An original, seminal Tribute to Dr. Strange concert poster used to attract patrons to this October 16, 1965 event that helped shape S.F. rock history.
Nobody colored in this plain black & white original printing, so it stands just as it looked right after leaving the press, unaltered to this day.
This Family Dog Rock ’n’ Roll Dance Concert appearance poster is historic because it sold tickets to the first of three early, seminal FD dance-concert events over a four-week period in the fall of ’65.
Following Dr. Strange, there were “tributes” (in name only) to Sparkle Plenty (the following weekend) and Ming the Merciless (on Nov. 6).
Fans of the Jefferson Airplane covet this Tribute to Dr. Strange concert sign because it stands as the earliest known JA concert poster. It was the band’s first show outside of their own Matrix nightclub, and the Matrix wasn’t producing posters in those early days.
And even though future lead singer Grace Slick wouldn’t join the Airplane for a full year from now, she’s on the poster as well – as a member of The Great Society, listed down below The Marbles.
This Family Dog Rock ’n’ Roll Dance Concert poster board was constructed of rigid cardboard to withstand the Bay Area’s fall weather.
Unlike most future S.F. rock posters, this one has no printer’s credit on it anywhere, although it does carry a printing company’s union bug down in the lower-right corner.
Famous S.F. poster designer Alton Kelley drew up this Tribute to Dr. Strange cardboard poster, but for some reason, he’s not credited either.
Kelley was one of the four founding members of the original Family Dog collective in 1965, and was the one with innate artistic talent.
Another exciting aspect of this Family Dog Rock ’n’ Roll Dance Concert in-person poster is that it stands as the very first psychedelic San Francisco rock-concert poster.
The only earlier psychedelic concert poster hailed from 250 miles away, in Virginia City, Nevada, for the Charlatans’ stand there earlier in the summer.
You gotta love the amazing range of fonts that Mr. Kelley used on this Tribute to Dr. Strange billboard. In fact, “type fonts” isn’t the right term – every letter he used was designed on the spot.
And then there’s the little buzzing airplane adjacent to the Jefferson Airplane’s name – I’ve always loved that.
For such a chaotic design, it’s worth noting that this Family Dog Rock ’n’ Roll Dance Concert event poster presents info in four distinct quadrants. Upper left: the name of the show. Upper right: description of the show.
Lower left: all of the entertainment is named. And lower right: the venue, its location and the ticket prices. It all seems surprisingly well-organized.
The most difficult lettering to make out on this Tribute to Dr. Strange concert placard falls in the upper-left area: the name of the dance. How many people actually got “A Tribute To Dr. Strange” out of that craziness?
But what’s funny is that that was the information they needed the least… what they really needed was in the other three quadrants, none of which have difficult-to-discern lettering.
And notice that all the ticket-buying merchants are listed down in the lower left-hand area, in pretty small print. Typical hippie ethic: bury and hide the capitalist information!
As I inferred earlier, some copies of this Family Dog Rock ’n’ Roll Dance Concert street sign were hand-colored in by members of the Family Dog collective, such as Kelley’s girlfriend, Ellen Harmon. That tall stack of hollow circles looked especially cool when colored in with various hues.
This Tribute to Dr. Strange dance-concert advertisement is brought to you by collector Pete Howard, based in California. That is me, and feel free to reach out to me through firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (805)-540-0020. I don’t own this poster myself, so I will pay TOP DOLLAR IN THE HOBBY, PERIOD, for one of these, either colored or un-colored.
Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed seeing it.