It's not exactly mind-blowing to learn that famous people, DUN-DUN-DUNNN, like to drink and take drugs. That's just part of the package of becoming a celebrity, alongside nonstop tanning and a newfound passion for anal bleaching. Lots of non-famous people like partying too, but the difference is that when you go on a bender, all you get is a headache and itchy underpants. When famous people get trashed, they produce amazing stories like ...
The Beatles were all about love -- the love of life, the love of people, and most notably, the love of tripping balls on LSD. One of the most enduring mysteries in all of popular culture is how these lads, an angelic boy band who set the world aflame with nary a swear word or swaggering hip, wound up like this.
Oh, that's easy. They got hooked at, of all things, a classy dinner party held by one of their non-musical friends.
Back in 1965, John Lennon and George Harrison, along with their wives, were finishing up at a dinner party held by a mutual dentist friend when he offered them a last-minute cup of coffee. Being polite partygoers, the four partook ... only to be informed that the sugar cubes they'd used had been soaked in LSD. (They should have known something was off when a dentist kept insisting on giving them sugar.) Lennon was furious and yelled, "How dare you fucking do this to us?" at their host. This was the early years for LSD culture, remember. The only thing everyone knew about the drug was that it turned people into crazy, violent assholes -- something John Lennon would know nothing about.
Panic-stricken, the foursome left the party and decided to head somewhere safe and relaxing: a London nightclub. They didn't make it past the elevator before they started screaming about an imaginary fire. After the nightmare-vision stage finished up, the gang settled down into a blissful peace. As Harrison described it, "I had such an overwhelming feeling of well-being, that there was a God, and I could see him in every blade of grass. It was like gaining hundreds of years of experience in 12 hours." Meanwhile, Lennon observed that "George's house seemed to be just like a big submarine." He didn't mention the color, but you can take a guess.
After the LSD wore off, George and John decided that Paul and Ringo had to get in on the act, not only because they wanted to see Ringo shit himself in terror as a train sporting a human face bore down on him (an experience he would later immortalize in his work on Thomas The Tank Engine), but also because they didn't think they could relate to those two anymore, the narc-y plebs. The band eventually downed some gear together and went on to make musical history, as well as give everyone false expectations about how productive you can be while stoned.
As we all know, Jean-Paul Sartre was a highly influential philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, biographer, and literary critic, and it's a coincidence that we're listing those in the same order as Wikipedia. But before he became he man we know and love and, again, definitely know, he was an average student at Paris's Ecole Normale Superieure -- "average" in that he loved himself some drugs. One day he decided to try taking mescaline under the paper-thin guise of wanting to study his own mental processes, but he wound up taking too high a dose, which caused him to suffer terrifying hallucinations of ... um, sea creatures.
You know, octopi, crabs, jellyfish, lobsters -- that sort of thing. The kicker? Sartre apparently OD'd so brilliantly that it took years for the imaginary aquatic animals to wear off. They stuck around so long that he made friends with them. As he described it in an interview:
"I got used to them. I would wake up in the morning and say, 'Good morning, my little ones, how did you sleep?' I would talk to them all the time. I would say, 'OK, guys, we're going to class now, so we have to be still and quiet,' and they would be there, around my desk, absolutely still, until the bell rang."
What we want to know is how Nickelodeon ended up with the rights to Sartre's underwater friends, and why they replaced him with a talking sponge.
As much as everyone mocks the '60s Batman TV show, it deserves major props for how wholesome it was. There was no sex, no guns, and no gore, just Adam West and Burt Ward KAPOW'ing criminals in the face (or ill-disguised mustache) and making bad jokes all the livelong day. Not like, well ... whatever bullshit is going on in Titans these days.
The thing is, this wholesome persona wasn't something that the cast dropped at the end of the day. They carried it everywhere -- and we mean everywhere. Case in point, one of West's favorite stories to tell about Frank Gorshin, the actor who played the Riddler, was that time they got drunk and decided to crash a "Hollywood party," only to find that they'd wandered into an orgy. This is like the LA version of stepping on dog shit in New York.
Says West: "So I immediately went into the Batman character, and Frank went into the Riddler character, because we were getting the big giggles. It was so funny to us, what we walked into. And we were kicked out ... we were expelled from the orgy." Honestly, we still can't get over the fact that West even knew the word "orgy."
