Now Playing: Dream "Living In A Dream" LP
Listening to some old Tim Leary LPs recently (the Mercury one still kills after all these years) I was reminded to look into the mystery of the old movie for which the "Turn On Tune In Drop Out" LP is the supposed original soundtrack. While the album is easy to find, evidence of a finished movie actually existing is scant. However, I came across some old newspaper ads that seemed to indicate that the film did exist in a finished state that was shown in Los Angeles theatres for a little while, at least. In view of its completely forgotten state today, this seemed unlikely, so I ran the whole thing by one of Leary's associates, who provided the following excellent input:
"The movie was made and released. It played about a week in LA (only?) in 1967, and was pulled (suppressed, likely, or maybe just bad reviews and poor box office, or a combination of things) and never released again. Ralph Metzner, who had the major role in the movie, owned a 3rd generation copy on videotape which he screened in Petaluma in the late '90s (Rosemary and I were there and spoke), so I saw the whole thing. It's a film version of "Death of the Mind," the Hesse/ Magic Theatre dramatization staged at the Psychdedelic Celebrations in NY in the mid-60s. Tim narrated, Rosemary played the Guide, Ralph the first-time tripper. I enjoyed watching it--the audience (100 or so) loved it; some of the special effects were said to be co-opted by the makers of 2001, which I don't doubt as underground light show artists were hired to work on it. It didn't exactly work as a movie but is totally amazing as a psychedelic document from the heart of the era. People have been contacting me for years if I knew the whereabouts of the movie; some of them went to MGM in hopes of finding it but no one did. Joanna Leary said she had a copy and screened it at a benefit for Tim but I could never confirm this or where she got it. I don't know whether the studio lost it. It's hard to believed they destroyed it. But it's very much a mystery why no copies of the 35mm film have been located. Somebody should look into this!"
Indeed! in view of the substantial interest in the Kesey/Prankster movie project recently, a similar enterprise involving the 1967 trip movie would be a big deal, not least since Leary's "brand name recognition" is much higher. Hopefully someone with the right resources will wake up with this idea one morning.