Moonfire Lewis Beach Marvin III

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
Thanks for visiting

9 thoughts on “Moonfire Lewis Beach Marvin III”

  1. So why and how did he end up bringing a lamb on a concert stage to Jim Morrison (and lend his hat to him) in Miami Fl. on june 1st 1969?

  2. Lewis was certainly different. Just extremely eccentric, which fit very comfortably in the Topanga Cyn hippy and artist community at that time. He drove an old jeep with a cage mounted on the back which housed his pet goat. He kept exotic animals on his Moonfire property, among which was a baby giraffe.

    It was rumored that his very wealthy father gave lewis a large monthly allowance under the condition that Lewis could go anywhere in the US except the state of New York, in which his father lived.

  3. I have a photo I took in 1969 of Moonfire aka Lewis Beach Marvin III at The “Love In” at Griffith Park Los Angeles August 1969 with Charles Manson and the Family all sitting around in a circle eating watermelon. His sheep in photo also. Jefferson Airplane played that day. Come to think of it Moonfire must have just returned from Woodstock. Also the following month were the Manson murders. This photo just sat in my album for 40 years before I realized what I had!

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