In my senior year of high school, The Doors played a show in the school gym in the afternoon. This was Cleveland High, in the city of Reseda, CA., in the San Fernando Valley.

Other groups played there, like The Strawberry Alarm Clock, Flo and Eddie, and a few more, but nobody as big as The Doors.

“Light My Fire” was out and a big hit. I wondered how our school was able to afford to book them. Later, I found out that two girls in school whose fathers were in the music business helped to get them booked. Those same two girls were famous for getting backstage at shows like the Rolling Stones at the Sports Arena in 1965, etc.

I almost missed the show because I had left the school grounds at lunch. I had to go to detention until the show started, so I had to argue to even go, but I had paid for a ticket, and it was a show for seniors only.

I was taking photo classes at the time, so I loaded my camera and sat on the bottom steps of the bleachers nearest the band.

When the show started, my girlfriend Linda and I were the only two people on the gym floor taking pictures. I remember a funny thing that happened between Jim and Linda. Jim had a microphone with a very long cord, and as Linda was trying to focus her camera, Jim started walking toward her, and she just kept backing up. He followed her all over the place. People were laughing at the whole thing.

There was some kind of commotion in the corner with some girls and Jim, I think they tried to kiss him. I got a shot of that, too.

They played for about 45 minutes or maybe an hour. I remember they played Light My Fire, and they played the long version! They also played Break On Through, The Crystal Ship, and I Looked At You, but I don’t recall the rest of the songs they did.

But one very strange song they did—well, strange for The Doors—was “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher. I couldn’t believe it. There was Jim wearing all black, singing that bubble gum song. It was very odd.

I was just thinking I wish they had played “The End.” I wonder if the VP would have let them play that song. I was always told that song was about Charlie Manson and the murders, but that’s wrong; they didn’t happen until ‘69. But I’ve read that Jim knew Manson. I met Charlie and Tex once in 1986, but that’s a different story.

Anyway, I was using a twin-lens reflex camera, the kind where you had to look down into the viewfinder to focus. It didn’t have any sort of zoom or telephoto lens, so I had to get up close for most of my shots, The same goes for Linda; she was using one, too. That made it kind of uncomfortable for me, and I didn’t want to ruin it for the rest of the students by getting in the way. I wish I had had a video camera back then.

This was a major thrill for me; I loved The Doors.

One thing I learned a few years later was that the members of the band had been caught smoking pot outside the gym before the show, and the VP busted them. She was an ex-Marine. A really tough old bird. Anyway, she let the show go on, but after the show, she had them arrested by the LAPD. That's all I know about that.

~Don Johnson


Break On Through
The Crystal Ship
I Looked At You
I Got You, Babe
Light My Fire

Editors Note: We are trying to verify the exact date that this show occurred. If you attended this concert and can help us, please contact The Doors' Archivist at Thank you!


Jim Morrison

Girls rushing the stage!

John Densmore

Ray Manzarek

The Doors!

Photos of The Doors at Grover Cleveland High courtesy of Don Johnson


Download today from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store