Monday, October 10, 2016

I've been on a bit of a Doors...

...kick lately. I don't know how or when it started, but I've been watching a lot of YouTube videos like the one above.

Since Ray Manzarek, the group's keyboardist, is such a great story-teller I got his book, Light My Fire: My Life with the Doors. (The title is an odd choice since Robby Krieger, the guitarist for the group, actually wrote that particular song.)

Like a lot of Doors fans, I suppose, I went through my Jim Morrison phase back in my twenties. Now I'm much more interested in Manzarek and Krieger, and to a lesser extent the drummer, John Densmore.

I found out somewhere along the way that Manzarek was originally from Chicago and attended St. Rita on the South Side. How, I wondered, did a kid from the Catholic League make it out to Los Angeles and start a band like the Doors with Jim Morrison?

Manzarek, who died in 2013, was born Ray Manczarek in 1939. His parents were the children of Polish immigrants who grew up in Bridgeport (the home of the Daleys) on the South Side. They bought the house, above, at 3358 South Bell Avenue in the McKinley Park neighborhood, just southwest on Archer Avenue from Bridgeport.

Since my son John and I have been taking long walks on Sundays lately, we (and I mean I) decided to walk the three and a half miles or so to Manzarek's childhood home. I did my best to explain to John who Manzarek and the Doors were and how important they were (and still are) to me, but I think he went along just to humor the old man.

"Do you think I'm really weird, John?"

"Dad, remember who I live with?"

So I took a few pictures of the house and noticed a sign on the back fence that said, NO TRESPASSING (although you can't see it here). I had to laugh a little to myself and remarked to John that we probably weren't the first Doors fans to come down here and take pictures of the place.

Manzarek and his two younger brothers attended Everett School (built in 1891!), which is literally kitty-corner from the family's house. According to his book, the boys came home for lunch every day.

As I was taking these last shots John said, "Watch out for the rat."

"Huh? What?" I looked down and there was a dead rat in the street. I jumped about five feet in the air and John said later, "You should have seen your reaction!"

But I thought it was fitting:

I think you can hear Manzarek's voice in the background on this one.

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