Jim Morrison, Val Kilmer, The Doors, Amazon, and 1971, who knew

So the spouse buys a lot of stuff from Amazon and decided to sign up for Amazon Prime as her purchases shipping made it a “good idea”… I noticed that this means we get “Basic Amazon TV” in the bundle. Having a Roku, this consists of entering her login info in the Amazon “app”.
So we did.

Amazon Prime vs Netflix

OK, it’s pretty simple. Much like many on line evaluations / comparisons: Netflix whoops Amazon prime’s ass, Period, full stop. There is zero reason to purchase it as long as Netflix exists, OK… So we got it “for free” given the buying / shipping costs, ok… Not judging, much… It does have some good stuff on it, but they like to practice “tease and upsell”, so you get 1 season of something, then a pitch to buy the rest. You CAN buy specialty things like HBO and Showtime, but at an added price. Since for cheap Netflix gives us 90% of what we want to watch, and typically all seasons of any series they have, and Pluto (free with commercials) and the Roku (mostly for news for me) fill in the rest, it really doesn’t add much worth buying, for us.

With that said, there ARE a lot of movies and TV shows to choose from, just watch out for the upsell… I found about a dozen movies on a first pass that I’ve added to our “watch list” (including 9 Star Trek movies…) and a half dozen TV series. Since we’re getting it essentially for free, as a sunk cost in the shipping buy-down, I’m happy with that.

So, exploring Amazon Prime TV, I ran into a movie about The Doors staring Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison.


A 1991 movie about The Doors.

The story of the famous and influential 1960s rock band The Doors and its lead singer and composer, Jim Morrison, from his days as a UCLA film student in Los Angeles, to his untimely death in Paris, France at age 27 in 1971.
Director: Oliver Stone
Writers: Randall Jahnson (as J. Randal Johnson), Oliver Stone
Stars: Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan, Kyle MacLachlan | See full cast & crew »

So, of course, I watched it…

Now it came as a bit of shock to me that The Doors, who pretty much set the tone for my college years, had suffered the death of their major lead, Jim Morrison, when I was finishing High School. Well, OK, I can accept that. My Farm Town was a few years behind the average in most years, and I was concentrated on graduation and college anyway and, being a Geek, was not watching popular culture much anyway…

So NOW I realize that here’s a dude who died at 27, has more cultural impact than I ever will, and I didn’t really notice at the time. Only really paying attention a good 46 years after the fact.

So I guess it isn’t too late to realize my cultural roots…

Now for folks of “a certain age”, The Doors pretty much marks a reality frame. I was young enough that I really only absorbed it by proxy. It turns out, Jim Morrison died as I finished High School. I never really realized that until now. In college his “stuff” still reached out to me. I had no idea he was already dead by then. Now, a good 45+ years after his passing, I finally realize he’s gone…

OK, I guess…

So the movie is good. Worth all the {nothing} we paid for it…

The story line is interesting, The acting is good and the performance believable. Given that it spans such a rapid rise, and end, in a turbulent time. I was happy to learn what I’d never known of that life.

So where does that leave me? Missing someone who died before I realized I cared. Looking in a mirror of 45 years retro view… Wondering how he could do more in 27 years than I have done in 64. Realizing that one movie is “enough” to make Amazon Video “worth it” (especially given that we didn’t have a clue about the video bit when signing up for prime shipping…)

If there is one iconic sound that makes the late ’60s early ’70s a “thing”, it is The Doors…. Riders On The Storm. L.A. Woman. Break on Through (to the other side). Touch Me. People Are Strange. So many iconic things that “make me who I am”. Gone before I knew they were a thing, yet with me to today…

Only now understanding that point…. Time. Truly the “fire in which we all burn”…

Speaking of Fire

The 4th of July BBQ was a mix of polish sausage and lamb chops, cooked on the POB grill:


or something close to it… No wind, so I didn’t use the “damper bricks” and with bits of Manzanita wood it lit well and made coals easily. Only had 3 air holes, two small on the sides and one along the front edge where I could stuff in more wood if needed, which wasn’t needed. I found I was out of Propane for the big grill, so just tossed the POB one together in about 2 minutes. (Some time back I got a nice sized Weber gas grill that was left behind when someone sold and moved out. But it seems to have a leak somewhere that slowly empties the tank if you don’t shut it off at the tank. Takes weeks, but…)

