1969 Toledo Pop Festival

1969 Toledo Pop Festival

September 14, 1969

Toledo Raceway Park
1969 Festival #39

From the Pizza Don’t Go Bad site:

Four short weeks after Jimi Hendrix closed the generation-defining Woodstock Festival with a soul-stirring, whammy-bar laden performance of the Star Bangled Banner, Toledo fans got a homegrown opportunity to air out their freak flags courtesy of the daylong Toledo Pop Festival.Culled primarily from the S.E. Michigan/N.W. Ohio axis of high-energy rock’n’roll, the day’s slightly disparate line-up featured a virtual who’s who of Rust Belt axe-slingers: Brothers Wayne Kramer and the late-great Fred “Sonic” Smith from the MC5; Ted Nugent from the Amboy Dukes; The Frost’s Dick Wagner, who would later go on to co-write, record, and tour extensively with the likes of Alice Cooper and Lou Reed, among others; Ron Koss of Savage Grace; Gary Quackenbush of SRC; Steve Correll of The Rationals; and, the soon-to-be-known-as “Leather Tuscadero” in the persona of one Miss Suzi Quatro, performing bass, vocal and jail-bait duties for the Pleasure Seekers, a band consisting chiefly of her brothers and sisters.

1969 Toledo Pop Festival

PDGB wonders if the concert promoter’s somewhat curious decision to place feel-good hit-makers The Turtles atop a bill filled largely with outfits known for their aggressive, potentially incendiary histrionics was -at least in part- a conscious decision intended to serve as a musical blow-off valve, The Turtles cheery melodies and infectious lyrics helping to ease the attendees transition from frenzied jam kick-outing to the parking lot slough that awaited them. Then again, maybe they just needed a big name to sell some tickets.

Either way, we’re sure the inevitable twenty minute-plus live rendition of “Happy Together” didn’t go unnoticed, reshuffling the synapses of numerous first-time psychedelic users so completely that even now, some forty-years later, the simple act of hearing said melody errantly whistled by passerby is capable of triggering intense psychotic episodes of such severity that even immediate medical attention followed by years of therapy can’t guarantee the return of normal brain activity. Way to go Boomers!

Held at Toledo Raceway Park (which we assume is the Horse racing facility of approximately the same name that still stands in North Toledo today) the $5.00 admission ($4.25 Advance) was an unbelievable bargain, even adjusted for inflation. 

1969 Toledo Pop Festival


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Moonfire Lewis Beach Marvin III

Moonfire Lewis Beach Marvin III

Moonfire Lewis Beach Marvin III

Love Your Animal Friends…
Don’t Eat Them

Limited photos

I had only loaded the borrowed 35mm camera with one roll of Kodachrome, so I had to carefully measure my picture-taking at Woodstock.

During that weekend, I saw someone walking around with a lamb and a sign. The sign read:  Love Your Animal Friends, Don’t Eat Them.

Keep in mind that it was 1969 and meat and potatoes dominated the United States diet. Salad was an option and a meatless meal verboten.

To see such an interesting-looking guy expressing such (to me) an odd view merited using one of my valuable pictures. He was distant from me,  but close enough to give it a try.

Moonfire Lewis Beach Marvin III


After my tours at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Museum, I stick around to show any interested guests those several pictures I took. When I get to the “vegetarian guy” I try to explain how unusual it was to me to see someone like that.

Tdoday, when people invite friends and relatives to eat, they also ask if anyone has any dietary preferences. Some are simply that: preferences. Others are prescribed medical requirements.

Times have changed.

Moonfire Lewis Beach Marvin III

Lewis Marvin

It was only recently that I found out who the “vegetarian guy” was: Lewis Marvin. And not only did I find out his name, it also surprised me that he was an heir to the S & H Green Stamp fortune because his father had been that company’s chairman.

Being a vegetarian at that time was one thing and to express such fondness for animals in general could bring outrage and ridicule. Just watch how Joe Pyne treats and speaks to Marvin on Pyne’s show in 1966:

The audience as well seems to enjoy the way Pyne excoriates Marvin as well.

Moonfire Lewis Beach Marvin III

Moon Fire Ranch

Marvin’s story was more than just a respect for animals and tolerance of ridicule.  According to a 2012 article by Adrain Glick Kudler (who also used information from a Wall Street Journal article) in Curbed,  Marvin bought property in Topanga Canyon (CA) “in 1957 for $15,000….”

His wife, Barbara,  and he raised their three children there.

 “Over the next two decades, Mr. Marvin’s estate became part-salon, part-muse for his motley crew of artistic friends.” Those friends included, naturally, George Harrison…and Jim Morrison, as well as the Manson Family, supposedly.”

Apparently Jim Morrison was wearing Marvin’s hat (with skull and crossbones on it) on March 1, 1969 in Miami when police accused Morrison of lewd behavior.

Off the grid

While the idea of living off the grid may seem like a recent lifestyle, the Moon Fire Ranch was so isolated that Marvin used solar panels and a generator for power and collected rainwater.

Marvin also built the Moon Fire Temple there, “for the 1966 Paul Newman film, Harper, and is featured prominently as The Temple in the Clouds. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Doors performed at the Moon Fire Temple regularly during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Artists who have featured their work include; Andy Warhol, David Nelson Rose, Bon Jovi, Mastodon, Thrill Kill Cult, 80’s hairband Dokken’s music video “Walk Away”, Tommy Chong in Far Out Man and numerous Playboy shoots.”

Moonfire Lewis Beach Marvin III

Mondo Hollywood

Moonfire Lewis Beach Marvin III

Mondo Hollywood is a 1967 documentary that depicts the social/political/cultural scene in Los Angeles, and especially Hollywood, in the mid to late ’60s.

alfiehitchie writes in their IMDB review of Mondo, “Long considered a cult classic, “Mondo Hollywood” captures the underside of Hollywood by documenting a moment in time (1965-67), when an inquisitive trust in the unknown was paramount, hope for the future was tangible and life was worth living on the fringe. An interior monologue narrative approach is used throughout the film, where each principal person shown not only decided on what they wanted to be filmed doing, but also narrated their own scenes. The film opens with Gypsy Boots (the original hippie vegan – desert hopping blender salesman), and stripper Jennie Lee, working out ‘Watusi-style’ beneath the ‘Hollywood’ sign — leading into the ‘sustainable community’ insight of Lewis Beach Marvin III, the S&H Green Stamp heir, who lived in a $10 a month garage while owning a mountain retreat in Malibu.”

The IMDB entry on the movie does not indicate, as the Kudler article does, that Lewis and the Ranch were part of the movie.

Moonfire Lewis Beach Marvin III

The Family

Ed Sanders (of Fug fame) wrote of Moonfire in his well-respected book on Charles Manson, The Family: “the place had been constructed for a 1966 movie called Harper, starring Paul Newman and Lauren Bacall … In the film, the structure on the high hill above the Pacific belonged to a “religious fanatic” to serve as a “Temple in the clouds.” and that “occult ceremonies had occurred” and that Manson had visited.

According to Kudler’s article, Marvin died in 2005, I cannot find much more about his death other than in a second internet article by  Moonbattery that states, “He died in 2005 at a monkey refuge in Panama.”

I cannot find any additional corroboration.

Moonfire Lewis Beach Marvin III

Moonfire today


Today the ranch has become “…a premiere Los Angeles venue.” At least that what its site claims. It also states that, “Moonfire Ranch is now available for bookings. Welcoming all motion pictures, movie shoots, photo shoots, music video productions, and artistic events.”

One might say that Joe Pyne won.

Moonfire Lewis Beach Marvin III
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