five lesser-known entertainers below, only one of which made any chart appearances (Tommy Quickly).

It was not unusual for a versatile comedian to act as the Master of Ceremonies at tourist resorts, and this engagement was no exception; notice how Billy Baxter was the “Star Comedy Compere” in big letters. Can you just imagine sitting through corny tourist jokes, in addition to FOUR unknown musical acts, waiting patiently for the Beatles to come on??

My personal favorite era in Fab Four history is actually represented by this Beatles telephone-pole poster. The boys were now making incredible music, topping all the charts, but Beatlemania hadn’t quite struck yet, so they were somewhat accessible if you were determined.

But all of that would soon change, within weeks even… “She Loves You” was their very next single, opening the floodgates and helping to create mayhem everywhere they went.

To show you how naïve things still were at the time of this Beatles concert poster, I show you a Dezo Hoffman photograph of the boys in old-timey bathing suits taken down at the beach. For heaven’s sake, remember those? Well, they were snapped on the very last day of this weeklong stand.

Now that’s what I would mark as “the end of the innocence.” Going forward, the Moptops would no longer kow-tow to any goofy request a photographer would make, just to get publicity. They were starting to rise above that.

Once again looking at the design, this Beatles concert announcement makes great use of light, almost pastel, shades of red, yellow and pink to great effect. (Blue would be the fourth color.)

Electric (Modern) Printing Co. Ltd. in Manchester, England did the printing, but I don’t know if they designed it or not; perhaps Arthur Howes’ people did.

This Beatles concert window hanging is enthusiastically discussed by collector Peter Howard, who’s based in California. That’s me, and please reach me either through pete@postercentral.com or by calling 805-540-0020. And let it be known that I pay TOP DOLLAR IN THE HOBBY for a copy of this, or any vintage original, Beatles concert poster.

If you’d like to view some more historic, fun Beatles U.K. concert posters, just click over to this page right here on my Web site: http://www.postercentral.com/beatles.htm

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Roy Brown Concert Poster 1951 Elvis Presley Influence

A scarce, beautiful 1951 Roy Brown / Roy Milton concert poster designed to advertise a mid-century R&B concert tour.

Besides the two Roys, R&B songstress Camille Howard is the third act on the poster, which rounded out the “Triple Attraction” it promises at the top.

This Roy Brown placard is known as a “tour blank” – meaning it was used from town to town, with the lower portion remaining unchanged, and each city’s date, ticket price and so forth printed into the blank portion at the top.

On my particular poster, however, that top section was trimmed down in order to fit this thing into the back of an old mirror frame.

As a result of that trimming, my piece measures only 22 by 24 inches, whereas the original dimensions of this Roy Milton poster board were 22 by 28 inches.

If I were to trim off another couple of inches, the result would be a perfect square, which would be a great size for framing.

I just love the design of this Roy Brown show poster; the red and blue hues are great attention-grabbers.

In fact, red ink outpaces the blue ink about two-to-one; the blue is used as a nice transition background color, and only on the bottom half.

Globe Poster Corp. of Baltimore was the manufacturer of this Roy Milton tour poster – and they also created the design and layout.

Another fun feature here is the way all those little white lines fly away from Roy Brown’s face … an effective artistic touch that shows action and excitement.

Notice that Globe also used a lot of different type sizes and fonts for the lettering on its Roy Brown in-person poster… that’s a technique that automatically makes things more appealing to the eye.

This poster actually has close ties to the genesis of rock & roll… Elvis Presley recorded “Good Rockin’ Tonight” (shortened by a word on the poster) as his second Sun Records 45 release.

So it’s really a thrill to have a Roy Brown window poster plugging “Good Rockin’ Tonight” two years before Elvis recorded it.  Wow!

That groundbreaking song features the phrase, “Tonight I’ll be your mighty, mighty man,” so Brown named his backing group the Mighty, Mighty Men.

This Roy Milton appearance poster doesn’t list any of his songs, but it’s not for lack of success… Milton had accrued 16 consecutive Top 10 rhythm & blues hits at the time of this poster, even more than Brown.

But at least the poster name-checks Milton’s back-up group, “his Solid Senders,” which included Camille Howard, by the way.

This Roy Milton window display has significance in the development of Elvis’s Sun career from Milton’s perspective, too.

His 1946 record “Milton’s Boogie” quotes a snippet of Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s seminal 45 release “That’s All Right,” which – as you know – Elvis famously recorded as his debut Sun single in 1954. You can bet that Presley heard “Milton’s Boogie” on the radio, in addition to the Crudup single, because it reached the #3 chart position.

