Monday, June 9, 2008
Free Thinking with John, Yoko and Dick
Some people couldn’t stand his intellectual style of conversation, but Dick Cavett’s way of confronting taboo issues made him a welcome fixture on American television, especially during the turbulent early 1970s.
Cavett had a way of ticking people off. The Wiki article on Cavett includes a quote from the hip talk show host about his experience after the premier of “Candy,” the Ringo Starr film based on a Terry Southern novel.
When the interviewer, Pat Paulsen, got to me, he asked what I thought the critics would say about Candy. I said I didn't think it would be reviewed by the regular critics, that they would have to reconvene the Nuremberg Trials to do it justice. He laughed and asked what I had liked, and I said I liked the lady who showed me the nearest exit so that I would not be forced to vomit indoors.
One person who didn’t care for Cavett’s criticism was President Richard M. Nixon. According to the same Wiki entry, Nixon, as captured on the infamous Watergate tapes, asked "Well, is there any way we can screw him [Cavett]? That's what I mean. There must be ways." H.R. Haldeman, White House Chief of Staff, answered, "We've been trying to."
Conspiracy theorists with selective skepticism regarding mental illness and an equal share of fondness for mind control might suggest that Nixon’s people found a way to inflict the frequent bouts of depression that Cavett has suffered over the years.
When Zakk asked me about the source video for the Lennon interview at the end of 1 - The Wizard of Faul #1, I thought it would be appropriate to report a couple of interesting things about this particular Lennon appearance on the Dick Cavett show, which was taped on September 11, 1971. The clip in the wizardoffaul video came from a Q&A session with audience members near the end of the taping. The taping itself carried on much longer than anticipated because the participants were having such a good time. Surprisingly, the clip in question was immediately after Cavett had a testy exchange with his guest after Lennon suggested that overpopulation was a myth concocted by the government to distract people from other issues.
Cavett: Oh, I think you're wrong about that.
Lennon: Oh, I don't care.
Cavett: ...He doesn't care!
An audience member asked Lennon directly about the Paul Is Dead rumors. John gave the usual denial, but as always there was a certain way that something was said that made you wonder what he meant. Lennon said: "It had nothing to do with me. There is a rumor that he is dead actually." A bit of a smirk was evident.
Aside from being a rare moment when John had to respond directly to a Paul Is Dead question, the Cavett appearance had some other interesting things in it.
Lennon is wearing a military shirt. The fact that he has Sergeant stripes deserves a place on that rapidly growing list of subtle signs that lead back to the Sgt. Pepper album.
But the thing about the show that has been whispered for years concerns another audience member who posed a question to Lennon that day. The audience member is just a little belligerent. In fact, if you watch the entire segment, it appears that the director cut him off sharply as he was trying to hurl another follow-up question.
It is not unusual for some weirdo to overstep the bounds in a situation like this, but the thing that caused Lennon fans to wonder was the person’s physical resemblance to another weirdo who appeared at John’s door during the filming of the recording of the Imagine album. Although the footage was not used in John’s "Imagine" movie from 1971 (which featured Dick Cavett), it did appear in the 1988 "Imagine John Lennon" documentary. In the movie, we see John explaining to the confused hippy that he couldn’t possibly be sending messages to him in his songs. The conversation appears to end in a stalemate at which point John asks him if he is hungry and invites him in for something to eat. It is a poignant moment in the film and it shows us a rare glimpse at John’s soft side. But, it has also caused many to wonder if this person is the same one who was in the audience of the Cavett show and if so, was he stalking John?
Compare this still from the Imagine documentary to the YouTube video capture from the Dick Cavett show above.
There does appear to be a strong resemblance, but the voice sounds different. And if he is the same person that was filmed at Lennon's house, he was either very high or in a much more disturbed mental condition. Perhaps another victim of mind control???
UPDATE: wizardofFaul is back with 2- Wizard of Faul #2