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You're In The Shot, Harry

It's a little-known fact that actor Harrison Ford once worked for The Doors on the Feast Of Friends film shoot when he was twenty-five.

But just what he did and how long he spent with the band has never been accurately documented. So, for all the movie buffs out there, let's see what we can dig up.

Harrison Ford and Jim Morrison, June 1968
A young Harrison Ford walks past Jim Morrison, June 1968

Paul Ferrara began shooting footage for the documentary Feast Of Friends in April 1968. At first he was largely working on his own, but he soon recruited friend Babe Hill to record audio using a portable Nagra reel-to-reel recorder. By early May, Ferrara wanted to shoot with more than one camera and this required a slightly larger film crew.

In his autobiography Flash Of Eden, Paul Ferrara reveals that Harrison Ford, who was acting and doing carpentry work at the time, was someone he had met at a mutual friend's party. Ford only lived a quarter of a mile from Ferrara and would occasionally offer Paul and Babe work assisting him with various construction jobs. Ferrara decided to return the favor and asked Ford if he'd like to help him on a movie project for The Doors and join their small film crew as a grip/assistant. Ford agreed.

Perhaps to familiarize himself with their equipment, Harrison Ford attends the Sixth Annual Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Agoura, CA on May 4, 1968 with Paul Ferrara and Babe Hill. John Densmore and Robby Krieger also attend the festival and the crew does a little filming. As Ferrara can be seen in several shots (below right), Ford was likely running the camera while Hill recorded audio.

Following the Renaissance Faire, The Doors play the Northern California Folk-Rock Festival in San Jose, CA on May 19, 1968. Silent 8mm film shot by an audience member shows Ford loading a camera in the middle of the audience just before The Doors take the stage.

Because Hill was there to record audio and Ferrara can be seen with a camera on stage, it's likely Ford was responsible for filming with the camera he was seen loading and likely shot the footage below.

The next shows filmed for the Feast Of Friends project are in Fresno, CA on June 7, 1968 and Bakersfield, CA on June 8, 1968. While it's unclear if Ford was present in Fresno, it's likely he was, since the crew was traveling with the band and Ford can clearly be seen in footage from the next day in Bakersfield.

The following images reveal the only footage released from the film project to show Harrison Ford with The Doors. In the first two images, Ford can be seen holding the clapboard, albeit entirely out of focus, as the band plays cards in their Bakersfield hotel room on June 8, 1968.

The hands holding the film slate in the next two images are Ford's.

Following "Take 3," Ford can be seen reflected in a nearby mirror. At this point, Paul Ferrara can be heard saying: "You're in the shot, Harry." And Ford gradually moves out of frame.

Following the band's show in Bakersfield that evening, Ford can be spotted a bit more clearly walking just behind Jim Morrison with what appears to be a light meter hanging around his neck.

The next day, the band travels to Kern River Canyon and Ford is also there to help with filming.

The crew next film two shows in late June, but it's unclear if Ford is with them. We know he was next at the Hollywood Bowl show on July 5, 1968 but he did not operate any of the cameras. For this shoot, Ferrara brought in some film school friends (Frank Lisciandro, David Thompson, and Steve Wax) to run the cameras. Ford is there to assist with setting up the equipment and loading film.

Although it's uncertain, it appears that Harrison Ford's involvement in Feast Of Friends ended with the show at the Hollywood Bowl. The crew continues to film concerts, but Ford is not seen or mentioned by Ferrara in his autobiography as having been there. It's likely Ford was able to help when the group was doing shows in California, but as they shot more concerts in places like Texas, Ohio, and New York there was no budget to fly him out in addition to the rest of the crew. Plus, he was still trying to make it as an actor and needed to be in town for auditions and roles.

In a later interview, Harrison Ford would say this about his time with The Doors:

"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."

If anyone has any additional information about Harrison Ford's time with The Doors, please contact me and I'll update this article accordingly.

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