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.

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