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July 8, 1965 the date Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek meet on Venice Beach?

Early July in Doors history is rife with events starting with the anniversary of Jim Morrison’s death on July 3, 1971 followed by his burial in Pere LaChaise on July 7. Paris in July was the end for Jim Morrison, but July was also the beginning for The Doors. In early July 1965 Jim Morrison ‘bumped’ into Ray Manzarek on Venice Beach, the exact date is unknown, but maybe we can narrow it down based on the story Ray Manzarek told over the years and by events for which we have dates.

One thing we can be we can sure of, the famous meeting of Morrison and Manzarek on Venice Beach didn’t happen on the 4th of July weekend. In telling the story, Manzarek had frequently tied the theme of freedom into the story saying that it was his and Morrison’s first taste of freedom that they didn’t have to go to school. So if it had happened on or near the 4th of July both Morrison and Manzarek, who knew a good story when they heard one would have incorporated the holiday in to the story. Most biographies give the date of Morrison leaving film school about two weeks prior to graduation (because of the negative reaction to the film he made for his final exam). Manzarek said that Jim left school and the next time he saw him was forty days later. Of course, Manzarek isn’t being literal about the 40 days, he is throwing in a Biblical allusion to the 40 days allotted both Moses and Jesus to wander in the desert to be cleansed of their sins before becoming the prophets they would become. If Morrison left as late as the last week of May 1965, which was the last time Manzarek saw Morrison at UCLA, and assuming the 40 days is an approximate amount of time before Manzarek met Morrison on Venice Beach, going past the 4th of July weekend, and allowing a few days to elapse that would put the meeting on Venice Beach on or about July 8, 1965, which would have been around 47 days since Manzarek had last seen Morrison.

It was this meeting that Manzarek and Morrison decided to start The Doors (see related articles below about Morrison ‘bumping’ into Ray). Manzarek immediately moved Morrison into his beach house and the two started working out the arrangements for The Doors’ songs. From there things start to move quickly. It was on July 24 that Manzarek introduced Morrison to ‘Rick and the Ravens’, the band that included Manzarek’s brothers who Ray quickly realized didn’t share his enthusiasm or vision for Morrison’s lyrics and by August 20 he had recruited John Densmore and in early September of 1965 were cutting the demo of Doors songs at Aura Records.

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