Turned on to the treatment by his third wife, Betsy Drake, Grant submitted himself to weekly sessions with Dr Mortimer Hartman at the Psychiatric Institute of Beverly Hills. The effects were startling. “In one LSD dream I imagined myself as a giant penis launching off from Earth like a spaceship.”Well, hard to know what to say about that without any impropriety.
Yet, despite the silliness of that hallucination, Grant was terribly enthusiastic about the drug as a psychological elixir, at least initially:
“He claimed he was saved by LSD,” explains Mark Kidel, the film’s director. “You have to remember that Cary was a private man. He rarely gave interviews. And yet, after taking acid, he personally contacted Good Housekeeping magazine and said: ‘I want to tell the world about this. It has changed my life. Everyone’s got to take it.’ I’ve also heard that Timothy Leary read this interview, or was told about it, and that his own interest in acid was essentially sparked by Cary Grant.”The article says that his enthusiasm later dampened (after perhaps 100 sessions!), but that early reaction does sound typical of the false promise of mind altering drugs generally, doesn't it? Specifically, it reminds me of the enthusiasm for tripping on mescaline that was the basis of Huxley's The Doors of Perception. (As I have explained before, I actually read that book as a teenager - I think from the high school library, of all places - and found it quite an exciting idea, that a drug could let you see a numinous world as it really is. I was never tempted to actually seek out any hallucinogen, however, realising soon enough that the theory the book promoted was itself a hallucination.)
Anyway, it does seem that Grant was relatively happier late in life, which is pleasing to know for a person who gave so much enjoyment to the world.