A hundred dollars buys a lot of daisies, and you need a lot of daisies if you’re going to use them as a floral surrounding for Cass Elliot, who was being photographed lying naked among them. When the shooting was over, I hung around Schatzberg’s studio to help David Hoff – who was his assistant – clean the place up.
It seemed a wasted of barely-used daisies just to throw them away, and then David and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to give them to someone?” and then we thought, of course, of the Doors whom we were picking up at the airport the next day. So we chose the two best bunches of daisies and put them in water overnight. We took the flowers with us in the limousine to Newark Airport, and gave them to the Doors as they came through the arrival gate.
The Doors were in New York for the third time for some concerts and a three-week gig at Steve Paul’s the Scene. It was not quite the same as their two previous trips to New York. Last fall, when they were playing here for the first time, they were virtually unknown except to the innermost circles of hippies and groupies. Early in the spring, when they returned, their album had been released and was a big underground item – big enough to keep it in the national charts around #100 and big enough to keep the club in which they were playing chock full of the in-crowd every night.
But now we were in the midst of a Doors boom. Their album and single were #1 on the West Coast, and the week prior to their arrival in New York, both had jumped about thirty points (which is very fantastic) on the national charts. In three weeks, they would be Top Ten, album and single, and no new group since the Monkees had seen their first album go Top Ten. We were transporting, in our limousine from Newark, daisies and superstars – and we all knew it.
Even while they were here, the phenomenon was growing bigger. Everyone came to see them, and I arrived at the Scene one night to find Jim Morrison and Paul Newman talking about the title song for a movie which Newman was planning to produce. And when I called the directors of the Central Park Music Festival to arrange for passes for the Doors to the Paul Butterfield concert, I was told to have them enter the theater one at a time, or they would be in danger of being rushed. Which I told them – but they came in together anyhow and were rushed and loved it. If they had stayed another week, they would have needed bodyguards. Their exit was well-timed; the day after they left, we had a request to use the Doors in a singing deodorant commercial, and I think everyone was relieved not to have to make a decision about that offer.
The Doors played their last set at the Scene on a Saturday night. At 3 a.m., when all the paying customers had left, Steve Paul locked us all in and gave a party for the boys, who had been the biggest draw in the history of his club. And on his part, Steve had been a good and groovy employer; I remember John asking Jim why he (Jim) would get to the Scene so well in advance of the time they had to perform, and Jim’s answering, “Well, I like to hang around Steve Paul and listen to him rap. He’s funny.” Anyhow, there was a case of champagne for the closing night party, and it didn’t matter that it wasn’t quite chilled because everyone was happy, sloppy, and tired, and it was a beautiful party. Robbie did his imitation of a shrimp, and Jim found something lying on the floor which looked like a balloon but wasn’t, so he blew it up and let it go, whereupon it landed in Ingrid Superstar’s champagne glass, which made Jim laugh, and everyone loved each other without any uptightness. It would be good if everything the Doors ever have to do ends so nicely.
Our trusty chauffeur George was on a holiday the day of the Doors’ scheduled departure, which meant I had to drive them to the airport in the limousine. I had never driven a lim before, and the wheels on this one were out of alignment, but this I didn’t learn until we were speeding through the Midtown Tunnel taking up both lanes and then some.
“Hey, man,” Jim said to me in that voice which always sounds as if he is talking to God on a buddy-to-buddy level and you are privileged to overhear this half of the conversation, “You better drive carefully. If we’re killed, you’ll be in a lot of trouble.” I had two words for Mr. Morrison at that point and they weren’t “Happy Birthday,” but in my head I was visualizing a Doors Memorial Souvenir Booklet and a Doors Memorial Concert, and wondering what streets would be named after them. I’m sure they were thinking of the same things.
There were about two minutes left before the plane took off when we all realized that the chapter had been written: no longer would I be calling to wake them, rounding them up for interviews, or dragging them off to sign autographs at department stores; and no longer would they be vanishing when I needed them, hanging around when I didn’t, and cursing me when I told them what they would have to do “early tomorrow.”
It was all over, for the time being, and we were trying to figure out when and were we’d be seeing each other again when the all-aboard was called and they turned to leave. I hoped there would be someone with daisies waiting to meet them in Los Angeles.
"The Doors" article originally appeared in Hullabaloo Magazine, October, 1967.
Photos By - David Hoff