Dorothy Parker was an American poet, writer and satirist based in New York. From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary works published in such magazines as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table. Following the breakup of the circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting, her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were curtailed when her involvement in left-wing politics resulted in her being placed on the Hollywood blacklist. Dismissive of her own talents, she deplored her reputation as a "wisecracker". Both her literary output and reputation for sharp wit have endured. Known as Dot or Dottie, Parker was born Dorothy Rothschild in 1893 to Jacob Henry and Eliza Annie Rothschild at 732 Ocean Avenue in Long Branch, New Jersey, her parents had a summer beach cottage there. Dorothy's mother was of Scottish descent, her father was of German Jewish descent. Parker wrote in her essay "My Hometown" that her parents returned to their Manhattan apartment shortly after Labor Day so that she could be called a true New Yorker.
Her mother died in West End in July 1898, a month before Parker's fifth birthday. Her father remarried in 1900 to Eleanor Frances Lewis. Parker hated her father, she grew up on the Upper West Side and attended a Roman Catholic elementary school at the Convent of the Blessed Sacrament on West 79th Street with sister Helen, although their father was Jewish and her stepmother was Protestant. Parker once joked that she was asked to leave following her characterization of the Immaculate Conception as "spontaneous combustion", her stepmother died in 1903. Parker attended Miss Dana's School, a finishing school in Morristown, New Jersey, she graduated from Miss Dana's School in 1911, at the age of 18. Following her father's death in 1913, she played piano at a dancing school to earn a living while she worked on her poetry. Dorothy Rothschild sold her first poem to Vanity Fair magazine in 1914 and some months was hired as an editorial assistant for Vogue, another Condé Nast magazine, she moved to Vanity Fair as a staff writer after two years at Vogue.
In 1917, she met and married a Wall Street stockbroker, Edwin Pond Parker II, but they were soon separated by his army service in World War I. She had ambivalent feelings about her Jewish heritage and joked that she married to escape her name. Parker's career took off in 1918 while she was writing theatre criticism for Vanity Fair, filling in for the vacationing P. G. Wodehouse. At the magazine, she met Robert Benchley, who became a close friend, Robert E. Sherwood; the trio began lunching at the Algonquin Hotel on a near-daily basis and became founding members of what became known as the Algonquin Round Table. The Round Table numbered among its members the newspaper columnists Franklin Pierce Adams and Alexander Woollcott. Through their publication of Parker's lunchtime remarks and short verses in Adams' column "The Conning Tower", Dorothy began developing a national reputation as a wit; when the group was informed that famously taciturn former president Calvin Coolidge had died, Parker remarked, "How could they tell?"Parker's caustic wit as a critic proved popular, but she was dismissed by Vanity Fair in 1920 after her criticisms too offended powerful producers.
In solidarity, both Benchley and Sherwood resigned in protest. She soon started working for Ainslee's Magazine, she published pieces in Vanity Fair, happier to publish her than employ her, The Smart Set, The American Mercury, but in the popular Ladies’ Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post, Life. When Harold Ross founded The New Yorker in 1925, Parker and Benchley were part of a board of editors established by Ross to allay concerns of his investors. Parker's first piece for the magazine was published in its second issue. Parker became famous for her short, viciously humorous poems, many highlighting ludicrous aspects of her many romantic affairs and others wistfully considering the appeal of suicide; the next 15 years were Parker's greatest period of success. In the 1920s alone she published some 300 poems and free verses in Vanity Fair, Vogue, "The Conning Tower" and The New Yorker as well as Life, McCall's and The New Republic. Parker published her first volume of poetry, Enough Rope, in 1926.
