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John Densmore and Jim Morrison in Feast of Friends

1968: Harrison Ford was working as a carpenter (working on houses, building sets) when he was asked by photographer and former UCLA student Paul Ferrara if he would like help out on a documentary about The Doors. It was an opportunity the 25-year-old Ford gladly accepted—though his experience of working with the band would leave him "one step away from joining a Jesuit monastery."

Ford using a clapperboard at the start of filming.Ferrara had access to The Doors through his friendship with Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek. He began filming his documentary Feast of Friends in April 1968 as single shooter/director. He then invited a colleague Babe Hill to record audio on a portable Nagra. After more filming, he decided one camera was not enough and asked around for a second unit cameraman. At a party, Ferrara met Harrison Ford, who he knew through carpentry work Ford had carried out on his house. Ferrara offered him the job of second camera/grip.

According to The Doors Guide, Ford had a crash course in shooting film at Sixth Annual Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Agoura, CA on May 4, 1968. John Densmore and Robby Krieger from the group were also in attendance while Harrison shot some footage.

Ford’s first gig as second unit cameraman came two weeks later at the Northern California Folk-Rock Festival in San Jose, where he filmed The Doors performing onstage. Ford can be seen operating the camera among the audience. Ford would later joke that his camera work was usually out of focus, but as can be seen from the finished film Feast of Friends a considerable chunk of footage made it to the final cut.

The following month, Ford was with band in Fresno and can be seen using a clapperboard before a take while Manzarek and co. play cards in the background.

He then filmed at the band’s concert in Bakersfield Civic Center, where he was caught in shot walking behind Jim Morrison.

What happened next is unclear. However, when later asked about his experience working with The Doors on MTV’s The Big Picture Show in 1989, Ford said:

When it was over, I was one step away from joining a Jesuit monastery. I thought it was cool, I thought it was hip, but I couldn’t keep up with those guys. It was too much.

One can only guess at what an alleged heavy dope smoker like Harrison Ford would define as "too much"!

Gallagher, P. (2015, December 1). When Harrison Ford shot Jim Morrison|Dangerous Minds. Retrieved December 4, 2015, from www.dangerousminds.net
Jim Morrison by Stephan Beauvais

Jim Morrison Project

The Jim Morrison Project is an audio & visual anthology detailing the life of Jim Morrison through his poetry, films, art, spoken word & music with The Doors.