Can You Pass The Acid Test? Psychedelic Poster 1965 Palo Alto, CA – Part 1

An early, fun Can You Pass the Acid Test? event poster from Dec. 18, 1965 at the Big Beat nightclub in Palo Alto, CA.

This version, with its venue box filled in (by hand), is scarcer and therefore more collectible than a plain copy with a blank box in the lower right corner.

What’s thrilling is the immediacy of this piece… this Acid Test window poster was designed to be used for just one day… because notice it says, “Tonight! Saturday!” in the little box. Then, the following day, most of them were tossed.

Only once in a blue moon do I run across a concert poster that was configured to be used only on the day of the event… it’s very uncommon.

In this Part 1 of my video, I display and talk about a white, uncut version of the Can You Pass the Acid Test? street sign. Then in Part 2, I show and discuss two goldenrod, cut & assembled versions.

Printed as just a black & white poster, this specimen gets some added color from rust-colored-paint fingerprints on the front, and bleed-through red coloring from spray paint used on the back. It’s all very random and, therefore, trippy.

It’s amazing how mischievous and creative the artwork is on this Acid Test appearance poster. As I discuss in the video, the poster artist(s) is unknown, because people generally didn’t sign concert posters they designed in 1965.

But if this was a collaboration between several Merry Pranksters, a very real theory that’s been floated, then it would’ve cluttered up the poster (and belied the spirit) if everyone tried to sign it at the bottom, to get their credit.

Then again, if only a couple of artists were involved in designing this Can You Pass the Acid Test? window display, there was room for their names in the venue box, far lower right.

What was written into that little white square was,

at the “Big Beat”

San Antonio Road near Bayshore

Tonight! Sat!

…and then there’s some extra blank white area below that.

In this video, I go into the origins of the Big Beat nightclub, one of the earliest pop-music establishments of its kind in northern California.

The Big Beat club was run by one Yvonne Modica, who skirted around liquor-license laws by positioning her club as a youth-oriented pizza joint. As a result, sometimes she was able to stay open all the way until 6 AM on weekends.

This Acid Test in-person poster is enthusiastically discussed by long-time music, record & poster collector Pete Howard. That would be me, and I can be found at or by dialing (805) 540-0020. And please remember that I pay TOP DOLLAR IN THE HOBBY, bar none, for vintage psychedelic Acid Test memorabilia like this.

Posted in **All Posters, **Psychedelic Posters Only, *Grateful Dead | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Concert Flyer 1969 Santa Barbara, CA

A genuine, collectible 1969 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young concert handbill.

This item was designed and printed weeks before the concert and distributed as an incentive to get people to buy tickets.

The guys were right in the middle of recording their 2nd LP, Deju Vu, when this 1969 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young window display was printed.

And just two days prior, they had put the finishing touches on the song “Helpless” from that album. I can’t recall if they sang it at the show…. yes, that’s right, I was there in person!!

This 1969 CSN&Y flyer is rather small… just 5” by 8.5”.

And it was made on very thin paper… pink paper, to catch the eye… so if posted outside, the weather would’ve quickly eaten it up.

Much better for the collector would be a 1969 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young poster, made of cardboard and of larger size.

Some have turned up from their few dozen dates in 1969, but not a whole lot – just the usual Bill Graham one.

The lettering on this 1969 CSNY concert leaflet is hand-drawn and very folksy… I love it, more than something professionally done.

In fact, it looks like a little goof was made in “Surprise” and it was just fixed on the spot, like you and I would do in a note to someone.

What I’d really like to find is a 1969 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young tour poster, but maybe that’s being greedy.

But since I attended this show as a 16-year-old high school student, getting a poster of it, if they were made, would be awesome.

But anyway, this 1969 CSN&Y appearance sheet is frameable in its own right… it looks really cool in a small frame.

But I took it out of its frame just to shoot this video, so you could get a feel for the flimsy paper it was printed on.

The most obvious thing about my 1969 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young handout is that the photo shows… only half of them!

So that’s great for Graham Nash and David Crosby, but what happened to Neil Young and Stephen Stills? Weird, isn’t it?

Notice the way the lettering at the top of this 1969 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young concert slinger is somewhat psychedelic, but then quickly becomes normal halfway down.

I’m guessing that was the designer trying to make it look a little like the well-known S.F. posters of the day.

But I believe it’s wishful thinking to think there may have been a 1969 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young concert sign done for this show.

The handbill is too amateurish… surely they would’ve hired a pro to do the bigger and smaller pieces together.

I dig the fact that my 1969 CSNY herald is from Santa Barbara, CA… where both Nash and Crosby have lived at various times.

And not just Santa Barbara, but UCSB, too… who can ever forget the Bank of America that burned there at the hands of student protesters back in that era?

