For sale: document that began to close the Doors

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The Independent Online
FOR JIM MORRISON, that Sunday seemed a normal night: he got drunk, went on stage, shouted rude things at the fans. But this time he dropped his trousers, exposing himself to thousands. Some say that was the beginning of the end, on 2 March, 1969.

Three days later, six arrest warrants were issued, for lewd and lascivious behaviour, profanity and indecent exposure at the Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami. The $40,000 bail bond he signed, which finally allowed him free on appeal, is expected to fetch at least pounds 15,000 when it is auctioned in 10 days.

Miles Barton, of Sotheby's, said the bond did signal the beginning of the end of the Doors. "A lot of their concerts were cancelled and some radio stations banned their music," he says. "They did play again, of course, but it was never quite the same. They didn't take the charges seriously until the cancellations started. This bond is extremely collectable simply because it marked such a significant moment ."

That concert had started very late because Morrison missed his plane to Miami. While he waited for the next one he started drinking. He drank more on a stopover in New Orleans and managed to miss the second flight.

By the time he arrived, he could barely stand. Some fans claim he merely unzipped his trousers, some say he made lewd gestures. He had tried a similar stunt at another concert but was so drunk he was unable to undo his flies. But reports in the next day's papers pressured local officials to act and the arrest warrants were issued. He had left with the rest of the band for a holiday in Jamaica and surrendered to police a month later.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges but on 20 September 1970 he was found guilty of indecent exposure and profanity. Bail was set at $40,000 and Morrison's signature, in blue Biro, is on the three-page bond.

A month later he was sentenced to six months' hard labour and a $500 fine for publicly exposing himself, and 60 days' hard labour for the profanity charge. The judge ruled he could be released after two months if he spent two years and four months on bail. Morrison's lawyer appealed and the bail bond he had already signed meant he was free to go.

Within a year Morrison was dead in Paris, his legal problems still unresolved.