The collection garnered impressive reviews. The Nation described her verse as "caked with a salty humor, rough with splinters of disillusion, tarred with a bright black authenticity". Although some critics, notably The New York Times reviewer, dismissed her work as "flapper verse", the volume helped affirm Parker's reputation for sparkling wit. Parker released two more volumes of verse, Sunset Gun and Death and Taxes, along with the short story collections Laments for the Living and After Such Pleasures. Not So Deep as a Well collected much of the material published in Rope and Death and she re-released her fiction with a few new pieces in 1939 under the title Here Lies, she collaborated with playwright Elmer Rice to create Close Harmony, which ran on Broadway in December 1924. The play was well received in out-of-town previews and was favorably reviewed in New York but it closed after a run of just 24 performances, it d
The Sunset Tower Hotel known as The St. James's Club, The Argyle, is a historic building and hotel located on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California. Designed in 1929 by architect Leland A. Bryant, opened in 1931, it is considered one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the Los Angeles area. In its early years, it was the residence of many Hollywood celebrities, including John Wayne and Howard Hughes. After a period of decline in the early 1980s, the building was renovated and has been operated as a luxury hotel under the names The St. James's Club, The Argyle, most the Sunset Tower Hotel; the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The art deco Sunset Tower is considered one of the finest examples of the Streamline Moderne form of Art Deco architecture in Southern California. In their guide to Los Angeles architecture, David Gebhard and Robert Winter wrote that "this tower is a first class monument of the Zig Zag Moderne and as much an emblem of Hollywood as the Hollywood sign."
It is situated in a commanding location on the Sunset Strip with views of the city and is decorated with plaster friezes of plants, zeppelins, mythological creatures and Adam and Eve. Operated as a luxury apartment hotel, it was one of the first high-rise reinforced concrete buildings in California; when it was completed in August 1931 at a cost of $750,000, the Los Angeles Times reported: "What is described to be the tallest apartment-house in Los Angeles County, rising 15 stories or 195 feet, was completed last week at Kings Road and Sunset Boulevard by W. I. Moffett, general contractor, for E. M. Fleming, owner." Marketing the building to Hollywood celebrities, an advertisement in the February 1938 issue of the Screen Actors Guild magazine read: "Faultless in Appointment-The Ultimate in Privacy... Hollywood's Most Distinguished Address." In 1933, the Los Angeles Times ran an article about the trend toward luxurious penthouse apartments in the city and noted that Sunset Tower boasted the city's highest penthouse: "It is the highest in the city and due to the location of the fifteen-story structure that supports it, its tenants live on a level with the tower of the Los Angeles City Hall.
Imagine the view!" John Wayne, Howard Hughes, Frank Sinatra, Jerry Buss and novelist James Wohl lived in the penthouse at different times, Hughes also rented some of the lower apartments for his girlfriends or mistresses. John Wayne once brought a cow up to his penthouse apartment at 3 a.m. telling his party guests who were gathering for coffee that they would have to go directly to the source if they wanted cream. Other former residents include Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Caine, Quincy Jones, Roger Moore, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Billie Burke, Joseph Schenck, Paulette Goddard, Zasu Pitts, George Stevens, Preston Sturges, Carol Kane. In 1944, Bugsy Siegel, described by the Los Angeles Times as a "Hollywood sportsman," was charged with placing bets via long distance in the Sunset Tower apartment of his associate, Allen Smiley. At Smiley's apartment that day were A-list actor George Raft and Siegel's sister's husband, Sol Solloway. Neither Raft nor Solloway was arrested. Siegel called it "a bum rap," and witnesses testified that Siegel and his friends were only playing "a friendly game of gin rummy."
Siegel and Smiley pleaded guilty, paid $250 fines. The building is incorrectly cited as the venue for the "Battle of the Balcony," in August 1944, in which bandleader Tommy Dorsey, Dorsey's wife Patricia Dane and Siegel associate Allen Smiley fought actor Jon Hall on the balcony of Dorsey's apartment; the fight took place down the street at the Sunset Plaza Apartments, where Smiley had moved after his bookmaking arrest at the Sunset Tower in May. Dorsey and Smiley were charged with felonious assault. After a trial, complete with a media circus, charges were dropped on Dec. 7, 1944. In 1947, Truman Capote wrote in a letter: " I am living in a posh establishment, the Sunset Tower, which, or so the local gentry tell me, is where every scandal that happened happened." Others report that the Sunset Tower was "notorious for having the best-kept call girls in Hollywood."The hotel has appeared in several feature films, including the 2003 remake of Freaky Friday, The Italian Job, Get Shorty, The Player and Strange Days.
By 1982, a plan to convert the building to condominiums failed, construction was halted abruptly with residents still living there. The building had deteriorated and was described as "like something from a war-ravaged land." At the time, resident Werner Klemperer said of the building: "Welcome to Beirut West." The building was saved from deterioration and possible demolition when it was purchased in 1985 from architect David Lawrence Gray, FAIA by Peter de Savary who promised to "lovingly restore" the building to its former glory by spending $25 million to convert the building into the first American branch of his luxury hotel chain, the St. James's Club. David Gray's firm handled the historic restoration of this treasure and in 1988, the Los Angeles Conservancy gave the owners an award for their work in preserving the Sunset Tower; the exterior and interior Lighting Design was completed by ex-Disney designers Shawn Barrett, Gary Bell and William Sly. The St. James's Club operated an upscale hotel for several years, popular with celebrities, including David Bowie.
