by Art Chantry:
this is the very first psychedelic poster i ever collected. it wasn’t the first psych poster i ever saw – i was already very familiar with all those san francisco posters from the fillmore and avalon, etc. but this was the very first one i ever pulled off a wall and hung in my bedroom.
i found this one afternoon walking home from school. i walked past an old hardware store in parkland, washington (a cheezy beater suburb of tacoma). i walked by it every day for months until i finally worked up my nerve enough to walk inside and ask for the poster. the owner just said, “sure, take it.” this was around 1969 or so. since that time i’ve probably owned a thousand or more old psych posters.
it took me a long time before i could even read it. when i finally figured out what it said, it read “the byrds/merrilee & the turnabouts/a wilson high school production/$3.00. there’s also an emblem with “Wc/M” and the name ‘jim walters.’ there is no date. it’s basically a bad copycat of a semi-famous fillmore auditorium poster by wes wilson from 1967. so, this poster is dated between 1967 and 1969 (the year i snagged it). it was very yellowed from hanging in the sun for so long. it was a crude amateur siklkscreen (one single dayglo color). beyond that, this thing is still a mystery (and i have no idea what the “WcM” means.)
so far as i know, the byrds never played in tacoma – and least of all at wilson high school auditorium. i’m not saying it didn’t happen, but, i’m saying nobody i know has ever said,”yeah i remember that show.” it’s not outside the bounds of posssibility, however, the jefferson airplane played a merry prankster “acid trip” held in bellingham high school gymnasium back in around 1966 (believe it or not).
the idea that the byrds and merrilee & the turnabouts played the same show is possible , but it would have to be 1965 or 1966, rather than the later date (1967) that would have allowed this person to copycat that wes wilson poster. that’s because merrilee rush had the hit “angel of the morning” in 1967 and became a solo star after that.
so, my best guess here is that this is a student classroom project from around early early 1967. i think the name at the bottom is the name of the wilson high school student (jim walters) and he desigend this personal dream concert as an art project and taught himself how to silkscreen with it – for class credit. how it got to hanging in that hardware store window is anybody’s guess. i can’t imagine any promoter no matter how amateur could possibly hang a poster advertising a one-time only event that had no date on it. nobody is that lame (except an art student).
so, my very first psych poster i ever collected is likely a fake poster (now referred to as a “tribute poster”). i don’t think that’s uncommon at all. if you look online or even in your average record store, the posters on the walls for sale are all bootlegs, fakes, or outright lies manufactured to sell to the ignorant consumer by tricking them into thinking it’s a real artifact. buyer beware!, most posters out there were never intended to advertise anything at all. they are just product to sell. just the facts, jack.
so, even though, this poster is most likely a student dream show thing and not a poster advertising a real event, i still love it. it is still crawling with innocence and devotion and fantasy that can’t be matched today. there’s lots of fake posters out there – but this is a REAL fake poster. it’s BETTER than those other PHONY fake posters out there nowadays! lol!