The new received wisdom is that Cary Grant was the ultimate Captain Trips — the guy who inspired Timothy Leary to look into LSD, and in so doing became a prime influencer and seminal counter-culture figure. Not actually but, you know, in a roundabout, cosmic-linkage, one-thing-leads-to-the-next-thing way.
“Turn off your mind, relax and float upstream…it is not dying, it is being”…that’s Cary! Okay, I might be pushing the connection a bit, but if you’ve ever been “experienced”, you wouldn’t be far off the mark to regard Cary Grant as your brother, your father…the guy holding your hand.
Brooks describes the doc, which he’s apparently seen, as an exploration of “Grant’s adventures in psychedelia.” The doc reports that the famously debonair actor dropped LSD 100 times between 1958 and 1961. Wade into that. Not 10, 20 or 50 but 100 sessions.
I riffed about this on May 4th but the Brooks article got me going again.
“Like all documentary makers, we started out looking at the construction of Cary Grant,” producer Nick Ware tells Brooks. “But we ended up deconstructing him through the LSD sessions.”
“[Grant] claimed he was saved by LSD,” explains Kidel, the film’s director. “You have to remember that Cary was a private man. He rarely gave interviews. And yet, after taking acid, he personally contacted Good Housekeeping magazine and said: ‘I want to tell the world about this. It has changed my life. Everyone’s got to take it.’
“I’ve also heard that Timothy Leary read this interview, or was told about it, and that his own interest in acid was essentially sparked by Cary Grant.”
In other words, the guy who launched 100,000 voyages across the cosmic sea and did more to transform the spiritual template of American culture than any other factor was not Leary, not Richard Alpert, not Alan Watts, not Ken Kesey or Augustus Owsley Stanley, not Allen Ginsberg, not the Beatles and not Jerry Garcia but Cary fucking Grant.
What will Daisy Ridley say about this?