Penthouse Retrospective

by John Densmore Originally Published: September, 1990

The Doors: Abre Las Puertas | 30 Years Ago This Month

A few hours later I got my classification: 1Y the clerk told me I was supposed to return in a year, but meanwhile I was free! I had wanted a 4F, which meant a permanent deferment, but I wasn’t about to hang around and argue with them.

One more army rejection and the Doors would be unencumbered.

On July 14, Bastille Day, I took Jim downtown for his physical. There was a long line outside the induction center this time, so Jim nonchalantly told me to just come back in a couple of hours. He would be all through by then. I tried to tell him that it had been an all-day affair for me, but he just gave me that wolf grin of his, so I agreed to get something to eat and at least check back. I didn’t want to hang around anyway. I felt nervous just being in a military area.

At high noon I returned and, sure enough, there he was standing in front of the entrance looking cool as ever, leaning against the wall, one leg bent, brushing his hair back on the sides with his hands.

I pulled to the curb and stepped out of the car as he came strolling over casually. “Well? What happened?” I shouted over the traffic. “Are you done? C’mon, give.”

Morrison shrugged his shoulders and said, “No sweat. All finished. They gave me a ‘Z’ classification.” He slipped into the car.

I shook my head in confusion and got into the driver’s seat. “What the hell is a ·z· classification?”

“I don’t know,” he said, baiting me.

I started up the Gazelle, ground it into first, and headed toward Hollywood. “C’mon, Jim, what did you do in there?”

He just flashed his mischievous grin. Goddamn, I thought. This guy’s too much. He’s transcending a trauma that nearly gave me a heart attack. I kept prodding him as we drove across town, but he basked in the mystery. How had he bluffed his way past this one?

“Could you take me over to Rosanna’s apartment in Beverly Hills? I gotta get out of here for a couple of days,” Jim begged.

“Who’s Rosanna?” I asked as we walked to my car.

“This girl. A U.C.L.A. art student.” “Uh-huh!” I teased.

I made a left on Ocean Avenue as we split from Ray and Dorothy’s digs. “It’s off Charlieville, in one of those Spanish duplexes.”


Jim rang the doorbell.

“Oh, it’s you,” The attractive long-haired blonde sounded surprised. Apparently Jim hadn’t called.

“This is John.” “Hi.”


Jim went straight to the kitchen table, took out a bag of grass, and started rolling joints. He acted like he lived there.

Rosanna responded with loaded sarcasm. “Help yourself, Jim.” Maybe Jim had met his match? She seemed to enjoy the verbal bantering.

“I’ll be back in a little while,” I said, feeling claustrophobic from the mounting tension.

I drove around the shopping district and stopped at a liquor store for some apple juice. Was Jim going to sleep there? I decided to check on the way home.

The door opened as I knocked, not having been shut completely. I pushed it open the rest of the way and saw Jim standing in the living room holding a large kitchen knife to Rosanna’s stomach. A couple of buttons popped on her blouse as Jim twisted her arm behind her back.

My pulse tripled.

People who have never heard of the The Doors could well be familiar with their music. An insider now opens The Doors for Penthouse.

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