20th Century Fox
Of course, it's not like West didn't have experience in orgy-type situations. Apparently there was nothing that got the free-lovin' women of the '60s hotter than glorified cosplayers, and so West and Ward would regularly find themselves getting down with batgroupies at all hours of the day, with the downside being that they were limited to quickies, on account of needing to spend precious minutes squeezing out of their tight costumes.
So it's pretty much a given that they fucked in the suits on at least a couple of occasions, right? Yeah, we thought so too.
20th Century Fox
Depending on who you ask, Karl Marx was either A) some random guy they've kinda heard about, B) one of the most influential thinkers in the history of civilization, or C) an indescribable villain who wanted to turn the world into Venezuela before Venezuela was even Venezuela, the time-traveling commie prick.
Or there's D) lovable drunk and ruckus-starter.
Back in the 1850s, Marx was living in London alongside fellow philosophers and beard-havers Wilhelm Liebknecht and Edgar Bauer. One night, as young men are wont to do, they decided to embark on a pub crawl across London's Tottenham Court Road, which was more drinking dens than actual roadway. (Fun fact: You can still follow the exact same route today!) Surprisingly for a group comprised solely of philosophy nerds, it went pretty well ... at least until the trio entered one bar and started a banter war with an equally drunk group of men.
Perhaps in a foretelling of Germany's prowess at all things war, the argument ended with our heroes spilling out onto the streets and very, very eager to avoid getting their beards kicked in.
But the fun wasn't over yet. The trio were wandering the streets when Bauer tripped over some uninstalled paving stones and, in an act of hilarity that only makes sense to the drunk, repaid the favor by throwing a stone through a street lamp. This act proved so fun that Marx and Liebknecht decided to join in and help Bauer rack up a kill count of four or five lamps. The noise attracted some nearby police officers and the group ran for it, only managing to escape by diving unseen into a side street and waiting for their pursuers to disappear, like an old-timey version of Grand Theft Auto.
The trio safely made their way back home, but spent the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders due to vows of vengeance from the lamps' children.
It's almost a cliche to describe the '80s as the drunkenest, sexingest, cocainenest era in history, but some cliches exist for a reason. In this case, that reason is in no small part the Mutiny Hotel, a happenin' hot spot that was part Sodom and Gomorrah and part Moe's Tavern for many big stars.
The Mutiny Hotel was a bar and hotel (duh) situated in Miami's illustrious Coconut Grove, which placed it not only in the middle of celebrity turf, but also at the point through which most cocaine was entering the U.S. The Mutiny, then, was the place where these two forces smashed into each other with wild abandon. At any given time, the club would be filled with drug lords, celebrities, sports stars, the occasional murderer, and oh right, local cops and CIA agents.
In any sane universe, this combination would have resulted in the walls, ceilings, and foundations being painted with blood and other bodily fluids every night, but no. The Mutiny was a free-trade zone where everyone could leave business at the door and just relax, chill, and partake in any substances they wanted, through any orifice they wanted. On the off-chance that the joint was raided, the champagne cave reportedly contained a secret chest where gun-having types could lock up their pieces, while the waitresses had an early warning system (pagers!) to catch out any law enforcement sneaking up on the premises.
As for the celebrities who partook in the Mutiny's hospitality, where do we start? Alongside Jackie O, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, and Stevie Nicks, the Mutiny was the de facto hangout for the Miami Dolphins -- so much so that majority owner Earl Smalley, Jr. had this own private suite in the hotel, complete with awe-inspiring decor, breathtaking views of the pool, and a "pink pneumatic [sex] bench."
Among the actors who frequented the hotel was Arnold Schwarzenegger, who liked to spend his time hitting on the waitresses (causing one to wonder aloud how "she could possibly mount this beast"), and Miami Vice stars Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, thanks to a deal cut between the club's owner and a producer to keep the cast well-stocked with nose powder.
At its peak, the Mutiny not only had its own private jet for collecting high-rollers, but was also reportedly selling more bottles of Dom Perignon than any other drinking den on the planet. But the good times couldn't last. The public outcry over the antics at the Mutiny, combined with the fact that the club had gotten so infamous that it'd inspired parts of some dumb movie about drugs, forced the owners to sell up in 1984 for the bargain price of $17.5 million. The new owners tried to shake off the bar's rep, but it ended in disaster and the Mutiny's foreclosure in 1986.
Some local residents say that when the sea is quiet and the air is still, you can still hear the voice of Rick James begging for one last hit.
Adam Wears is on Twitter and Facebook, and has a newsletter dedicated to depressing history facts. It's not as heartbreakingly sad as it sounds, promise!
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