Posters - Custard Box Records

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Information on Posters

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A note about the San Francisco Poster Company:

The Bindweed Press in San Francisco was responsible for printing many of the early west coast psychedelic dance posters, including those for The Family Dog.  The Bindweed Press was the trading name of Frank Westlake, and he included the Bindweed Press credit on posters that he printed.  Westlake eventually relocated to England taking many of the printing plates with him.  These plates were his legal property.  By the mid-1970’s he had reprinted a number of posters in the UK using the original plates, but deleted The Bindweed Press credit and instead inserted the San Francisco Poster Co. credit.  In some instances he used totally different colours for posters, compared with original printings, in other cases he stuck closely to the colours of the original.

A note on Family Dog:

In June 1965, what is generally accepted as the start of the psychedelic music scene that emerged from San Francisco began at the Red Dog Saloon, Virginia City, Nevada.  The initial events took place around performances given by the bohemian rock band, The Charlatans, who were based in San Francisco.  Two of the band members, Michael Ferguson and George Hunter, produced a poster to publicise their appearances, and this is acknowledged as the first psychedelic dance poster.  It is known as The Seed.

Among the attendees at the Red Dog over the summer were Luria Castell, Ellen Harman, Jack Towle, and Alton Kelly.  On returning to San Francisco they wanted to continue the experience they had witnessed which resulted in them promoting a dance at the Longshoremen’s Hall on 16 October 1965, featuring Jefferson Airplane, The Charlatans, The Great Society and The Marbles.  They called the event ‘A Tribute To Doctor Strange’.  This was a huge success with over 1,000 attendees and so they put on two further dances before the end of the year, ‘A Tribute To Sparkle Plenty’, and ‘A Tribute To Ming The Merciless’.  For promotion purposes, Castell, Harman, Kelly, and Towle called themselves The Family Dog.  Their communal house on Pine Street was known as the Dog House due to the prevalence of dogs living there.  (At the time it was hard to find landlords who would tolerate dogs and so dog owners tended to gravitate towards the few properties where dogs were allowed).  After the three dances, Castell, who was the driving force behind organising the dances, moved out of the Dog House, but promoted a further two events under The Family Dog name.  By this time the other three Family Dog members had taken off for Mexico and Castell was shortly to take the same route.  Before she left it was arranged that Chet Helms would take over the role of promoter for the Family Dog collective.  Helms formed a partnership with John Carpenter, the manager of The Great Society.  Helms managed Big Brother And The Holding Company, and both men wanted to promote dances featuring their bands.  Helms instigated Family Dog Productions from February 1966.

Under Helms management, the posters used to promote the dances were consecutively numbered, prefaced by the letters FD.  In September 1967, when Family Dog Productions also started shows in Denver, the Denver posters were given the prefix FDD with a new number series, although FDD001, 003, and 004 have dual numbering with the normal FD series.

A note on Bill Graham:

In 1965 Graham was the business manager of the San Francisco Mime Troupe.  The mime troupe would put on controversial plays, sometimes for free in Golden Gate Park.  On 1 November 1965, the troupe’s founder, Ronnie Davis, was indicted for performing in public parks without a permit.  The mime troupe decided to hold an ‘Appeal Party’ on 6 November to raise funds.  This included performances by Jefferson, Airplane, Sandy Bull, The Fugs, and the John Handy Quintet.  As the organiser of the event Graham could not believe its success.  Despite it taking place on the same day as The Family Dog’s ‘A Tribute To Ming The Merciless’, Graham found himself crowding more people into the mime troupe’s loft on Howard Street than were permitted and having to turn others away.  On 10 December, he followed up with another appeal, billed as a dance concert, at the larger Fillmore Auditorium and featuring five bands.  In excess of 3,500 people attended and Graham saw that there was money to be made by promoting dances.  For the third appeal, another dance concert was staged at the Fillmore on 14 January 1966.  Unlike the publicity fliers for the previous events that did not mention Graham, this time Graham put his name at the top of the flier, ‘Bill Graham Presents…’  Commencing on 21 January, a three day event called The Trips Festival was staged at the Longshoreman’s Hall.  This was organised by the Merry Pranksters, responsible for the Acid Tests, and featured the Grateful Dead, and Big Brother And The Holding Company among other happenings.  Bill Graham was brought in as the producer and credited in the programme.  Graham could now see his future as a promoter so he left the mime troupe and began promoting gigs at the Fillmore from February 1966.

The posters Graham used to promote his dances were consecutively numbered, prefaced by the letters BG.  For the Fillmore East in New York, opened by Graham in 1968, posters are referred to with the prefix FME and a new number series.

Poster – A Stone Facade, Avalon Ballroom, June 1966, FD011  £14.99 Add To Cart

This poster is for a dance concert at the Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, on 3-4 June 1966.  Artists billed are: The Grass Roots, Big Brother And The Holding Company, and The Buddha From Muir Beach.  The dance was promoted by the Family Dog.  This poster is a San Francisco Poster Company reprint.  The original printing plates were used to produce the reprint, but the colour scheme is different to the original.  The poster was designed by Victor Moscoso who was unhappy with it and so his name is not credited.  It features a photograph of a gargoyle from the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.  This poster is in excellent condition and measures approx. 507mm x 366mm

Poster – P.H. Phactor Jug Band, 40 Cedar Alley, August 1966  £14.99 Add To Cart

This poster was for shows by the P.H. Phactor Jug Band at 40 Cedar Alley, San Francisco.  The venue was a coffee shop in the lobby of the Cedar Alley Cinema. The dates for these shows were 18-20 August 1966.  This poster is a San Francisco Poster Company reprint.    The poster was designed by Paul Basset who was the drummer for the P.H. Phactor Jug Band (the P.H. stood for Phil Hammond – the band’s manager).  This example is in excellent condition and measures approx. 557mm x 366mm

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Badges and Stickers
Family Dog Prints
Bill Graham Prints
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