George Harrison and John Lennon did LSD with Peter Fonda. However, a journalist from the straight world named Don Short was present. He peppered The Beatles with square questions.
“I was swimming across the pool when I heard a noise because it makes your senses so acute,” said Harrison. “I felt this bad vibe and I turned around and it was Don Short from The Daily Mirror. He’d been hounding us all through the tour, pretending in his phoney baloney way to be friendly but, really, trying to nail us.”
The bad vibes sent George Harrison into the pits of hell, convinced that he was dying. “I told him there was nothing to be afraid of and that all he needed to do was relax,” said Peter Fonda. “I said that I knew what it was like to be dead because when I was 10 years old I’d accidentally shot myself … and my heart stopped beating three times while I was on the operating table. John [Lennon] was [walking by] at the time and heard me saying ‘I know what it’s like to be dead.’ He looked at me and said, 'You’re making me feel like I’ve never been born. Who put all that shit in your head?”
Lennon confirmed the story. And he said that The Beatles did not yet understand the crucial importance of set and setting in ensuring a positive acid trip. “We still didn’t know anything about doing it in a nice place and cool it and all that. We just took it. And all of a sudden we saw the reporter and we’re thinking, 'How do we act normal?’ We thought, 'Surely somebody can see.’ We were terrified, waiting for him to go. And Peter Fonda came, that was another thing, and he kept on saying, 'I know what it’s like to be dead.’ We said, 'What?’ And he kept saying it, and we were saying, 'For chrissake, shut up.’ But he kept going on about it. That’s how I wrote She Said She Said.”
David Crosby and Roger McGuinn from The Byrds showed up and placed purple microdot on their tongues. “There were girls at the gates, police guards,” said McGuinn. “We went in and David, John Lennon, George Harrison and I took LSD to help get to know each other better. There was a large bathroom in the house and we were all sitting on the edge of a shower passing around a guitar, taking turns to play our favorite songs. John and I agreed Be-Bop-A-Lula was our favorite 1950s rock record.”
Meanwhile, Art Linkletter ranted. “[The] Beatles are one of the worst offenders. They have included in a great many of their songs, as we all know, complete and total descriptions of drug trips and mentions of it. And in their own lifestyle, being idols of the kids, have openly admitted – some of them – to taking drugs of all kinds. And so as an example for the young people, The Beatles have been a terrible, terrible illustration.”
Sitting poolside at Zsa Zsa Gabor’s Benedict Canyon home, a number of young actors showed up that evening. A drive-in print of a new movie starring Lee Marvin and Jane Fonda called Cat Ballou (1965) had been attained. The film was projected and those tripping gathered round. It was an experimental film print which contained a laugh track. Columbia Pictures was considering adding laughtracks to motion pictures in the same way they dominated television sitcoms.
“Columbia Pictures is experimenting with an unprecedented use of laughtracks as a possible aid in selling comedy releases in drive-ins,” reported Variety. “Studio spokesman on Friday confirmed testing on the laughtrack machine invented by Charlie Douglass and used extensively in television. Machine would be used to add laughtracks on comedy films, specifically to be experiemented on the upcoming Cat Ballou.”
“It was a drive-in print of Cat Ballou - the audience response dubbed onto it,” said George Harrison. “It was bizarre, watching this on acid.”
(THIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE NEXT BOOK BY YOURS TRULY)