Well, it all tastes better smoked anyhow… and “free” was better than trying to buy $20 of propane on the 4th…

Can’t think of a much better way to spend a holiday than wood smoked BBQ and The Doors…

Subscribe to feed

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Human Interest and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Jim Morrison, Val Kilmer, The Doors, Amazon, and 1971, who knew

  1. pearce m. schaudies says:

    About 20 yrs ago here in Bangkok, I had a DJ Gig at a little open air bar for 6 to midnight every day. For this I was paid two bowls of rice and three beers. Jim Morrison song that I loved was Break On Through To The Other Side. I played that at least two times every night and it was always a hit with the expats and tourist. those were the days my friend haha. I also did not know about Jim Morrison until I got to Bangkok.

    Minister of Future

  2. Julian Jones says:

    Many thanks EM : Time is truly the “fire in which we all burn”… how to use it best ?

    But what ‘fire’ apparently burned within Morrison (like a few others Lennon, Hendrix and so on) to inspire such brief, but influential and spectacular work ? Inspiration and intuition like this needs some understanding – these figures cast a bigger shadow over western society than most if not all politicians. Was it ‘just’ the narcotics these guys took ?

  3. philjourdan says:

    I had an older sister who had a mission to try every drug she could. So I was well aware of Morrison’s passing at the time (Hendrix, Joplin – she was sure it was a conspiracy).

    But you are right. They were the best! And would be my favorite if Morrison had not died. (Zeplin is my favorite along with the Moody Blues).

  4. spetzer86 says:

    Netflix not bad, but for full seasons of most things you need to have both streaming and DVD accounts. Just sayin’.

  5. Lynn Clark says:

    How could you not mention their (IMO) best song — well, certainly most popular — Light My Fire, especially the “real” (long, album) version, not the shortened “radio” version. ;-)

    I’m about a year older than you and was heavy into prog rock back then, but also kept up with top-40 stuff, so was well aware of Morrison’s passing at the time. Such a shame to lose a talent like his at such a young age. The Doors wikipedia page says they released eight albums in four years (1967-1971), “all but one of which hit the top 10…and went platinum or better”. That, I didn’t know. Their self-titled debut album is in my iTunes library. Looking at the track list I count seven* (of fourteen) tracks that most people of our generation would immediately recognize. Most bands go through their entire careers without having that many recognizable songs.

    Break On Through (To the Other Side)
    The Crystal Ship
    Twentieth Century Fox
    Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)
    Light My Fire
    Back Door Man
    The End

  6. Lynn Clark says:

    I subscribed to Netflix for a few years (cancelled it when they changed the UI that made it too difficult to use the “movies I want to watch” list (can’t remember what it was actually called; wish list?). One of the best things about Netflix is its extensive catalog of foreign movies, specifically Chinese, Japanese and Korean. I had no idea those countries were capable of producing such great movies. Here’s a list of my favorites in case anyone is interested (Chinese unless otherwise noted):

