Alan Graham was married to Morrison’s sister Ann and has written a memoir about his friendship with Jim, another about his boyhood in Liverpool growing up around the corner from the Cavern Club, and a third about his work as “Captain Pink” with Larry Flynt.
Alan Graham knew all the Beatles as teenage Teddy Boys in his hometown of Liverpool, England, before moving to London, meeting Ann Morrison, the sister of budding rock icon Jim Morrison, and moving to Los Angeles with her. They stayed married for 22 years. Graham became a close friend and drinking companion of Jim Morrison from the time the Doors’ first hit, “Light My Fire,” was released in January of 1967, until Jim died in Paris under mysterious circumstances in 1971.
As Alan later wrote in his memoir, I Remember Jim Morrison Too, “I’d spent a couple years around the corner from ground zero of the Beatles’ hometown breakout at the Cavern Club on Matthew Street in Liverpool, played witness to the ascension of the Doors and that band’s eventual flame-out after the death of my brother in law.”
Graham has also worked as a babysitter for the young Sage Moonblood Stallone, the actor and oldest son of Sylvester Stallone, and as an agent provocateur for porn publisher and free speech billionaire Larry Flynt. He seems to have always found himself in the right place at the right time.
“Some people are born with this aptitude,” Graham put it in one of his books, “while others have no access to the portal.”
James Douglas Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971) was the first scion of a military bloodline not to join any branch of service, going back for centuries to Scottish clan-conflicts. His father, Rear Admiral George Stephen Morrison, USN, fired the first shot in the Vietnam War during the controversial Gulf of Tonkin incident, which led shortly thereafter to the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which essentially gave Pres. Lyndon Johnson carte blanche to wage unlimited war on Southeast Asia. The Morrison clan, bound by a militaristic code of secrecy, had an interest in limiting public knowledge about itself. Hence, popular biographies of Jim are limited in scope, and this is also why a character based on Graham is absent from Oliver Stone’s film The Doors.
Graham has written, “The book No One Here Gets Out Alive [by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugarman] had been released, to great acclaim, and they wanted to make a movie. [Pamela Courson’s] parents wouldn’t cooperate with producers [Ed. note – Pamela was Jim Morrison’s long-term companion] and the Admiral wouldn’t play. A deal was still being considered, lobbied chiefly by Ray Manzarek. I learned that the Admiral could override everyone if he would just step forth and take control of the estate, which was being badly mismanaged. I called Admiral Morrison again, this time to assure him that he could maintain control of the script. Once again, he refused. I wondered why my father-in-law was blocking the deal. Perhaps he knew something no one else did.”
In the case of Milos Forman’s People vs. Larry Flynt film, in Flynt’s own words, “I didn’t know how to explain Captain Pink.”
“Captain Pink” was Graham’s superhuman alter-ego, during a time in the 1980s when the outlaw publisher felt especially sensitive. Flynt sought to divert attention from the facts of his own case by turning the tables on all the moralists arrayed against him, which is where Captain Pink came in.
For example, when Larry Flynt began a hunger strike for better conditions, his spokesperson, Graham, told the press, “Someone in the kitchen informed him that [the food] was tainted, and he refused it.” Flynt’s rival brother, Jimmy, filed a conservatorship petition in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming the Hustler publisher suffered from a mental illness “consistent only with an irrational drive to destroy or lose all his holdings, [having] drained the company of millions of dollars in cash for bizarre and imprudent personal expenditures.”
Among the expenditures that Flynt’s brother objected to was the cash required to fund Captain Pink’s adventures distracting the press in Springfield, Missouri while his boss was locked up. A gang of pranksters led by Graham served as a contrarian distraction steeped in street theatrics for the stultified townsfolk, exposing town elders and authorities’ hypocrisy by successfully tempting these do-rights with cash, pleasure and excess—all the things they claimed most to revile.
“Captain Pink is still remembered in Springfield for his toy sword, the pink Christmas lights all over his pink costume, and the satchel full of cash he used to prank his way through town during Flynt’s stay in Springfield’s Medical Center for Federal Prisoners,” says Al. “Springfield, Missouri is one of the most conservative places on the planet, and we turned it upside down.”
With Admiral Morrison’s death in 2008, the family code of secrecy lost much of its authority, and the time was finally right for Alan Graham to begin relating his unexpurgated adventures. His book, I Remember Jim Morrison Too, remains the only Morrison biography so far published to focus at length on portions of Jim’s life outside and beyond his seven years of notoriety. Where other biographers are moved to turn Morrison’s story into a train wreck and charge admission, Graham’s inspiration had been to commemorate the emotional effect of their time together.
“Mine is the only one telling the true story of that family,” he claims. “More than forty books would be published about Jim’s life after he died, but nobody outside the Morrison family ever really knew him.”
Graham put this video together to promote his publications about Morrison:
Writing that testament to his friend and lost brother woke Graham up to the wealth of more stories inside him to tell. In 2010, this reporter helped him edit another three, Before the Beatles Were Famous, the revamped I Remember Jim Morrison Too, and The Flynt Caper, detailing Captain Pink upending a town’s moral structure as a self-styled superhero while his Mad Hatter of a boss was in the madhouse.
“Here comes your dream along, are you ready for it? Will you take it?” wrote Graham. “That’s the question every person has to answer. Because you’re lucky if you dream good, lucky if you dream at all. As a child once I prophesied the winning number in a lottery using information received in a dream. And life is full of dreams, so I always looked at those. Every single time I remembered the dream. Or the essence of the dream.”
An interesting radio interview with Graham about Jim Morrison, and the Morrison family, in 2012:
We were working on The Flynt Caper when Al went into the hospital for an unexpected heart operation requiring a special drill that could go in from the side, which sounded pretty drastic, putting our project on an unexpected hiatus. The above paragraph is a snippet from that as-yet-unpublished volume, conveying its metaphorical subtext. This second excerpt, more profane, shows its liver:
“The warden saw a pink guy come into his fuckin’ prison and sent out his hoods after him. He also told his daughter that if she hung with him anymore, he’d put him in jail for 20 years legally under the Brown Act for taking his daughter across state lines. Pink ran away with the warden’s daughter, took her across state lines to California. Flynt in T.I. (Terminal Island) two weeks for some kind of med checkup. I took his daughter there and the warden was shittin’ his pants because his daughter showed up on surveillance with Flynt, so he sent the hoods there. But we took the low road and got back to Springfield, Mo. While they were in Cali.”
Larry Flynt, who once ran for president himself, has famously offered $10,000,000 for any dirt on Donald Trump that shows evidence of an impeachable offense—he’s still keeping mum, who knows what he’s turned up?
Nadia Szold sent an email to me, as Graham’s representative, asking whether he might be interested in narrating portions of her documentary detailing Flynt’s time in Springfield. “The working title is Larry Flynt for President, and it’s going quite well. We’ve picture locked and now are on to the finishing elements like music and graphics.”
I contacted Al, thinking it a perfect fit, but he declined, having tired of going over that old ground full of buried cables, awakening all those sleeping lives.
What happens next with The Flynt Caper is an open question. Graham is currently “off the grid” somewhere outside San Diego, and says he’s “doing pretty well for an old fucker.” He periodically plays with a country rock band that includes former members of the Flying Burrito Brothers, miles away from the perfect end to the life of an honest outlaw lived in service of following dreams.