Jim Morrison and the Doors in History for April
Explore Jim Morrison and the Doors in a unique timing and the cultural, social, historical and political events which led up to that time.


1783 - After receiving a copy of the provisional treaty on March 13, the U.S. Congress proclaims a formal end to hostilities with Great Britain.

1803 - In one of the great surprises in diplomatic history, French Foreign Minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand makes an offer to sell all of the Louisiana Territory to the United States.

1814 - Napoleon is forced to abdicate his throne after the allied European nations marched into Paris on March 30th. He is banished to the island of Elba.

1905 - George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion opens at His Majesty's Theatre in London with Herbert Beerbohm Tree as Higgins and Mrs. Patrick Campbell as Eliza, on the eve of Shaw's 15th anniversary of corresponding with the actress.

1915 - The Tramp, Charlie Chaplin's third film and first comic masterpiece, is released. Chaplin had first created the appealing "Little Tramp" character the previous year in Kid Auto Races at Venice. In The Tramp, he refined the character and added his signature waddle. The endearing figure, with his bowler hat, baggy suit, and expression of hapless innocence, came to be Chaplin's trademark. Among the most popular of the many films featuring the "Little Tramp" were Easy Street (1917), The Kid (1921), and City Lights (1931).

Chaplin, one of the most financially successful stars of early Hollywood, and the son of London music hall entertainers was introduced to the stage when he was five. Chaplin co-founded United Artists Corporation in 1919 with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and director D.W. Griffith. Chaplin would marry four times. His fourth wife, Oona O'Neill, who was 18 when she married the 54-year-old actor, was the daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill. Though he had lived in the United States for 42 years, Chaplin never became a U.S. citizen. A vocal pacifist, Chaplin was accused of communist ties, which he denied. Nevertheless, in 1952, immigration officials prevented Chaplin and his wife from re-entering the United States after a foreign tour. The couple did not return to the United States for 20 years; instead they settled in Switzerland with their eight children. Chaplin returned to America in 1972 to accept a special Academy Award for "The incalculable effect he has had on making motion pictures the art form of this century." He was knighted Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin in 1975 and died two years later.

1917 - Composer Scott Joplin, the "King of Ragtime," dies on this day in 1917. Born in Texarkana, Arkansas, in 1868, Joplin became a well-known pianist in Chicago and St. Louis in the 1890s. His Maple Leaf Rag of 1899 launched a national craze for ragtime music, and he composed many other popular ragtime songs, including The Entertainer.

1931 - John O'Hara, American novelist and short-story writer whose sparingly styled fiction stands as a social history of upwardly mobile Americans from the 1920s through the 1940s, dies in Princeton, New Jersey. Many of his best-selling novels were adapted for stage and screen, including the popular Butterfield 8 and From the Terrace.

1933 - Dorothy Parker steps down as drama critic for The New Yorker, ending a self-described 'Reign of Terror.'

The funny, sophisticated Parker symbolized the Roaring Twenties in New York for many readers. In 1917, she starts work at the stylish Vanity Fair, where she would become close friends with Robert Benchley, the managing editor, and Robert Sherwood, the drama critic. The three became the core of the famous Algonquin Round Table, an ad hoc group of newspaper and magazine writers, playwrights, and performers who lunched regularly at the Algonquin Hotel and tried to outshine each other in brilliant conversation and witty wisecracks. Parker, known as the quickest tongue among them, became the frequent subject of gossip columns as a prototypical young New Yorker enjoying the freedom of the 1920s

Parker lost her job at Vanity Fair in 1919 because her reviews were too harsh. She began writing reviews for The New Yorker, as well as publishing her own work. Despite her carefree reputation, Parker was cynical and depressed, and tried to kill herself twice.

In 1933, she married actor Alan Campbell, moved to Hollywood, and became a screenwriter. Parker collaborated on more than 20 screenplays, including A Star Is Born (1937) and its remake in 1954. She and Campbell divorced in 1947 but remarried in 1950. The outspoken Parker embraced radical politics, taking a stand against fascism and supporting communism. Although she never joined the Communist Party, she and Campbell were blacklisted from Hollywood during the McCarthy-era House Un-American Activities Committee hearings and never worked in film again. Parker died in 1967.

1935 - Richard Berry is born in Extension, La. He originally wrote and recorded the controversial frat anthem Louie Louie, which became one of the most-covered songs in rock.

