Dateline: January 28, 1968 Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors arrested in Las Vegas with author Robert Gover.
In 1967, author Robert Gover got a call from the editor of The New York Times Magazine asking him if he’d like to write an article about an up and coming rock band called The Doors and their lead singer Jim Morrison. The magazine’s editor wanted an angle that Morrison was a creation of the Hollywood hype machine Gover took the assignment and met with Morrison. However, after meeting Morrison he knew the editors angle on the story was wrong and the editors rejected the unbiased story Gover turned in. He and Morrison became friends. Morrison would drop by Gover’s house on the beach at all hours of the day or night, crashing on a couch, reading over Gover’s shoulder as he wrote, engaging in philosophical conversations, and Morrison suggesting that he write a screenplay of Gover’s novel “The Maniac Responsible” that Morrison would also star in and direct. At the time the novel was already optioned to a producer and nothing more came of it.
On one of his visits to Morrison said he’d never been to Las Vegas, so Gover volunteered to give Jim the tour of Vegas, including dinner and a show. Little did Gover know Morrison was going to be the show. Gover took his girlfriend Beverly along and Jim was supposed to bring Pam Courson. Prior to leaving Jim and Pam got into an argument and the group went to Vegas without Courson. Dinner in Vegas was uneventful and afterward their party headed to a club called The Pussycat, in the club’s parking lot Morrison lit a cigarette and in a bit of “method acting” smoked it like a joint. One of the bouncers seeing a racially mixed group with a couple of “longhairs,” one of whom seemed to be smoking a joint pulled a billyclub and hit Morrison over the head, and was bleeding from the wound either stunned or weirdly mollified Morrison leaned against the wall of the building continuing to smoke the cigarette. Gover tried to intervene and the club’s security people called the police. Upon their arrival the police saw a bleeding Morrison and arrested him. They also arrested Gover on the general principle that since he also had long hair he should be arrested. During the ride to the police station Morrison’s demons started kicking in and he started baiting the police calling them “the ugliest motherf**kers he’d ever seen.” Morrison wouldn’t stop even after one of the cops threatened “a date” after their shift was over, a not so subtle euphemism for being worked over. After booking, Morrison’s behavior didn’t abate and maybe got worse, with Morrison literally climbing the walls of the cell. Luckily, Gover’s girlfriend bailed them out before the end of the cop’s shift.
Gover lost touch with Morrison after Jim asked him to accompany The Doors on their European tour in ‘68 to document it for a book. With a novel to finish, Gover took a pass and a disappointed Morrison sent the copy of “The Maniac Responsible” back to Gover without a note. He never heard from Morrison again.
Those are the facts of the story that have been related in various books including Gover’s own “A Hell of a way to Peddle Poems” which appeared in Frank Lisciandro’s “An Hour for Magic.” Last year Robert Gover was kind enough to write for The Doors Examiner a short article that I titled “Robert Gover Remembers Jim Morrison.”
Robert Gover is the author of “The $100 Misunderstanding,” the more recent “Two Brothers” and he writes a blog on Astrology and the Economy.
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