Framework

Cast of ‘Hair,’ denied concert permit, performs in Griffith Park

Dec. 11, 1969: At a hearing in which the cast of “Hair” was denied approval for a performance in Griffith Park are, from left, Dennis F. Shanahan, the show’s press agent; attorney Burt Pines; and Mrs. Harold C. Morton, president of the Recreation and Park Commission.

Dorothy Townsend reported in the Dec. 12, 1969, Los Angeles Times:

Ignoring a Recreation and Park commissioner’s suggestion that they use a parking lot instead of a park, members of the cast of “Hair” said Thursday they will perform in Griffith Park despite commission disapproval.

Final rejection of the “tribal love rock musical” group’s request to give a free concert in the park Dec. 22 climaxed an emotional exchange between some of the commissioners and petitioners on the subjects of morals, the Flag and human dignity.

Mrs. Harold C. Morton, president of the city board, said she could not condone approving use of city park facilities by a group that “apparently advocates everything we older people have been taught downgrades the dignity of the human race.”

“In this day and age when people are inclined to lower moral standards,” she said, “I would never condone giving permission to a group that (on the stage) desecrates the American Flag, speaks broadly of the use of narcotics and apparently advocates homosexuality.”

“Madam,” a representative of the hippie-oriented musical production addressed her, “our morals are every bit as good as anyone’s in this room.”

“Do you have any respect at all for the American Flag?” she asked the man, Dennis Shanahan, who is press agent for the show.

“I do,” he replied. “I deny that we are disrespectful of the Flag.”

Commissioner A. E. England asked about nudity in the show and was told that a brief scene (20 seconds) members of the cast dance in the nude “on a dimly lit stage.”

“But you would not do that in the park?” England asked.

“We would not do that in the park,” Shanahan replied. …

The illegal “Hair” concert occurred on Dec. 22, 1969. A crowd photo by Joe Kennedy – reproduced below – appeared in the Dec. 23, 1969 Los Angeles Times. Images of the actual concert in Griffith Park are not in the Los Angeles Times archives.

Dec. 22, 1969: Part of a crowd of about 2,200, mostly young, at a free concert given by the cast of the musical play “Hair”€ in Griffith Park in defiance of a Recreation and Park Department ban. Credit: Joe Kennedy/Los Angeles Times/ProQuest

Nov. 1, 1968: Co-author James Rado sings during scene from “Hair” on stage at the Aquarius in Hollywood. This photo appeared in the Dec. 10, 1968, Los Angeles Times. Credit: Larry Bessel/Los Angeles Times