Groucho was going to be in this movie Skidoo, that was directed by Otto Preminger. Now, Otto Preminger had been given LSD by Tim Leary, who loved to turn opinion makers into acid heads. And so, Groucho, who had previously expressed in a letter to a journalist friend of mine that he was curious about LSD.1 He had already smoked marijuana as the — in fact the name Groucho came from the little kind of leather bag that the Marx Brothers carried around with them, with their stash.2 So, when I — I went to LA for some reasons, and when it was being filmed — and he was a reader of The Realist, and we had lunch. And he had read my description of taking LSD in The Realist, and so he asked me if I could get him any that was safe, it wasn’t spiked with arsenic or something. So, I said I could, and he invited me to join him on his trip.
And so, he was really curious about the counter-culture, and he realized and said that he understood now that they trusted their friends more than the government, he wasn’t too happy about politicians from Lyndon Johnson we called a potato head, to Richard Nixon, who he said should be assassinated. And I remember during the acid trip, he was talking about one of his favorite contestants on his game show, when — he’d always do a mini interview with them before he started — they started asking him the questions. And so there was an elderly man there who Groucho Marx remembered — remarked how interesting he was, in that this elderly man was really very upbeat — and he asked him how so, and the elderly man said that well, “Every morning I get up and I make a decision to be happy that day,” and Groucho was just so intrigued by that, because he hadn’t thought in terms of that you had a choice. And so, he remembered that, and probably tried it out himself every morning, who knows.