    – Aftershock (made to memorialize the 250,000+ people who died in the 1976 Tangshan earthquake; keep a full box of kleenex close by; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1976_Tangshan_earthquake)
    – Chinese Odyssey 2002 (featuring four of China’s biggest stars in a parody of all that is medieval China)
    – Curse of the Golden Flower (a story of power, intrigue and incest, with stunning visuals and epic battle scenes; starring China’s Meryl Streep: Li Gong)
    – House of Flying Daggers (stunning visuals, ninja)
    – If You Are The One (Romantic comedy)
    – If You Are The One 2 (sequel)
    – Innocent Steps (Korean romantic comedy; it will help to understand the storyline that in the movie the female lead is ethnic Korean from China)
    – Kabei Our Mother (Japanese)
    – Mao’s Last Dancer (a true story about a poor country boy who becomes a ballet dancer)
    – My Little Bride (Korean romantic comedy with the same adorable female lead as Innocent Steps)
    – My Sassy Girl (Korean comedy)
    – Not One Less (with no professional actors; made to draw attention to the problems of educating poor country kids in China; kleenex recommended)
    – Raise the Red Lantern (a story of the life of a concubine, with Li Gong)
    – Red Cliff (epic historical drama/action movie; the full, two-part version recommended)
    – The Good, The Bad, The Weird (Korean parody action movie)
    – The Road Home (A love story, kleenex recommended)
    – The Story of Qiu Ju (with Li Gong, a story of a woman who refuses to give up in her efforts to preserve her husband’s honor)
    – Tuya’s Marriage (set in Mongolia, a story about a woman who has to make a difficult choice in order to get her husband the medical care he desperately needs)
    – What Women Want (Chinese version of the American movie, starring Li Gong)

    A side benefit of many of these movies is that they open a window into Chinese/Korean/Japanese culture for cloistered Americans. ;-)

  7. John Silver says:

    Ach, Schadenfreude, mon amour.

    ”Mann’s now proven contempt of court means Ball is entitled to have the court serve upon Mann the fullest punishment.”

  8. Zeke says:

    As noted, a lot of the rock stars of that era died of drug overdoses, and more than a few were mentally incapacitated for life. For example, the first singer for Pink Floyd was permanently impaired by LSD. I did listen to the Doors a lot in high school, after a punk rock phase. I read the biography, tracked down his poetry, loaned out his 33 LPs, etc.. This also led me to other reading about figures like Abby Hoffman and I recall reading Hunter S Thompson.

    Hunter S came up the other day and my kids asked me about it. I said that I had read Hate n Discontent. They looked at me and said, “You actually read that? Are you serious?” I told them I didn’t remember very much of it, and that I thought it was about the Democratic Convention in Las Vegas or something, and there was a lot of cussing. They told me “It’s all drug references. It’s just a garbage paperback.” So I told them I remember having to force myself to like it. (: It was kind of ugly. So it wasn’t just the Doors for me. It was the package. Fear and loathing of America and Western Culture. At that age, I had never met anyone who had any affection for this country.

    Glad every one enjoyed the day. We watched several of the neighbor’s thousand-dollar firework displays. Didn’t cook anything yay

  9. Jeff says:

    Tom Lehrer (math prof at UC Santa Cruz, and well-known political satirist in his spare time :) ) once said “It is a sobering thought, for example, that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years.” (introduction to the song “Alma” from “An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer).
    He wrote many of the songs for TW3 (“That Was The Week That Was”).

    His “Elements” song is brilliant (sung to a Gilbert and Sullivan melody), as are many others
    (e.g. “Pollution” – “the breakfast garbage you throw into the bay, they drink at lunch in San Jose”
    [he penned those lines before “The Valley” eclipsed “The City”] ).

  10. Alexander K says:

    EM, I am a little further along than you, well into my eighth decade, and I have to confess that, first time around, I wondered what the fuss about the Beatles was all about when they visited NZ! I am in awe of them now, musically speaking. but in those days I was too busy working and racing cars to look up or turn the radio on! I loved Tom Lehrer at first hearing.

  11. Steve C says:

    There was a lot of weird stuff happening back then which we didn’t seem to notice at the time. If you haven’t read Dave McGowan’s findings from about a decade ago, you should. Made me sit up a few times (pdf):
    Inside the LC: The Strange but Mostly True Story of Laurel Canyon and the Birth of the Hippie Generation

  12. John Howard says:

    I had forgotten just how many great songs they had in a rather short period of time… and the impact on our young impressionable minds. Just where are all of my hippie friends these days and how did they fare in life. When I got out of the military, I never returned to the sex and drugs. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  13. Zeke says:

    Jeff says: Tom Lehrer

    My favorite Tom Lehrer song is Werner Von Braun, dur 1:45

    It wasn’t just one of them. There were thousands of n zi s imported into the US and given positions in Universities, research departments and agencies.