1945 - The American Third Army liberates the Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar, Germany, a camp that will be judged second only to Auschwitz in the horrors it imposed on its prisoners.

1947 - Jackie Robinson becomes the first black player in major-league history when he plays in an exhibition game for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

1951 - In perhaps the most famous civilian-military confrontation in the history of the United States, President Harry S. Truman relieves General Douglas MacArthur of command of the U.S. forces in Korea. The firing of MacArthur set off a brief uproar among the American public, but Truman remained committed to keeping the conflict in Korea a "limited war."

1956 - Elvis Presley has his first No. 1 record with Heartbreak Hotel. On the same day, his plane almost crashes as it flies from Los Angeles to Nashville.

1961 - Bob Dylan makes his New York City stage debut at Gerde's Folk City, a small Greenwich Village club, opening for bluesman John Lee Hooker. Dylan introduces his new material, including Blowing in the Wind.

1965 - Both the Beatles and Rolling Stones perform at the New Musical Expresss poll winners' concert in London. Also performing are Freddie and the Dreamers, the Animals, Kinks, Searchers, Seekers, Herman's Hermits, Moody Blues, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Donovan, Them, Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield and Tom Jones.

1966 - Howlin' Wolf is in the studio with his great sidekick Hubert Sumlin, to record the new Crawlin Kingsnake which is released as a Chess single 1928.

1966 - Frank Sinatra cuts Strangers in the Night.

1966 - NBC broadcasts the last episode of Hullabaloo which features Paul Anka, Lesley Gore, Peter and Gordon and the Cyrkle. The show started in January 1965, a year after ABC came up with Shindig!

1968 - The Doors headline at Superball at The Kaleidoscope. This show is a benefit for the KPPC-FM (Pasadena, CA) strike fund. Although it is a somewhat restrained night for the band, they end with Jim Morrison's highly anticipated Celebration of the Lizard, which draws to a conclusion with several female admirers crumpled at the front of the stage. Also performing are Traffic, Canned Heat, and Bo Diddley among others.

1968 - Janis Joplin and Big Brother & the Holding Company perform on ABC's Hollywood Palace.

1968 - President Lyndon Johnson signs into law the Civil Rights Act of 1968, a week after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

1970- The Doors are scheduled to perform at The Salt Palace, Salt Lake City. The manager of The Salt Palace, Earl Durea flew to Boston to witness the previous evening's concert. He was present during the second show when the power was disconnected, and based on his observations, The Salt Palace board of directors decides to cancel this evening's performance.

1970 - NASA launches lunar mission Apollo 13 from the Kennedy Space Center. The first two days are uneventful, but 56 hours into the mission, the crew hears a sharp bang and feels a vibration. Astronaut James Lovell looks out a window and sees that something — a gas — is leaking into space. It turned out that an oxygen tank had exploded, and there was a leak in the second tank. The mission was aborted in order to get the three astronauts home safely. They jerryrigged systems with plastic bags, cardboard and tape to survive. The return trip took 85 hours; it got as cold as 38 degrees in the capsule, but they got home safely, immortalizing the phrase, "Houston, we have a problem."

1974 - The Judiciary committee subpoenas U.S. President Richard Nixon to produce tapes for impeachment inquiry.

1976 - Alice Cooper is placed under house arrest in Australia. A Sydney promoter claims he's owed $59,000 for a 1975 Australian tour Cooper agreed on but never showed up for. The two come to an arrangement after it's revealed the promoter failed to live up to his end of the agreement.

1983 - There are so many outstanding films in 1982, that the members of the Academy must have had a real struggle making up their minds in time for this night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. Somehow, decisions were made and the 55th Annual Academy Awards ceremonies proceed with hosts Liza Minnelli, Dudley Moore, Richard Pryor, and Walter Matthau. Those who voted for Best Picture had to choose between E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Missing, Tootsie, The Verdict and Gandhi. Gandhi is the winner of this Oscar and seven more including Best Director Richard Attenborough.

1988 - Cher is sure moonstruck at this, the 60th Annual Academy Awards at LA’s Shrine Auditorium. And well she should be. After all, she wins the Oscar for Best Actress for her rolw in Moonstruck, over the likes of Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Sally Kirkland, and Holly Hunter. Moonstruck strikes gold again as Olympia Dukakis picked up the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and John Patrick Shanley won for Best Writing/Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. Almost all of the other awards (9) that evening are won by The Last Emperor, including Best Picture and Best Director for Bernardo Bertolucci.

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