The Lancaster Group purchased the hotel from de Savary in 1992. In 2004, Jeff Klein purchased the hotel. Klein hired designer Paul Fortune to renovate the hotel, adding more modern amenities, restored its original name. In 2006, Toronto's The Globe and Mail reviewed t
Go-go dancers are dancers who are employed to entertain crowds at nightclubs or other venues where music is played. Go-go dancing originated in the early 1960s, by some accounts when women at the Peppermint Lounge in New York City began to get up on tables and dance the twist; some claim that go-go dancing originated at, was named after, the popular Los Angeles rock club Whisky a Go Go which opened in January 1964, but the opposite may be true – the club chose the name to reflect the popular craze of go-go dancing. Many 1960s-era clubgoers wore miniskirts and knee-high, high-heeled boots, which came to be called go-go boots. Night club promoters in the mid‑1960s conceived the idea of hiring women dressed in these outfits to entertain patrons; the term go-go derives from the phrase "go-go-go" for a high-energy person, was influenced by the French expression à gogo, meaning "in abundance, galore", in turn derived from the ancient French word la gogue for "joy, happiness". On 19 June 1964, Carol Doda began go-go dancing topless at the Condor Club on Broadway and Columbus in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco.
She became the world's most famous go-go dancer. Go-go dancers began to be hired on a regular basis at the Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood in the Los Angeles area in July 1965; the Whisky a Go Go was the first go-go club to have go-go cages suspended from the ceiling, thus the profession of cage dancer was born. The phrase go-go was adopted by bars in the 1960s in Japan, it was of lesser reputation until it was abandoned by a majority of clubs and appropriated by burlesque and striptease establishments, which in turn became known as go-go bars and the women working there known as go-go dancers. During the Vietnam War there were many go-go bars in Saigon, South Vietnam, to entertain U. S. troops. A synonym used in Vietnam for go-go dancing is "table dancing". Hullabaloo was a musical variety series that ran on NBC from 12 January 1965 – 29 August 1966; the Hullabaloo Dancers—a team of four men and six women—appeared on a regular basis. Another female dancer, model/actress Lada Edmund, Jr. was best known as the caged "go-go girl" dancer in the Hullabaloo A-Go-Go segment near the closing sequence of the show.
Other dance TV shows during this period such as ABC's Shindig! featured go-go dancers in cages. Sometimes these cages were made of clear plastic with lights strung inside of them. Shivaree, another music show put go-go dancers on scaffolding and on a platform behind the band, performing; each show of the period had a particular method of bringing the go-go dancers into camera view. The tradition of go-go dancers on TV music shows continues around the world, such as the Viva Hotbabes and SexBomb Girls in the Philippines. However, while American shows of the 1960s featured dancers trained in the various choreography used in each show, many modern dancers are not so choreographed. Many gay clubs had male go-go dancers called go-go boys, from 1965 to 1968, after which few gay clubs had go-go dancers until 1988, when go-go dancing again became fashionable at gay clubs. Nowadays, gay male go-go dancers are a lot more popular and common in American culture in bigger cities such as Los Angeles and New York.
In fact, there are more gay go-go dancers than female go-go dancers in today's club scene, a big turnaround from the 1960s. There were many go-go bars in Thailand during the Vietnam War and they continued after the war ended. By the 1980s, Thailand was a leading center for the sex industry and this industry has become a Thailand tourist attraction for males. Many go-go bars are located in Soi Cowboy streets of Bangkok. Not many nightclubs had go-go dancers in the 1970s. However, in the late 1970s, there was a nightclub at 128 West 45th Street in Manhattan, New York City, called G. G. Barnum's Room, patronized by transsexuals, that had male go-go dancers who danced on trapezes above a net over the dance floor. In 1978, the Xenon night club in Manhattan became the first night club to provide go-go boxes for amateur go-go dancers to dance on. In the early 1980s go-go dancing again became popular in New York City clubs inspired by the music of Madonna. Madonna included go-go dancers in her MTV music videos.
