Writer Paul Krassner shares his recollections about the 1968 acid-comedy film Skidoo directed by Otto Preminger. The movie has its first 35mm screening in Los Angeles in over 25 years on Saturday July 14 at the Mods & Rockers Film Festival in Hollywood.
Timothy Leary had a certain sense of pride about the prominent people he and his associates had introduced to the psychedelic revolution. He once told me the names of some of the folks whose lives had been changed by taking LSD. Among them: director Otto Preminger, actor Cary Grant, conservative think-tanker Herman Kahn, Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson, Time magazine publishers Henry and Clare Booth Luce.
"But," Leary told me, "I consider Otto Preminger one of our failures."
...(Preminger's) Skidoo was pro-acid propaganda thinly disguised as a comedy adventure. However, LSD was not the reason that the FBI was annoyed with the film. Rather, according to Gleason's FBI files, they objected to one scene in the script where a file cabinet is stolen from an FBI building. Gleason was later approved as a special FBI contact in the entertainment business.
One of the characters in Skidoo was a Mafia chieftain named God. Screenwriter Bill Cannon had suggested Groucho Marx for the part. Preminger said it wasn't a good idea, but since they were already shooting, and that particular character was needed on the set in three days, Groucho got the job. During one scene, Preminger was screaming instructions at him.
Groucho yelled back, "Are you drunk?"
When Skidoo was released in 1968, Tim Leary saw it, and he cheerfully admitted, "I was fooled by Otto Preminger. He's much hipper than me."
Krassner's just got tons of good stories, doesn't he?
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