Hunter S. Thompson vs. To Tell the Truth (1967)


“… In what is perhaps the most gloriously absurd author/game show crossover, a contractually-obligated (?) Hunter S. Thompson and his two impostors tread the boards before perennial To Tell the Truth panelists Peggy Cass, Kitty Carlisle, and Tom Poston. … Of the three ‘Thompsons,’ the genuine #2 stands awkwardly at center, wearing slacks that appear a size too small, a white T-shirt, and a droopy vest that looks as if it’s been smuggled out of a community theater’s Shakespeare wardrobe. His posture is self-conscious; his visage, anemic. He is flanked by one man who looks like James Dean with a goatee and another who’s dressed like Marlon Brando in The Wild One. The producers have clearly pitched Thompson as ‘the one you’d least expect,’ but the effect is essentially comic. Bud Collyer reads us the clue: I, Hunter Thompson, am a writer. Recently, I spent over a year living in close contact with a notorious California motorcycle gang called the Hell’s Angels. I found the Hell’s Angels to be an elite organization of outlaws and hoodlums whose philosophy is violence. They dress in filthy leather or denim jackets with their insignia on the back: a winged skull wearing a motorcycle helmet. Although I never actually became a member, for over a year I drank with the Hell’s Angels, talked with their leaders, and recorded their involvement with dope. I watched them terrorize and intimidate communities as they roared through the streets on stripped down motorcycles called ‘chopped hogs.’ My time spent with this gang came to an abrupt and violent close after an argument with a group of Hell’s Angels. They knocked me down and stomped me. I ended up in the hospital. But I had this story, which is the basis of my new book called, simply, Hell’s Angels. … During the questioning, it becomes immediately apparent that the celebrity panelists are terrified of anything relating to counterculture. Half of the questions center on the horrors of LSD, and when Peggy Cass asks the real Thompson which writer is most involved with the drug, he ‘narcs’ on Ken Kesey, whose hallucinogenic exploits were well-known. Throughout, Thompson is lethargic and clearly hates being on television; it’s like watching a child squirm through church service. Kitty Carlisle, done up in a bouffant and looking like she’s just departed cocktail hour at Martha’s Vineyard, quizzes the players about Kesey and his gang as if she’s a local D.A. shaking down potential perps. …”
epiphany zine
Open Cuture: A Young Hunter S. Thompson Appears on the Classic TV Game Show, To Tell the Truth (Video)
YouTube: Hunter Thompson on “To Tell the Truth” (February 20, 1967)

About 1960s: Days of Rage

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This entry was posted in Gonzo journalism, Haight-Ashbury, Hunter S. Thompson, Ken Kesey, LSD, Marijuana, Merry Pranksters, TV and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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