The year: 1969. The place: Coconut Grove's old Dinner Key Auditorium. The headliner: the legendary rock band The Doors and their outlandish lead singer Jim Morrison. By all accounts, the performance 37 years ago today was forgettable - a lousy concert, some called it. Except for Morrison's stage antics.
The long-haired and bearded Morrison, then 25, exposed himself, briefly rolling down his beltless leather pants and simulating masturbation before a raucous crowd of fans - or so the authorities alleged.
Morrison followers, along with fans at the infamous Miami concert, say the rock star did nothing illegal.
"Nowadays, we would call it a wardrobe malfunction, " said Donald Bierman, 65, one of Morrison's two Miami attorneys, who assisted the singer's Beverly Hills lawyer, Max Fink.
Bierman's theory: "I think he feigned exposing himself."
Miami police charged Morrison with indecent exposure and other related offenses, setting in motion a legal battle that pitted prosecutors from a then conservative Southern city with a hard-partying rock icon at the peak of his success.
Neither Morrison nor Miami would ever be the same.
The Doors concert on March 1, 1969, had been highly anticipated by local teens, but The Miami Herald mentioned it only in passing.
Tickets were $6 in advance, $7 at the door. The band expected to play for 6,000 people for a $25,000 fee. But promoter Kenneth Collier, who ran Thee Image concert hall in Miami Beach, oversold the event, Morrison's camp claimed. Collier, who has since died, publicly blamed Morrison.
At showtime, 10,600 kids jammed the hall; thousands more milled about outside. Morrison was late after missing a Los Angeles-to-Miami flight. He began drinking, recalled the band's then-manager William Siddons in a telephone interview from California.
"Jim was always drunk; that was nothing unusual, " said Siddons, who accompanied Morrison to Miami.
It was supposed to be a homecoming of sorts for Morrison. Born in Melbourne, the son of an admiral, he attended St. Petersburg Junior College and Florida State University before heading west to launch his poet-as-rock-star career.
Things unraveled quickly on stage. Morrison started and stopped in mid song. He peppered the crowd with questions, obscene requests and four-letter words. He called for a revolution among the spectators.
The audience grew angry, hurling insults.
Morrison finally asked: "Do you want to see my c--?"
Miami Beach teen David LeVine, now 56, was at the foot of the stage with his camera.
"I had come expecting to shoot a baby-faced Morrison and was disappointed to find he had a bushy beard and you could hardly tell it was him, " he said.
One of LeVine's pictures, later presented in court, showed Morrison with his hand near the crotch of his pants. "Never saw him expose himself, though, " LeVine said.
Not true, said Theodore Jendry, 59, one of 30 off-duty Miami officers at the concert. "He pulled out his business and started whirling it, " said the retired Jendry, of Deerfield Beach. "He should have been arrested right there."
Siddons, the band's manager, said Morrison knew he had gone too far. On the limo ride back to a Miami Beach hotel, Siddons remembered Morrison telling him: "'Uh, oh, I might have exposed myself out there."
"He didn't do it for prurient reasons. It was theater, " Siddons said. "But it happened in Florida, a real black and white state, and it was the South."