Original photographer:
Irving Penn
Irving Penn

Bill Ganzel


Alan Stone – "The Incredibles by Penn"

Alan Stone

Alan Stone at home. He is now very religious, but he still has an eclectic musical taste. Portland Oregon, July 2019.

"The Originals." Members of the Family Dog musical promotion group. Alan Stone – AKA "The Dude" – is standing at top right. San Francisco, 1967, photo by Irving Penn.

In late 1968, photographer Irving Penn produced a series of photographs of "The Incredibles" – hippies, Hell's Angels, and rock stars from San Francisco. LOOK wrote that for these individuals, "a life style becomes a statement about the world and, in a sense, a work of art." In six photographs, all shot against a neutral backdrop built out of concrete specifically for these pictures, Penn captured the counterculture that helped define the Sixties.

The photo "The Originals," above, featured members of the Family Dog, a group of friends who were putting on rock shows with the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and others. The leader of the group was Chet Helms who is seated in the center of the photo. Chet died in 2005. Alan Stone is "The Dude" (as he describes himself, now) standing to the right. The woman to the right foreground is Mary Ellen Kasper who now lives near Boston. The man to the far left foreground is Robert Dries who still lives in San Francisco. Many of the others have passed on.

Stone was the announcer and DJ at many of the shows. He remembers that he was probably the one who told LOOK, "I believe that people live in terms of the images they see around them. If a person exists in a city of linear and rectilinear buildings and streets, with a sky shadowed by the loom of buildings, he begins to feel himself that way. He becomes square so he can fit in with the background… I think the real background is the planet Earth."

Stone says that those were indeed heady times (no pun intended). For him, it was a time of sex, drugs and rock and roll. He knew most of the Bay Area bands that played at the Avalon Ballroom that the Family Dog booked. He says that women would volunteer to sleep with him, the announcer, thinking they could get close to the bands. And the drugs were plentiful.

ALan StoneBut it all became too much. Stone now says that too many lost souls descended on the Haight Ashbury and that the scene changed when speed and meth became ubiquitous. So he took his own advice, got out of the big city, and moved to Portland Oregon. Today he is retired from a career in public radio and lives with his wife in a quiet neighborhood. He is still passionate about a wide variety of music. He is active in his Jewish faith and often paints works with Jewish themes.

Alan Stone in Portland OR