Half Price Books recently acquired a rare collection of posters that were produced by Family Dog Productions for San Francisco and Denver rock concerts in the late sixties. Most are first issues, all in exceptional condition.
During this year of Grateful Dead’s half-century-mark celebrations, these psychedelic concert posters will take any old hippie back almost fifty years ago when they were used to promote the shows that started it all. Imagine having been there in San Francisco, watching this upstart outfit, The Dead, come on and do their musical thing following trippy opening act Quicksilver Messenger Service. For those many who were not in San Francisco in the ‘60s or were not yet inhabitants of Planet Earth—or for those who were there but don’t remember being there—the iconic posters from those shows will evoke the mood of the time. You can hang up an Avalon Ballroom concert poster of, say, The Doors, and stare at it while you play their Strange DaysLP, and bring it all back. Pretty groovy!
Chet Helms’ production company Family Dog put on weekly rock shows and other events starting in April of 1966. The shows featured the many rock bands that were blossoming in the San Francisco area (as well as rock, blues, and pop acts from other areas), accompanied by Helms’ innovative light shows.
The posters in this collection are selections from the 147 posters in the numbered series that advertised Family Dog shows from 1966 to 1968. Most of the shows took place at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. There are also numbered posters for shows produced by Family Dog in Denver. They are in Very Good to Near Mint condition, with no pinholes, tape, or other blemishes.
The Family Dog Numbered Series includes many of the top bands and artists who played those venues during those years, including:
- The Doors (multiple show posters, including one also featuring Captain Beefheart)
- Janis Joplin, with Big Brother and the Holding Company (several shows, with Bo Diddley, Canned Heat, and others)
- Jefferson Airplane
- Grateful Dead
- Pink Floyd, Spirit, Chuck Berry, Van Morrison, and many other notable artists
Several of the most prominent innovative illustrators of the time and place are represented, including Rick Griffin, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, and Victor Moscoso.
This is truly a one-of-a-kind collection that showcases, with provocative designs and stunning colors, the music that represented the “flower power” that was San Francisco Rock of the late sixties. These original posters will send you on a trip back to a time when the music was loud and the artwork was louder!
Janis’s Debut—After Chet Helms recruited her to join Big Brother and the Holding Company, Janis Joplin traveled from Texas to make her San Francisco debut at the Avalon.
Avalon Revisited—The Avalon Ballroom closed in 1968, but an attempt to revive it as a concert venue was undertaken between 2003 and 2006.
From the Dead to Born-Again—Illustrator Rick Griffin, who created art for Grateful Dead albums and Zap Comix, became a born-again Christian in 1970 and redirected his artistic efforts to religious projects.
HPB is a great place to buy and sell all kinds of collectibles, not only from the nineteen-sixties but from theeighteen-sixties, or from any other time and place. First editions, magazines, records, sheet music—you name it, we’ve seen it in our Collectibles sections.