By the late 1980s, go-go dancing had spread once more to nightclubs throughout the Western world and East Asia. Today, go-go dancing has found an outlet in mass media. Horrorpops, a Danish band, is known for featuring go-go dancers in their live performances and their music videos; the music video for "Horrorbeach" was dedicated to the band's go-go dancers. Go-go dancers can be employed to enhance a DJ's music mix. In Russia, in the 2013 elections the Civilian Power party put forward four female go-go dancers as candidates for deputies; the City of West Hollywood celebrates the history and culture of go-go dancing by hosting an annual "Go-Go Boy Appreciation Day" that includes a street festival and competition. Go-go dancers that are hired to dance at night clubs, special parties, circuit parties or rave dances in bright, colorful costumes are called performance art dancers, their costumes include accessories such as glow sticks, light chasers, toy ray guns that light up, go-go shorts embedded with battery-operated fiber optic tubes in various colors, strings of battery-operated colored lights in plastic tubes, fire sticks, a
Los Angeles the City of Los Angeles and known by its initials L. A. is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural and commercial center of Southern California; the city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity and the entertainment industry, its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America. Los Angeles is in a large basin bounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and by mountains as high as 10,000 feet on the other; the city proper, which covers about 469 square miles, is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated county in the country. Los Angeles is the principal city of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the second largest in the United States after that of New York City, with a population of 13.1 million. It is part of the Los Angeles-Long Beach combined statistical area the nation's second most populous area with a 2015 estimated population of 18.7 million.
Los Angeles is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States, with a diverse economy in a broad range of professional and cultural fields. Los Angeles is famous as the home of Hollywood, a major center of the world entertainment industry. A global city, it has been ranked 6th in the Global Cities Index and 9th in the Global Economic Power Index; the Los Angeles metropolitan area has a gross metropolitan product of $1.044 trillion, making it the third-largest in the world, after the Tokyo and New York metropolitan areas. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics and will host the event for a third time in 2028; the city hosted the Miss Universe pageant twice, in 1990 and 2006, was one of 9 American cities to host the 1994 FIFA men's soccer World Cup and one of 8 to host the 1999 FIFA women's soccer World Cup, hosting the final match for both tournaments. Home to the Chumash and Tongva, Los Angeles was claimed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo for Spain in 1542 along with the rest of what would become Alta California.
The city was founded on September 4, 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, becoming part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood; the discovery of oil in the 1890s brought rapid growth to the city. The completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, delivering water from Eastern California assured the city's continued rapid growth; the Los Angeles coastal area was settled by the Chumash tribes. A Gabrieleño settlement in the area was called iyáangẚ, meaning "poison oak place". Maritime explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area of southern California for the Spanish Empire in 1542 while on an official military exploring expedition moving north along the Pacific coast from earlier colonizing bases of New Spain in Central and South America.
Gaspar de Portolà and Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí, reached the present site of Los Angeles on August 2, 1769. In 1771, Franciscan friar Junípero Serra directed the building of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, the first mission in the area. On September 4, 1781, a group of forty-four settlers known as "Los Pobladores" founded the pueblo they called El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles,'The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels'; the present-day city has the largest Roman Catholic Archdiocese in the United States. Two-thirds of the Mexican or settlers were mestizo or mulatto, a mixture of African and European ancestry; the settlement remained a small ranch town for decades, but by 1820, the population had increased to about 650 residents. Today, the pueblo is commemorated in the historic district of Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza and Olvera Street, the oldest part of Los Angeles. New Spain achieved its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821, the pueblo continued as a part of Mexico.
During Mexican rule, Governor Pío Pico made Los Angeles Alta California's regional capital. Mexican rule ended during the Mexican–American War: Americans took control from the Californios after a series of battles, culminating with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847. Railroads arrived with the completion of the transcontinental Southern Pacific line to Los Angeles in 1876 and the Santa Fe Railroad in 1885. Petroleum was discovered in the city and surrounding area in 1892, by 1923, the discoveries had helped California become the country's largest oil producer, accounting for about one-quarter of the world's petroleum output. By 1900, the population had grown to more than 102,000; the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, under the supervision of William Mulholland, assured the continued growth of the city. Due to clauses in the city's charter that prevented the City of Los Angeles from selling or providing water from the aqueduct to any area outside its borders, many adjacent city and communities became compelled to annex themselves into Los Angeles.
