Evergreen

Made in 1965, this 12 minute, 16mm, black and white film stars his girlfriend (and future wife of 40+ years) Dorothy Fujikawa along with fellow film student Hank Olguin (more on Hank later). The film is a series of scenes that show Dorothy and Hank in different life situations, while the narration is a conversation between Hank and Dorothy discussing different topics. The central theme is the life of a jazz musician and his girlfriend.

Portions of Evergreen are filmed at Ray and Dorothy’s upstairs apartment on Fraser Avenue on Venice Beach. This is the same apartment Ray and Dorothy would share with Jim after the famous “meeting on the beach”. Robby Krieger would later move into this same apartment after Ray and Dorothy moved out.

This film was created as part of a “sync sound” project, thus all of the audio was recorded separately and synced to the film. Ray provides the male voice for Hank, and Dorothy provides her own voice. Ray includes a “Rick and the Ravens” tune for the soundtrack, using “Henrietta” as the backdrop of the scene where they are driving past the Whisky a Go Go.

Additional notes on the film:

  • Hank Olguin (listed as Henry Crismode in the films credits) had a key part in The Doors’ early career. Hank was the only person Ray knew who had a piano, so Ray asked him if his new band could rehearse at his place while they looked for a permanent rehearsal space. Hank agreed. It was at Hank’s a legendary pink house in the alley behind the Greyhound Bus terminal in Santa Monica that The Doors had one of their very first rehearsals. This was the place where Ray introduced Jim to Robby and John for the first time and played their first song as The Doors.. ‘Moonlight Drive’.
  • At one point of the film, Ray asks Dorothy what she is reading. Dorothy responds “Three Penny Opera”, which is an opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. Dorothy was very interested in the plays and operas of Brecht and Weill. In fact, at home she had an album of “The Rise and Fall of the City of Mohagonny”, which had a song called “Alabama Song” sung by Lotte Lenya. Dorothy liked the song so much she suggested that the Doors do a version of it. Just as interesting is that there is one documented instance of Jim Morrison including the song “Mack The Knife” in an Alabama Song medley during a concert in 1968. The song “Mack The Knife” was a song from Bretch/Weill’s “Three Penny Opera”.
  • At one point in the narration, the character discusses being a musician in the army based in Okinawa. This was pulled from a real event in Ray’s life as he was stationed in Okinawa during his brief time in the military.
  • Back in 2003, as an “Extra” for Ray’s film “Love Her Madly”, they filmed Ray going back to the apartment and telling a few other stories of what occurred there, including a great story on a meal that Jim Morrison helped with. Click here to watch the video.
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