Come See Me Sometime
There is a nifty article about Cary Grant and LSD on the web now. It seems Mr. Grant, the onetime Archibald Leach, had a few issues. Duh. Married five times. Widely rumored to the the bf of Randolph Scott. A talented actor, but a mess in the real world.
In 1956, Mr. Grant was with third wife Betsy Drake, who had a tough summer. “It was an open secret between cast and crew alike that the married Cary Grant was sleeping with Sophia Loren during their filming of The Pride and The Passion. Drake had flown to Italy to be by her husband’s side during the shoot only to find Grant ignoring her. Distraught, she fled on what was to be a quiet voyage on the SS Andrea Doria. On July 25, 1956 her quiescent journey turned into a nightmare. The ship collided with a Swedish ocean liner off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, sinking to the bottom of the Sea and claiming fifty-one lives.2 Betsy survived but was traumatized. The incident, coupled with the estrangement of her husband, haunted her in her sleep.”
Betsy Drake had a friend named Sally Brophy, an actress. Miss Brophy also received help from a psychiatrist, which included taking LSD. Eventually, Cary Grant started to go see this doctor.
Taking a legal trip, in a Hollywood doctor’s office, is not like going to a rave. It was seen as therapy, a way of learning how to deal with your problems. According to Cary Grant, it worked very well. He talked about it to a reporter, and then confirmed that he wanted this to go out to the public.
“The shock of each revelation brings with it an anguish of sadness for what was not known before in the wasted years of ignorance and, at the same time, an ecstasy of joy at being freed from the shackles of such ignorance … I learned many things in the quiet of that room … I learned that everything is or becomes its own opposite … it releases inhibition. You know, we are all unconsciously holding our anus. In one LSD dream I shit all over the rug and shit all over the floor. Another time I imagined myself as a giant penis launching off from earth like a spaceship … I seemed to be in a world of healthy, chubby little babies’ legs and diapers, smeared blood, a sort of general menstrual activity taking place … As a philosopher once said, you cannot judge the day until the night ..”
The only problem was, Mr. Grant had a movie coming out, “Operation Petticoat”. The studio “tripped out” when it heard the star of the show was praising LSD in the press. Mr. Grant had a share in the profits of the film, and was persuaded to call the reporter and recant on the interview.
Not everyone was impressed by the doctors that Mr. Grant used. “Aldous Huxley had encountered the clinic prior to his death, but had sought his LSD experiences from the parallel practice of Dr. Oscar Janiger, the other acid doctor to the stars. Huxley witnessed Chandler and Hartman’s work and was unnerved by their approach. “We met two Beverly Hills psychiatrists the other day,” he wrote, “who specialise in LSD therapy at $100 a shot – and, really, I have seldom met people of lower sensitivity, more vulgar mind! To think of people made vulnerable by LSD being exposed to such people is profoundly disturbing.”
In any event, LSD became criminalized, Doctors Chandler and Hartman got in trouble, and Cary Grant got married two more times. While Grant never renounced LSD, he refused to use any other illegal drug, even marijuana. He was a conservative old fogey.
Maureen Donaldson was the lover of Cary Grant in the seventies, and was a friend of Alice Cooper. She finally persuaded Mr. Grant to go to an Alice Cooper concert with her. He wore sunglasses, gold chains, and dressed like a “seedy agent”. He sat through the entire show, wearing earplugs, hating every minute of it.
As Miss Donaldson recalled the evening “Driving back to Los Angeles, I congratulated Cary for being such a good sport … He’d made an extraordinary effort to please me … [I asked him] ‘You really hated it, didn’t you?’ ‘It’s…’ he said, struggling for words, ‘you know what it’s like? Remember I told you about the time I took LSD in my doctor’s office and shat all over his rug and floor?’ ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Well now I know how that poor doctor felt.”
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost