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Howard Smith Talks About The Doors - WABC-FM January 20th, 1970

Contributed By: with thanks to The Smith Tapes

In early November 1969, Howard Smith recorded a lengthy interview with Jim Morrison at The Doors office in Los Angeles. While in recent years it has been reported that the interview took place on November 6th, the exact date is in fact, uncertain (it rained for a week in L.A., not just one day as previously described). A few months later on January 20th 1970, Howard appears on WABC-FM in New York during Bob Lewis' radio show, making a few statements about The Doors and airing a clip from the original interview. On this date, The Doors had just completed a two-day, four-show stint at the Felt Forum in Madison Square Garden two days before.

As a companion to the original interview recording, released by The Smith Tapes in its entirety in late 2012, is pleased to feature this brief radio broadcast as a download right here on the site, with an extra special thanks to The Smith Tapes for allowing us to host this audio file for our viewers!

   < To acquire a complete copy of the original interview, please    visit or Amazon for CD or digital formats!


BROADCAST DATE: January 20th - 1970
RECORDING DATE: Exact Date Unknown - Presumed January 20th - 1970
HOST: Bob Lewis 'The Bobaloo'
RECORDING LOCATION: Exact Location Unknown
FILE SIZE: 3.7mb


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Contributed By: Alex Prisadsky

DATE: 03/20/1965
LOCATION: UCLA/Various Locations - Los Angeles, CA
LENGTH: 6:43

"Jim Morrison was the sound man on my first student film at UCLA. I asked a bunch of the crew and my friends at the housing coop where I lived to wear dark suits for the film - Jim didn't have one. That was one reason I asked him to be the sound recordist. The other was that he had shown a remarkable affinity for sound. 6 or 7 of us were in a group that took turns crewing for each other's films on successive Saturdays, in the Spring of 1965. Jim had shot part of his film the previous Saturday, in which we all played a noisy audience. A stag film we were watching broke and the screen was white with projector light. As the sounds of protest escalated, some of us made shadow puppets on the screen and yelled even louder. He had us repeat this for many takes. The experience made us literally high and influenced me to try to create that kind of crowd chaos, in my own way, in my film the next week.

In 'Five Situations', Jim's job was to record sound to go with each scene after filming of the scene was completed (the film was not shot in sync sound). For instance, after the bottle breaking scene, he had someone break some more bottles so he could mic it closely. Maddeningly, many of the bottles were bouncing instead of breaking. After awhile I yelled 'cut', but he insisted on more bottle smashes until he got what he wanted. After we finished shooting all the picture takes of the bathroom scene, we did another run through for sound. Jim decided he wanted to be in the mob, not outside it, during the jostling. He stood in the middle of the group in what was essentially a mosh pit, recording the concussions as well as everything else. When I was editing the film, I decided to try slowing down the sound to see how it "worked". The scene worked much better with the sound slowed down this way, so I transferred it and put it in. I did the same with the bottle breaking scene.

Long digression: The concept of judging an edit on whether it 'worked' or not, yes or no, black or white, was introduced to us by Edgar Brokaw. He taught the advanced editing class and the script writing class that both Jim and I took. He was to have been the advisor for our Saturday Workshop group. (Due to his illness, another professor took over.) Brokaw was harshly critical of Jim's film at the student screening because Jim had failed to 'double splice' his edits and they wouldn't go through the projector (ironically, much like the broken stag film in his project). For all that, Brokaw was among the few on the faculty who respected Jim's talent. I remember seeing Brokaw years later, probably the early 70's; he had a big poster of Jim with The Doors on the wall of his office. He said something like "Jim made it work", meaning he found a way to turn his vision into art."

Alex Prisadsky
Copyright © 2011 Alex Prisadsky

For more details on this film, please visit our Student Film Projects section!

We would like to give a very special thanks to Alex Prisadsky for providing his original student film to!