Have you noticed yet that Sweetwater’s name is on this 1969 CSN&Y showbill?

They were the Los Angeles group scheduled to open at Woodstock in August of that year, but they ran late, and instead were simply the first band to play at Woodstock – still not a bad claim.

If they even made a 1969 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young placard for this show, I wonder if it would’ve been on pink paper, too?

Probably not – because white cardboard was usually used for those.

As for the “Special Guest Star” teased on this 1969 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young billboard… any guesses?

Well, it was STEVE MILLER that was supposed to show up and surprise the crowd – which included me, remember – but alas, Miller never turned up. Instead, the L.A. band Dayspring took that slot.

You don’t run across a 1969 CSNY flier like this very often, because most of their stuff is from the 1970s-onward.

But the fact that this doesn’t state the year on it makes one have to research it to discover it’s from ’69.

Of historic note, this 1969 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in-person poster falls right between the foursome’s appearances at two famous festivals that year: Woodstock in August and Altamont in December.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have this item framed on your wall in between the posters for those two events… what a conversation starter that would be!

This item of 1969 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young concert memorabilia is enthusiastically dissected by collector Peter Howard, who is me, and I can be reached at or simply by calling (805) 540.0020. And please do remember that I pay TOP DOLLAR IN THE HOBBY, period, for great, early CSNY collectibles like this.

To see a few more vintage collectable concert handbills and fliers, just slide over to this page right here on my Web site:


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Beatles VI Capitol Records Promo Display for Stores 1965

A vintage Beatles VI promotional display designed to sell the Fab Four’s latest LP in 1965, and also promote their previous releases.

This piece hails from a time when big, splashy merchandising displays were created by the record labels to capture consumers’ attention.

In fact, later in 1965, directly following this Beatles VI display, Capitol would also produce similarly commanding merch pieces for the band’s Help! and Rubber Soul LPs.

But that would be it, for about three years. Going forward, only paper posters were sent to retail for each new Fabs album, until Abbey Road was released in late 1969.

I’ll say one thing: at 23 inches tall by 45 inches wide, this Beatles VI window display was a real attention-grabber. Those are its dimensions when laid flat, like it is in my video (by being framed).

But most stores would use the two side panels to conveniently stand it up without needing hooks, tapes, thumbtacks or anything else.

In fact, those side flaps served a dual function on this Beatles VI store display by touting the group’s five earlier LPs as well: Meet the Beatles, Second Album, Something New, Beatles ’65 and The Early Beatles.

Undoubtedly some department stores, pressed for space, tore off the two side panels and left just the big center section to advertise only the newest release. How unsatisfying that would be for collectors today, to find just the center portion with jagged edges down the right & left sides!

But when the side flaps were intact, this large cardboard Beatles VI counter display shows over fifty Beatle faces! Go ahead, count ’em, I did!

But everyone was not represented equally! John Lennon comes up one short amongst all the faces… we can thank The Beatles’ Second Album for that (minor) inequality.

A reminder that this Beatles VI 3-D display had no easels or hooks on the back. It would stand up on its own when the side panels were brought forward a few inches (they didn’t bend backwards).

Beatles VI is not considered a classic LP in the group’s canon; it was yet another paste-together job by Capitol A&R execs. I’ll say one thing, though… is has to be a candidate for best-looking album-cover photo. I think the great color picture of Paul, Ringo, John and George perfectly captures the fun & innocence of the times, and really makes this piece a beauty.

In 1965, mono was still the leading format in terms of sales, so it’s interesting to see how this Beatles VI standee used the stereo covers of their LPs in its graphics instead of the monos.

When I talked about all the Beatle faces found on this thing, I should’ve also mentioned that it contains FORTY-SIX Beatle song titles as well. Wow! And so many of those songs are so very dear to our hearts.

This Beatles VI standup is joyously showed off and discussed by long-time collector Peter J. Howard of San Luis Obispo, CA. You can reach me thru or by phone at [805] 540-0020. Please know that I would pay the VERY BEST PRICE for one of these (still need it for my collection), as well as any other original Beatles ’60s store display.

And if you’d like to read about these things in much more detail, including all of the Fabs’ promo posters, just click over to this page right here on my Web site:

Posted in *Beatles, British Invasion, Promo Posters & Displays | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Earliest “Bill Graham Presents” Posters – 1965 S.F. Mime Troupe

Eight “Bill Graham Presents” posters from 1965 that pre-date Graham’s days as a concert promoter in the S.F. Bay Area.

All of these S.F. Mime Troupe placards advertised theatrical performances only, not music of any kind. At the time, Graham was the business manager of the San Francisco Mime Troupe… a position he held from 1963 through the end of 1965.