So a lot of Elvis Presley followers would consider this Roy Brown event poster to be a real harbinger of what was to come in the King of Rock ’n’ Roll’s earliest recording days. How could you argue otherwise?

As I often explain in this space, this poster was a tour blank… it was used for an entire tour, with the only thing changing being the city-to-city info which would be printed in at the top.

To help explain this technique used by promoters, I hold up a photograph in my video of this very Roy Milton show placard which does have specifics printed into the top portion. And one picture, as you’ll see, is worth a thousand words.

Of course, you’re right, I would much prefer mine to have that information up at the top, instead of my “blank.” But with the scarcity of these posters, you take what you can get!

Globe Posters also generated a 14-by-22-inch version of this Roy Milton concert placard from the same era, and some collectors actually prefer the smaller size because they’re easier to frame.

But I favor the larger size, because since the graphics are so attractive here, it’s a matter of the more size, the merrier!

I’ve neglected to mention more about Camille Howard at the bottom of this Roy Brown billboard. After all, she was billed as the tour’s “third attraction.”

Well, all Ms. Howard did was chart two Top 10 R&B hits on her very own, apart from Milton, so she had it going on herself, too.

On the condition tip, you might notice that my Roy Brown tour placard has a few words written on it lightly, which I never like to see, but one has to live with.

For whatever reason – talk about redundant – someone penciled in “Roy Brown – Roy Milton – “ under the latter’s picture. But since it’s in pencil, a restorer could easily zap it out of there.

Back on the design tip, it’s cool the way “Plus” shows up between acts #1 & 2 and #2 and 3. It’s almost like they really wanted to underscore that this was a “triple attraction.”

And it’s cool the way “Plus” appears as a blue word inside the black arrow by Milton’s head, with a touch of red also peeking through.

One of the subliminal attractions of this Roy Brown street poster is the way all three musicians are wearing bright, happy smiles. That’s no coincidence… a poster like this must grab your attention and compel you to pull out your wallet. Containing happy faces was one effective way of achieving that feeling.

I do give Globe kudos for squeezing in a photo of Camille Howard down at the bottom, rather than just listing her name. I guess they kind of had to do that. to bolster their “triple attraction” claim.

Giving every element of it serious consideration, I’d have to label this Roy Milton broadside as a beautiful post-war, pre-rock & roll, rhythm ’n’ blues concert poster.

Another moniker that comes to mind is “Jump Blues,” an important post-war musical art form based on R&B music… and which certainly applies here.

I’ve already covered the fact that this 1950s Roy Brown window card was trimmed at the top back in the day, and that maybe it could be trimmed down a little bit more to form a square, which would look great framed.

Heck, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine someone cutting even this piece in half to create a couple of separate, good-looking horizontal strips for each artist alone, also suitable for framing.

I didn’t mention yet that this Roy Milton fence poster was made on rigid cardboard, to hold up against any possible inclement weather outside.

Can you just imagine if Globe made their old concert posters out of paper? So fewer would have survived over the years… we’d practically never seen any!

As cool as this Roy Brown street sign is, I’ve actually seen a better-looking one, believe it or not… from 1952 and ’53. It’s the smaller size, but its graphics are dramatically nice. I’ll video-blog it as soon as I can get my hands on one.

The trouble is, collectors usually don’t have free choice in which ones they want to collect; these things are so few & far between, that we have to kind of take whatever comes along.

The reason the promoters went to the expense of creating a Roy Milton concert advertisement like this is because it was one of only three avenues they had to pursue, to get the word out.

Simply put, they could either make up concert posters, or they could take out ads in local newspapers or on radio shows. That was it, other than word-of-mouth.

So as a result – lucky for us collectors – you have this colorful Roy Brown concert announcement 50+ years later, whereas all newspapers are long gone and radio ads are not even tangible, of course.

I really feel that there’s some kind of “collector’s gene” that makes people like me love this stuff… and for whatever reason, 99% of the time that gene is found in males, not females. Yes, some women “collect” things, but I see it more as “gathering” or “hoarding”… it’s men that really drive hobbies like this.

This Roy Milton boxing style concert poster is lectured upon by long-time music collector Peter Howard. Please feel free to contact me at pete@postercentral.com or (805) 540-0020.  I will pay TOP DOLLAR IN THE HOBBY for this poster with its venue info intact at the top! Or for any other vintage concert posters of this ilk.

And to see some additional nice R&B posters from years past, please click on http://www.postercentral.com/rhythmnblues.htm

Posted in **All Posters, 1950s Rock ’N' Roll, Boxing-Style Concert Posters, Soul and R&B | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment