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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.