Among the locations given on these Mime Troupe performance placards are:

  • The Committee in San Francisco
  • Berkeley Little Theatre
  • Montgomery Theatre in San Jose
  • Gate Theatre in Sausalito
  • Palo Alto Sr. High School

This video presentation was produced by music historian and collector Peter Howard; that’s me, and I can be contacted through [805] 540-0020 or by emailing Thank you for spending your time with me.

Posted in **All Posters, **Psychedelic Posters Only, Fillmore Auditorium | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Marvin Gaye Window Card 1965 Eagles Ballroom Seattle

A scarce & collectible Marvin Gaye concert poster from Dec. 11, 1965 at the famous Eagles Ballroom in Seattle, WA.

This was a breakthrough year for the R&B legend, as he hit the #1 spot on the R&B charts earlier in the year with “I’ll Be Doggone.”

And then his second #1 R&B hit of 1965 was “Ain’t That Peculiar” – listed right below his name on this Marvin Gaye poster board.

Left off the poster were his previous hits “Can I Get a Witness,” “Pride and Joy” and “Hitch Hike”… but none of those were #1’s.

Serious collectors will recognize right away that this Marvin Gaye show poster was made by the Tilghman company out of Oakland. I’ve blogged many of their posters on this site before.

Most of these window cards made by Tilghman measured 14 by 22 inches, but this one has a nice visual advantage by measuring slightly larger – 16 by 24.

The famous Motown label didn’t get a mention on this Marvin Gaye billboard, but everyone knows Gaye is one of Motown’s most prolific artists ever.

That may be due to the fact that local musician Johnny Talbot takes up half of the poster; he was not known for releasing records, just gigging around locally.

Tilghman used the “split-fountain” printing technique on their Marvin Gaye in-person poster. The colors fade together starting with red at the top, black in the middle to blue at the bottom.

So, conveniently, you have the venue information in bright red and Marvin’s photo and lettering in straight black & white. It’s Talbot who comes out a little unusual here… his head is in B&W but his body is in blue & white! Still, it all looks cool.

I don’t want to neglect the third musician found on this Marvin Gaye show placard, that being Chris Marshall.

I couldn’t locate any info on Marshall, but it’s a good guess that he was one of De Thangs, the name of Talbot’s back-up group.

Collectors will tell you that this Marvin Gaye event poster is a prototypical boxing-style concert poster, a very popular sub-genre of the hobby.

It qualifies as a boxer due to its plain, straightforward presentation of the facts; the block lettering that it uses; the presence of pictures of the musicians; and the fact that it was made on cardboard, not paper.

I love the way this Marvin Gaye appearance poster comes from the legendary Eagles Ballroom in Seattle, Washington. Many a great poster has come out of that venue.

It’s so attractive the way so many different type fonts were used in the red venue information, including the obligatory “Show and Dance” in a separate, star-studded box.

Radio station KYAC got a nice plug on this Marvin Gaye tour placard. It states that it was a station anniversary presentation.

What it doesn’t state is that it was the soul-music / R&B radio station’s very first anniversary… they had just gone on-air the previous year, in 1964.

In the video, I move in for a close-up of my Marvin Gaye ticket poster, and you can see that one of the corners is damaged – probably from exposure to significant moisture.

That could easily be fixed by a poster restoration expert, especially since it doesn’t affect a photograph, just block printing. And that red lettering could easily be re-colored in once the restoration is done.

As a serious poster collector who’s studied these things for years, I’m always intrigued by the subtlest of design elements that go into them. For example, the opening act’s name is embellished by four nice little stars… why didn’t Marvin receive any of those?

And those rows of little boxed stars running the horizontal width of the poster… I think it’s great the way you have a red one (first), then a black one under Show and Dance, and down at the bottom, a blue one.

I guess if I could change one thing on my Marvin Gaye street sign, it would be the addition of more song titles. I think names of hit records give an old poster a tremendous visual boost, so it’s too bad there’s only one here.

I would’ve added in the three additional hit records I listed above, plus “Stubborn Kind of Fellow.” Would that have made this poster even more awesome, or what?

So it’s time to tell you that this Marvin Gaye fence poster was presented to you today by myself, Pete Howard, who wrote & produced the video (with pleasure). I can be contacted thru e-mail at, or through Ma Bell at 805.540.0020. And please remember that I pay TOP DOLLAR IN THE HOBBY, period, for vintage R&B / soul music window cards like this. It’s what I do!

To see another great, vintage Marvin Gaye window card from 1964, just hustle over to this page right here on my Web site:

Thanks & best wishes,


Posted in **All Posters, Boxing-Style Concert Posters, Soul and R&B | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment