Sept 28, 1963: Jim Morrison’s First Arrest

Jim Morrison's first arrest

It was Jim Morrison’s first and least documented arrest, and the first of many mug shots that would come in Jim Morrison’s life.

It started, as a lot of junior college escapades do, without any anticipation or intention that anything is going to happen, just a good time. However, it turns out to be an adventure that you would tell your children. Morrison and some friends were on their way to a Saturday afternoon football game, and the seasons are starting to change. It was a cool fall afternoon, and a little bit of rain was in the air. Morrison and his friends got drunk on wine, and on the way to the game Jim engaged one of his friends in a mock sword fight with the umbrellas they were carrying. Morrison saw a cop’s helmet sitting in an unattended patrol car and took it, which unsurprisingly drew the attention of the police. Morrison was arrested, put in handcuffs and in the ensuing confusion caused by his friends trying to intercede, Morrison attempted an escape. He was re-apprehended and charged with petty larceny, public drunkenness, disturbing the peace, and resisting arrest.

The arrest and its consequences must have scared Morrison to some degree because the next day he went to a teacher he trusted and asked for his help. The teacher accompanied Morrison to a barber shop, went with him to buy a suit, went to court with him and later called the dean of students on Morrison’s behalf. As a result Morrison only received probation from the university.

This of course would not be Morrison’s first arrest and it does show some patterns developing in Morrison’s behavior. In a later L.A. arrest Morrison would be charged with stealing another policeman’s hat. In concerts Morrison would take a cop’s hat off and sail it into the audience.

It’s hard to read a mug shot. What is the person thinking? Is he mad? Is there a rebellious smirk on their face? Are they embarrassed? Morrison, in his September 28, 1963, mug shot has short hair. He isn’t the lithe rock star of the mug shots in December 1967 with a hint of a smile on his face, or the bearded Jim Morrison that will come from his Miami 1969 booking. All that is still in Morrison’s future.

Source: No One Here Gets Out Alive by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman.

Originally published September 28, 2013. This article appears in “The Doors Examined”.

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