From the Miami Herald, Dec. 9, 2010:
The Doors concert on March 1, 1969, had been highly anticipated by local teens, but The Miami Herald mentioned it only in passing.
Tickets were $6 in advance, $7 at the door. The band expected to play for 6,000 people for a $25,000 fee. But promoter Kenneth Collier, who ran Thee Image concert hall in Miami Beach, oversold the event, Morrison's camp claimed. Collier, who has since died, publicly blamed Morrison.
At showtime, 10,600 kids jammed the hall; thousands more milled about outside. Morrison was late after missing a Los Angeles-to-Miami flight. He began drinking, recalled the band's then-manager William Siddons in a telephone interview from California.
"Jim was always drunk; that was nothing unusual," said Siddons, who accompanied Morrison to Miami.
It was supposed to be a homecoming of sorts for Morrison. Born in Melbourne, the son of an admiral, he attended St. Petersburg Junior College and Florida State University before heading west to launch his poet-as-rock-star career.
Things unraveled quickly on stage. Morrison started and stopped in mid song. He peppered the crowd with questions, obscene requests and four-letter words. He called for a revolution among the spectators.
The audience grew angry, hurling insults.
Morrison finally asked: "Do you want to see
Miami Beach teen David LeVine, now 56, was at the foot of the stage with his camera.
"I had come expecting to shoot a baby-faced Morrison and was disappointed to find he had a bushy beard and you could hardly tell it was him, " he said.
One of LeVine's pictures, later presented in court, showed Morrison with his hand near the crotch of his pants. "Never saw him expose himself, though, " LeVine said.
Not true, said Theodore Jendry, 59, one of 30 off-duty Miami officers at the concert. "He pulled out his business and started whirling it, " said the retired Jendry, of Deerfield Beach. "He should have been arrested right there."
Siddons, the band's manager, said Morrison knew he had gone too far. On the limo ride back to a Miami Beach hotel, Siddons remembered Morrison telling him: "'Uh, oh, I might have exposed myself out there."
"He didn't do it for prurient reasons. It was theater, " Siddons said. "But it happened in Florida, a real black and white state, and it was the South."
Following the concert, Morrison and his band went on vacation to Jamaica. Meanwhile, the backlash against him in Miami picked up steam. Radio stations briefly stopped playing, Light My Fire, Hello, I Love You and Touch Me.
Then came the decency rally at the Orange Bowl. Backed by the Archdiocese of Miami, local teens organized the event and drew 30,000 people. Among them: singer and Florida native Anita Bryant. Even President Richard Nixon called to congratulate the organizers.
Four days after the concert, six warrants on obscenity charges were issued for Morrison, who eventually surrendered to the FBI in Los Angeles.
|Arrest warrant for Jim Morrison.
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April 5, 1969: Jim Morrison’s Indecency Arrest: Rolling Stone’s Original Coverage
Jim Morrison prompts a rally for decency - March 23, 1969
"Dear Mike," wrote the recently inaugurated President Nixon to Miami-area teenager Mike Levesque in a letter dated March 26, 1969, "I was extremely interested to learn about the admirable initiative undertaken by you and 30,000 other young people at the Miami Teen-age Rally for Decency held last Sunday." The event of which Nixon spoke was organized in response to an incident at a Doors concert some three weeks earlier, when a drunk, combative and sometimes barely coherent Jim Morrison allegedly exposed himself to the crowd at Miami's Dinner Key Auditorium. The alleged exposure, whether it took place or not, created serious legal problems for Morrison. It also created an opportunity for socially conservative Floridians and their celebrity supporters to speak out against the counterculture at the massive "Rally for Decency" held at Miami's Orange Bowl on March 23, 1969.
The Associated Press described the event as being part of "a teen-age crusade for decency in entertainment." On hand to support that crusade was a handful of celebrities not normally associated with the youth market: Kate Smith, Jackie Gleason, The Lettermen and Anita Bryant, spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission.
Ms. Bryant, who would later become an outspoken opponent of gay rights, was not the only grownup to make political hay out of what began as a sincere event organized by the teenage members of a Roman Catholic youth group. On March 24, the day after the rally, President Nixon's daily news summary included a mention of the event along with a handwritten note from a young aide named Pat Buchanan: "The pollution of young minds...an extremely popular issue; one on which we can probably get a tremendous majority of Americans." Eight months later, Nixon would give his famous "Silent Majority" speech, and 23 years later, Buchanan would make a serious bid for the Republican presidential nomination running as a veteran of the so-called "Culture Wars."
|Miami News, March 24, 1969.
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