The Doors come Full Circle with the final album in 1972

In 1972 The Doors’ “Full Circle” album package was considered “One Of The Most Creative Covers Of All Time” by Rolling Stone Magazine. Concept by Ernie Cefalu and Illustrated by Joe Garnett the package’s construction is unique as it is the very first interactive package that combines both visual and audio elements. 

There are 2 additional panels that detach and then construct into a zoetrope and pedestal. It is then placed through the spinal onto the record’s label. The height is enough for the player’s arm and needle to clear and as the record plays the fan while listening to the music while viewing the “Full Circle” of life animation.

Joe Garnett grew up in the small town of Plainview, Texas. After a rough childhood, he found his passion in painting and drawing. In Los Angeles, he found work as an album cover artist doing work for The Doors, Alice Cooper, Aretha Franklin and more.

Interview for Goldmine Magazine with Robby Krieger about the 50th anniversary of The Door’s Full Circle

Goldmine: So let’s talk a little bit about the artwork because this was something very unique for The Doors: Every album that preceded this had a photo of the band on the cover. Even Strange Days, while it didn’t have a photo of the band on the cover, if you turned it over there was a little bill stuck to the wall that had a photo of The Doors on it. What was the reason behind changing that precedent and going to the artwork?

Robby Krieger: I wish I could remember why we did that, I really don’t know. I think some guy, whoever did the painting, had shown it to us, and we really dug it and just said, “Hey, let this be the cover.”

Goldmine: The guy who did the artwork for this is a good friend of mine, Ernie Cefalu. He’s actually the most prolific album cover artist in the world. Do you remember the Cheech and Chong record Big Bambú? The one with the giant rolling paper in it? That was him also along with Full Circle. He also did The Rolling Stones’ logo, Alice Cooper’s School’s Out — the one that folded into a desk. He did Long John Silver for Jefferson Airplane. It folded into a box that you could clean your weed in. So you’re in some very esteemed company with this album. This album is famous on its own. And it’s also the most interactive album that was ever created.

Robby Krieger: Really?

Goldmine: Yes. Do you know the whole thing about the zoetrope and how the album is all perforated and you pulled bits out of it?

Robby Krieger: No, I don’t have any idea about that.

Goldmine: Well, basically, the album comes with a cardboard insert with all these perforated pieces. You pull them apart, put them together, and it turns into something called a zoetrope. You place it on the label on the record, and as it turns it depicts an animation of the circle of life. It’s almost like an old nickelodeon.

Robby Krieger: Oh, that’s right. God, I forgot all about that!

Goldmine: That’s something that you absolutely can’t do with a CD!