follow us in feedly
Paul Krassner: I dropped acid with Groucho Marx
10:49 am


Paul Krassner
Groucho Marx

Paul Krassner has lived a remarkable life, with singular experiences including publishing The Realist, acting as editor of Hustler, becoming a “one-man underground railroad of abortion referrals,” testifying at the Chicago 7 trial while tripping on acid, co-founding the Yippies, and so forth.

Not the least of his adventures was the time he acted as “sort of a guide for Groucho Marx” for Groucho’s first acid trip.

As he wrote in the February 1981 issue of High Times, “We ingested those little white tabs one afternoon at the home of an actress in Beverly Hills.” At the end of the anecdote, Groucho says that he is looking forward to playing “God” in Skidoo, the legendary cult movie from 1968 directed by Otto Preminger in which Groucho smokes pot, so the timing of this acid story must have been late 1967 or early 1968. Wikipedia asserts that Groucho took acid to “prepare” for Skidoo, but Krassner’s article definitely does not say that. In fact, Krassner’s article is something of a mishmash, covering 3-4 different stories, and he doesn’t really explain anything about what led to his acid trip with Groucho. Here’s a little bit of what they did do, though:

We had long periods of silence and of listening to music. I was accustomed to playing rock ‘n’ roll while tripping, but the record collection here was all classical and Broadway show albums. After we heard the Bach “Cantata No. 7” Groucho said, “I may be Jewish, but I was seeing the most beautiful visions of Gothic cathedrals. Do you think Bach knew he was doing that?”

Later, we were listening to the score of a musical comedy Fanny. There was one song called “Welcome Home,” where the lyrics go something like, “Welcome home, says the clock,” and the chair says, “Welcome home,” and so do various other pieces of furniture. Groucho started acting out each line as if he were actually being greeted by the duck, the chair and so forth. He was like a child, charmed by his own ability to respond to the music that way.

He also says, remarkably, that “the acid with which Ram Dass, in his final moments as Dick Alpert, failed to get his guru higher was the same acid that I had the honor of taking with Groucho Marx.”

There’s a lot more in the article, so read the full thing here.

Interestingly, in his account Krassner mentions the tour buses of Haight-Ashbury hippiedom of the late 1960s, which DM covered just a couple of weeks ago.

It’s not acid, but here’s a little clip from Skidoo with Groucho smoking reefer:

Hat tip: Showbiz Imagery and Chicanery

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Groucho Marx roasts Johnny Carson, 1968
11:25 am


Johnny Carson
Groucho Marx

Groucho Marx “honors” Johnny Carson at his Friars’ Club roast, broadcast on The Kraft Music Hall program on October 23, 1968. Six years prior (October 1, 1962), Marx introduced Carson on his very first Tonight Show.

Others there to “honor” the talk show king were Don Rickles, New York’s then-mayor John Lindsay, Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen, Dick Cavett and host Alan King.

Carson gets roasted by Dean Martin, Redd Foxx, Truman Capote and many others after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Great heads of the 20th Century: Groucho Marx’s marijuana diet
04:52 pm


Groucho Marx

In 1943, Groucho Marx wrote a letter to U.S. troops stationed in Suriname in 1943 in a gesture of solidarity. It’s quite funny and the mention of marijuana in 1943 proves Groucho was a head of his time.


August 18, 1943.

Dear Corporal Darrow,

You asked me if I have a message for the soldiers in the jungle. I could probably send one but it would be collect and would only run into money. I imagine it’s difficult enough to stay awake on those lonely islands without having to read messages from me.

I don’t want you to worry much about the 4-Fs back home—true, we have been deprived of a few things but nothing of any importance. We don’t get much meat any more—the butcher shops have nothing in them but customers. Fortunately, I don’t rely on the stores for my vegetables. Last spring I was smart enough to plant a Victory garden. So far, I have raised a family of moles, enough snails to keep a pre-French restaurant running for a century and a curious looking plant that I have been eating all summer under the impression that it was a vegetable. However, for the past few weeks, I’ve had difficulty in remaining awake and this morning I discovered that I had been munching on marijuana the whole month of July.

Anyhow, we miss all you boys (I have a son in the Coast Guard) and we wish you were all back again raising hell and children. We are doing what little we can to further the war effort—we buy bonds, play service camps and short-wave broadcasts to our soldiers on the foreign fronts. We drive carefully, we take no vacations and, in general, do what we can. God knows it’s little enough. We all know that you boys are doing the real job.

In closing, all I can say is good luck, God bless you all and hurry home—remember, America is pretty empty without you kids.

(Signed, ‘Groucho’)”


Via Letters Of Note

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Beatnik TV: Lord Buckley on the Groucho Marx Show, 1956

In 1956 hipster humorist Lord Buckley appeared on TV game show You Bet Your Life hosted by Groucho Marx. This was a meeting of two brilliant minds and it’s hard to believe that it actually occurred on network television. But, Buckley was so underground that the viewing audience was clueless as to who he was. While he’s rather low-key on the program, he still manages to slip some of his bebop prose into the mix. The ‘housewife’ Buckley’s teamed up with is a pretty cool broad herself. In contrast to the two contestants, Groucho comes off a bit square.
As an added attraction, I’ve included a rare clip of Buckley’s appearance on TV’s Club 7 circa 1949.

more Buckley after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment