Faces in Toast – Gulf of Tonkin

For those accustomed to the more Beatlemania-side of Faces in Toast, getting into the political side of this equation may seem kind of boring, but I’ll try my best to liven things up…

Remember, November 22nd 1963 saw both Beatlemania launched in the United States as well as the eventual escalation of Vietnam due to the assassination of JFK.

If there was one tangible incident pointed to as being responsible for the escalation of Vietnam, other than the assassination of John F. Kennedy, it was  the Gulf of Tonkin incident on August 2nd 1964.

In this very disputed account, North Vietnamese forces fired upon the destroyer USS Maddox which prompted a US retaliatory strike upon the 3 torpedo boats responsible for the attack.

This event, plus a similar event two days later involving the Maddox and the aptly named US ship Turner Joy, prompted Lyndon Johnson to report to America that the Country had been attacked; even though it is highly disputed whether the American ships provoked an attack by traveling too near the North Vietnamese ships or, in the case of the second incident on August 4th, whether the US Ships had ever been engaged by the North Vietnamese at all.

The leader of the US Naval fleet in the Tonkin area was Admiral George Stephen Morrison.

George Morrison had a son who would not become known to the world for a couple of years yet, but his son did happen to be born on our fateful December 8th date, exactly two years after the United States declared War and entered WWII.

Jim Morrison is just the first of many that will be spotlighted that both came from a Military family and then somehow wound up in the Laurel Canyon section of Los Angeles before becoming famous.

If there is one seminal moment in Los Angeles that announced the arrival of the Laurel Canyon crowd as a force in the growing sixties counter-culture scene, it was the out-of-nowhere introduction of the Oedipal section to an already existing song of theirs, The End by Jim Morrison and the Doors during a performance at the fledgling Whisky-A-Go-Go in Los Angeles in August of 1966.

Although Val Kilmer gives a fantastic performance as Morrison in the movie, one thing I will say is that the only Jim Morrison that was even more foreboding than Kilmer’s portrayal of Morrison is Morrison himself; Morrison transformed his stage presense from a very shy singer to the Lizard King persona during the Summer of ’66 while the Doors were the house band at the Whisky.

The Doors really weren’t considered initially to be very good or one of the better of the LA scene that was just starting to happen, but this performance, transferred to vinyl just a few days later, coupled with the breakthrough hit Light My Fire, ultimately found the Doors as the first and most shocking LA group to break into the world’s Pop consciousness in 1967.

The addition of the Oedipal section as portrayed in this scene was Morrison’s inspiration and his alone, the rest of the band had no idea where he was going with the song as he performed it on this night.

The Doors were fired from the Whisky after the performance, which ultimately only served to fuel the legend of The End and Morrison himself…


Author: willemaus

I write things and post things and talk about the things that I write and post...

4 thoughts on “Faces in Toast – Gulf of Tonkin”

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  2. My old toaster died…I loved it. It matched my kitchen (white), stayed cool (a must for a klutz!) and had one long opening so I could toast just about anything. Went searching the web, but started with Amazon.com, and never got any farther! Found the Cuisinart, which has all the features of my defunct toaster, and some added ones. I like the back-lit numbers that tell you how quickly your toast will brown (burn!)…makes it look like it has blue eyes. Also makes it easy to remember to unplug it when finished. Besides its charming appearance, it allows you to select toasting two slices or four, and has a button to cancel toasting and a lever that lifts the toast up above the level of the toaster. No more burned fingertips! From a “basics” point of view, it makes darned good toast. Buy it in confidence.

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