Los Angeles created the first municipal zoning ordinance in the United States. On September 14, 1908, the Los Angeles City Council promulgated residential and industrial land use zones; the new ordinance established three residential zones of a single type, where industrial uses were
The Byrds were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple lineup changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member. Although they only managed to attain the huge commercial success of contemporaries like the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones for a short period in the mid-1960s, the Byrds are today considered by critics to be nearly as influential as those bands, their signature blend of clear harmony singing and McGuinn's jangly twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar was "absorbed into the vocabulary of rock" and has continued to be influential. The band pioneered the musical genre of folk rock as a popular format in 1965, by melding the influence of the Beatles and other British Invasion bands with contemporary and traditional folk music on their debut album and the hit singles "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn! Turn! Turn!". As the 1960s progressed, the band was influential in originating psychedelic rock and raga rock, with their song "Eight Miles High" and the albums Fifth Dimension, Younger Than Yesterday and The Notorious Byrd Brothers.
They played a pioneering role in the development of country rock, with the 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo representing their fullest immersion into the genre. The original five-piece lineup of the Byrds consisted of Jim McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, Michael Clarke; this version of the band was short-lived. The Byrds continued as a quartet until late 1967, when Crosby and Clarke departed. McGuinn and Hillman decided to recruit new members, including country rock pioneer Gram Parsons, but by late 1968, Hillman and Parsons had exited the band. McGuinn elected to rebuild the band's membership. McGuinn disbanded the then-current lineup in early 1973 to make way for a reunion of the original quintet; the Byrds' final album was released in March 1973, with the reunited group disbanding that year. Several former members of the band went on to successful careers of their own, either as solo artists or as members of such groups as Crosby, Nash & Young, the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Desert Rose Band.
In 1991, the Byrds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an occasion that saw the five original members performing together for the last time. Gene Clark died of a heart attack that year, while Michael Clarke died of liver failure in 1993. McGuinn and Hillman remain active; the nucleus of the Byrds formed in early 1964, when Jim McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby came together as a trio. All three musicians had a background rooted in folk music, with each one having worked as a folk singer on the acoustic coffeehouse circuit during the early 1960s. In addition, they had all served time, independently of each other, as sidemen in various "collegiate folk" groups: McGuinn with the Limeliters and the Chad Mitchell Trio, Clark with the New Christy Minstrels, Crosby with Les Baxter's Balladeers. McGuinn had spent time as a professional songwriter at the Brill Building in New York City, under the tutelage of Bobby Darin. By early 1964, McGuinn had become enamored with the music of the Beatles, had begun to intersperse his solo folk repertoire with acoustic versions of Beatles' songs.
While performing at The Troubadour folk club in Los Angeles, McGuinn was approached by fellow Beatles fan Gene Clark, the pair soon formed a Peter and Gordon-style duo, playing Beatles' covers, Beatlesque renditions of traditional folk songs, some self-penned material. Soon after, David Crosby introduced himself to the duo at The Troubadour and began harmonizing with them on some of their songs. Impressed by the blend of their voices, the three musicians formed a trio and named themselves the Jet Set, a moniker inspired by McGuinn's love of aeronautics. Crosby introduced McGuinn and Clark to his associate Jim Dickson, who had access to World Pacific Studios, where he had been recording demos of Crosby. Sensing the trio's potential, Dickson took on management duties for the group, while his business partner, Eddie Tickner, became the group's accountant and financial manager. Dickson began utilizing World Pacific Studios to record the trio as they honed their craft and perfected their blend of Beatles pop and Bob Dylan-style folk.
It was during the rehearsals at World Pacific that the band's folk rock sound—an amalgam of their own Beatles-influenced material, their folk music roots and their Beatlesque covers of contemporary folk songs—began to coalesce. This blend arose organically, but as rehearsals continued, the band began to attempt to bridge the gap between folk music and rock. Demo recordings made by the Jet Set at World Pacific Studios would be collected on the compilation albums Preflyte, In the Beginning, The Preflyte Sessions and Preflyte Plus. Drummer Michael Clarke was added to the Jet Set in mid-1964. Clarke was recruited due to his good looks and Brian Jones-esque hairstyle, rather than for his musical experience, limited to having played congas in a semi-professional capacity in and around San Francisco and L. A. Clarke did not own his own drum kit and had to play on a makeshift setup consisting of cardboard boxes and a tambourine; as the band continued to rehearse, Dickson arranged a one-off single deal for the group with Elektra Records' founder Jac Holzman.
