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2010-12-09 16:46:33 UTC
Panel to discuss indecent exposure pardon a day after what would have
been The Doors frontman's 67th birthday
By BRENDAN FARRINGTON
The Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Doors singer Jim Morrison will get a posthumous
pardon for an indecent exposure conviction in Florida.
Charlie Crist, the state's governor, got a commitment for enough votes
from other members of the state's Board of Executive Clemency to approve
Morrison was appealing the conviction when he was found dead in a Paris
bathtub in 1971.
Thursday's meeting about the pardon will occur a day after the singer
would have turned 67.
Crist can't issue a pardon on his own. He and the three-member Cabinet
serve as the Clemency Board. Approval is required by the governor and at
least two other members.
The did-he-or-didn't-he debate over what happened at the Miami concert
was revived by Crist's interest in the case. The surviving band members
say a drunken Morrison teased the crowd, but never exposed himself.
"It never actually happened. It was mass hypnosis," said Ray Manzarek,
The Doors' keyboard player.
Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger said Morrison's behavior was
influenced by an acting troupe that disrobed during plays.
'They totally fell for it'
"He was just doing a mind trip =E2=80" as they would say =E2=80" a mind
trip on the audience and they totally fell for it," Manzarek said.
Manzarek said Morrison was far drunker than usual, to the point where
they questioned whether he should go on stage.
Gov. Crist began considering a pardon for Morrison in 2007 at the urging
of a fan. He says he has doubts about whether Morrison actually exposed
himself during the rowdy concert March 1, 1969. Morrison was convicted
of public profanity and indecent exposure, and sentenced to six months
in jail and a $500 fine.
The case has become murkier with the passage of years.
Morrison's defense attorney said recently that the singer received a
fair trial with credible witnesses on both sides, and fans who were at
the show have differing recollections.
Here's what most people agree on: The Doors went on stage late, the
Dinner Key Auditorium was oversold and wasn't air conditioned. Morrison
was drunk and stopped in the middle of songs with an anti-authority,
A live lamb was brought on stage at one point, and Morrison also grabbed
a police officer's hat and threw it in the crowd. The singer took off
his shirt and fiddled with his belt, and fans poured onto the stage.
Manzarek said, "There were 100 photos offered in evidence at the trial,
photos of everything =E2=80" Jim with the lamb, Jim with the hat, on the
stage collapsing, riot in the audience," but not one that showed him
A pardon won't change Morrison's image, but it will right a wrong,
Manzarek and Krieger said.
"Jim's legacy is one of Dionysian madness and frenzy, and of a chaotic
American poet. I don't think that the Miami episode has altered his
image one iota," Manzarek said.
Krieger added: "Nobody would like to have that charge hanging over their
head, even if they are dead. I'm sure his family would be happy to see
that go, especially since it never happened."
There are fans who still swear Morrison exposed himself.
"He actually unzipped and pulled his pants down a little bit, enough
where you can see everything. I do remember being shocked when that
happened, and definitely it happened," said Lee Winer, 56, who now lives
north of San Francisco. "I can still picture it like it was yesterday."
Others disagree. Helene Davis of Miami said she was an 18-year-old in
the front row of the concert with a friend. She said Morrison teased the
crowd by pretending he was going to unzip his pants, but never actually
"We were watching and waiting because it was obvious that's where he was
going with it," Davis said. "I just remembered thinking, 'Yes, it's
going to happen! It's going happen! It's going to happen!' And it never
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material
may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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