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The Doors week in history March 16-23

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Bobby Neuwirth, who was hired by The Doors as a “bodyguard” to protect Jim Morrison from himself, and away from drinking. Neuwirth decided a way to engage Morrison was to produce a film, the result is a four minute film for “Not to Touch the Earth” filmed on March 16th and 17th 1968 in Rochester, New York and Boston, Massachusetts (respectively). The film shows The Doors on the road with the song “Not to Touch the Earth” as the soundtrack. Neuwirth didn’t stay with The Doors for long, and at first it was going to be used as a promotional film but it was never used. The film does inspire The Doors to produce their own documentary that would become “Feast of Friends.”

Neuwirth is one of those people in rock ‘n’ roll that were influential and inspirational without gaining celebrity status themselves. Neuwirth who was a musician himself met Bob Dylan through the folk scene and it was rumored he was the inspiration behind Dylan‘s ‘Like a Rolling Stone.” Neuwirth is also credited, along with Janis Joplin and Michael McClure as the writer of the Joplin song “Mercedes Benz,” and he reportedly introduced Joplin who to Kris Kristofferson who wrote “Me and Bobby McGee” which would become Joplin’s biggest hit.

March 16, 1969 - The magazine L.A. Image publishes Jim Morrison’s poetry.

March 17, 1968 - The Doors are two hours late for a 4 pm show at the Boston Back Bay Theatre (Boston, MA) so the films “Break on Through” and “Unknown Soldier” are shown. The audience likes “The Unknown Soldier” so much they demand it be shown again.

March 17, 1969 - The Doors are booked at the Electric Theater in Pittsburgh, when word gets out the promoters are besieged by community objections due to the recent Miami show and allegations of exposure. The Doors booking agent releases the promoter from the contract.

March 22, 1968 - The Doors headline at Bill Graham’s Filmore East in New York for a two night stand. Highlights include Jim falling into the lighting pit, the New York debut of the film “The Unknown Soldier” with Morrison telling the audience to pay close attention to the film because there will be a test later. During the musical introduction of “When the Music’s Over” Morrison isn’t anywhere onstage but as the music hit’s the climatic point Morrison comes vaulting over John Densmore and the drum kit, landing in front of the microphone in time for the opening scream of the song. At the second show on Saturday (March 23) Morrison holds onto the curtain as it goes up and lets go of it, landing in front of his microphone. The Doors play full length versions of “Celebration of the Lizard” possibly for the first time. The shows are met with rave reviews and the crowds are reportedly “mesmerized” by the performances.

Sources: “Break on Through” by James Riordan and Jerry Prochnicky, and Doors History.com.

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