The Doors were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1965, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, drummer John Densmore. They were among the most controversial and influential rock acts of the 1960s because of Morrison's lyrics and his erratic stage persona, the group was regarded as representative of the era's counterculture; the band took its name from the title of Aldous Huxley's book The Doors of Perception, itself a reference to a quote by William Blake. After signing with Elektra Records, the Doors released eight albums in five years, some of which are considered among greatest of all time, including The Doors, Strange Days, L. A. Woman. By 1972 the Doors had sold over nearly 8 million singles. Morrison died in uncertain circumstances in 1971; the band continued as a trio until disbanding in 1973. They released three more albums in the 1970s, two of which featured earlier recordings by Morrison, over the decades reunited on stage in various configurations.
In 2002, Manzarek and Ian Astbury of the Cult on vocals started performing as the Doors of the 21st Century. Densmore and the Morrison estate sued them over the use of the band's name. After a short time as Riders on the Storm, they settled on the name Manzarek–Krieger and toured until Manzarek's death in 2013; the Doors were the first American band to accumulate eight consecutive gold LPs. According to the RIAA, they have sold 33 million records in the US and over 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time; the Doors have been listed as one of the greatest artists of all time by magazines including Rolling Stone, which ranked them 41st on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". In 1993, they were inducted into the Roll Hall of Fame; the Doors began with a meeting between acquaintances Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek, both of whom had attended the UCLA School of Theater and Television, on Venice Beach in July 1965. Morrison told Manzarek he had been writing songs and with Manzarek's encouragement sang "Moonlight Drive".
The members came from a varied musical background of jazz, rock and folk idioms. Keyboardist Manzarek was in a band called Rick & the Ravens with his brothers Rick and Jim, while drummer John Densmore was playing with the Psychedelic Rangers and knew Manzarek from meditation classes. In August 1965, Densmore joined the group, renamed the Doors; the five, along with bass player Patty Sullivan recorded a six-song demo on September 2, 1965 at World Pacific Studios, Los Angeles, California. This has circulated since as a bootleg recording; the band took their name from the title of Aldous Huxley's book The Doors of Perception, itself derived from a line in William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: "If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite". In mid-1965, after Manzarek's two brothers left, guitarist Robby Krieger joined. From February to May 1966, the group had a residency at the "rundown" and "sleazy" Los Angeles club London Fog, appearing on the bill with "Rhonda Lane Exotic Dancer".
The experience gave Morrison confidence to perform in front of a live audience, the band as a whole to develop and, in some cases, lengthen their songs and work "The End", "When the Music's Over", "Light My Fire" into the pieces that would appear on their debut album. Ray Manzarek would say that at the London Fog the band "became this collective entity, this unit of oneness...that is where the magic began to happen."The Doors soon graduated to the more esteemed Whisky a Go Go, where they were the house band, supporting acts including Van Morrison's group Them. On their last night together the two bands joined up for "In the Midnight Hour" and a twenty-minute jam session of Them's "Gloria". On August 10, 1966, they were spotted by Elektra Records president Jac Holzman, present at the recommendation of Love singer Arthur Lee, whose group was with Elektra Records. After Holzman and producer Paul A. Rothchild saw two sets of the band playing at the Whisky a Go Go, they signed them to the Elektra Records label on August 18 – the start of a long and successful partnership with Rothchild and sound engineer Bruce Botnick.
The Doors were fired from the Whisky on August 21, 1966 when Morrison added an explicit retelling and profanity-laden version of the Greek myth of Oedipus during "The End". The band recorded their first album from August 24 to 1966, at Sunset Sound Recording Studios; the debut album, The Doors, was released in the first week of January 1967. It included most of the major songs from their set, including the nearly 12-minute musical drama "The End". In November 1966, Mark Abramson directed a promotional film for the lead single "Break On Through". To promote the single, the Doors made several television appearances such as on Shebang, a Los Angeles TV show, miming to "Break On Through". In early 1967, the Doors appeared on The Clay Cole Show where they performed their single "Break On Through". Since "Break on Through" was not successful on the radio, the band turned to "Light My Fire". "Light My Fire" became the first single from Elektra Records to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, selling over one million copies.
From March 7 to 11, 1967, the Doors performed at the Matrix Club in California. The March 7 and 10 shows