    It does tie in, although tangentially, with Steve C’s recommended reading, which is about the hippie movement in Laurel Canyon. Most of the hippie rock stars had navy or military parents, lived there, and were using the fully equipped film and recording studio that was owned by the military. In short, it was a top-down cultural transformation.

  14. Zeke says:

    After WWII, the successful OSS intelligence service was disbanded and replaced by the CIA, which was largely made up of Na zis. ref: Britannica

    Now slowly but surely, the power of that agency in the media, entertainment, and drug sales in the US is coming to light. For example:

    Julian Assange‏ @JulianAssange Jun 28

    Here’s Gloria Steinem talking about her work as a CIA agent [later she dated Kissinger during his Nixon appointment]

  15. beththeserf says:

    Musica! XTC.

    … and Yacht Dance. Mmm.

  16. M Simon says:

    Julian Jones,

    Take LSD and see.

    A direct threat to the churches because under the right circumstances it was a religious experience in a pill. So many who took it with religion in mind described the result as being born again.

    Making it illegal gave it quite a bit of free publicity.

    MAPS is doing official research in the area of using psychedelics for psychotherapy. Which was how Leary got his start with the drug. I have heard it described as “dropping the brain filters that have grown from experience.” For people with PTSD those filters are often not helpful.

    Look up Kerry Mullis (discover of PCR) LSD. Kerry got a Nobel Prize for PCR. LSD supposedly helped with that discovery.

    So when will this go mainstream? Here is a clue.

    “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” – Max Planck

  17. M Simon says:


    To deepen your understanding of the CIA/drug connection here is something I wrote a year ago.

    The Trillion Dollar A Year Scam

    Here is a good bit on opiate addiction –>

    Addiction doc says: It’s not the drugs. It’s the ACEs – adverse childhood experiences

    I have been saying that for over 12 years.

    People in chronic pain chronically take pain relievers.

    So why are we making war on abused kids? A lot of it has to do (in the West) with Christian Morality. As the evidence becomes more widely known kids are dropping Christianity. Very clever those Christians. Especially the focusing of the war on kids in their formative years. It turned a lot of them into Democrats. Doubly clever.

    A country can probably get away with making 1% of the population scapegoats. But 10%? And after 45 years that 10% (at any one time) is now verging on 40% to 50%.

    Republicans were the last hold outs in favor of alcohol prohibition. Talk about learning from history. BTTIID. (But This Time It Is Different)

  18. M Simon says:


    My claim to fame: I designed the I/O Board that went into the world’s first BBS. I also helped a bit with the hardware/software interface (8080 assembly language). I didn’t think it was going anywhere. But I was into helping people do what they wanted to do. Lucky me.

    No one ever cheered me – that I’m aware of. Me and Jim were born in 1944. The Silent Generation. Heh.

  19. llanfar says:

    ‘Julian Jones,

    Take LSD and see.’

    Please don’t. Far and away the worst drug experience in my life. Infinitely worse than bed spins. Synesthesia sucks.

  20. cdquarles says:

    LSD, lysergic acid diethylamide. A ‘natural’ agonist for serotonin receptors, found in moldy rye but can also be found in other fermentations. Likely one cause of the old witch hunts. Ergot poisoning or even serotonin poisoning from internal overproduction is not, necessarily, a good thing. When someone is deficient, it may be a good thing when done using pure chemicals and under strict dose monitoring.

  21. Lynn Clark says:

    The 10-minute 1998 NPR interview of Doors pianist Ray Manzarek at the following link is well worth a listen. In it, he discusses how Light My Fire was written.


  22. M Simon says:


    It is not really synesthesia. It is a lowering of the filters the brain has built to make sense of the environment. You are literally “born again” (for a while). I can see where apprehending the signals with no filters would be rough. But it also has advantages if you want to adjust those filters.

    Leary found it useful for the treatment of alcoholism. Which is another name for PTSD.

    I have memories of chasing butterflies at age 4. Also fireflies. Much different that now. But repeating those movements (as best I can) in the presence of butterflies brings me back to those old memories.

Comments are closed.