Grateful Dead - Frankenstein, 1966

FD-22 poster by Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley for Grateful Dead and Sopwith Camel with picture of Frankenstein, August 1966


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Frankenstein is a rare early Family Dog Avalon Ballroom poster for the Grateful Dead and this piece features a quirky image of what we think is Glenn Strange as Frankenstein's monster (Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein) and bears an extra signature by both artists (Kelley is dead). In the image, the monster looks quite stoned and evidently the artists were just as toasted as when they created this poster as they mispelled the name of the band!


According to Poster Expert Eric King, the Grateful Dead were without a logo and the SF poster artists had been trying to supply that inspiration to the band when they had a chance to highlight them in a poster. This was the second try, following Wes Wilson’s, “The Quick and The Dead” poster from June of 1966 featuring a Jose Posada image. While Frankenstein did not win, the third time was the charm as the poster Mouse and Kelley designed for the Dead in September 1966 featured the well-known skeleton and roses image and the rest was history.


Sopwith Camel was a one-hit wonder. In late 1965, Peter Kraemer, the group’s vocalist and lyricist, had dreamed up the name for the band while living in Haight-Ashbury at 1090 Page Street, the infamous twenty-five-room Victorian house with the basement ballroom where Big Brother and the Holding Company rehearsed and performed. During the flowering of San Francisco’s counterculture, everybody wanted to be in a band and Kraemer was no exception. He ran into guitarist Terry MacNeil at a bookstore, and within a week they had written eight songs, including a good-time novelty tune, “Hello, Hello,” which would later chart in February 1967. But within six months — immediately following the release of its debut album — the band was defunct and slipping from public consciousness, so much so that the album carried a sticker reminding buyers, “Remember Hello Hello!”

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