|Pages from Michael Butler's Journal
ABOUT THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS
I write principally about Tommy, as most of my experiences were with him. In our occasional meetings, I found Dick to be very pleasant, more sober, not as manic as Tom.
After opening HAIR in NYC our next shows were in Stockholm and London. We then planned for Los Angeles. I returned to New York and was approached by Tommy’s managers to co-produce in Los Angeles. I was not for this but Tommy was the winning card. He was so much fun I could only want to spend time with him.
This coupled with their well respected brilliance made the decision. I went West first staying at Tommy's. We worked well together. I gather that Kragen, one of the managers, did not like me and found me difficult. I had no such problems with Tom.
Our favorite story came about when Tom O’Horgan, the Director, asked Tom and I to do skit opening the second act. We had no warning. We were to appear with only a silver loin cloth and silvered, feathered war bonnet standing on oil drums. Our bodies were to be painted in silver. The stage revolved in and as it did we were to do the peace sign. O’Horgan brought this up before the entire tribe (cast).
Opening night I was petrified. I had never been on stage nor done anything like that. Midway in the first act Minnie told me I had to do it. I went backstage, got painted. Tommy never showed up so I was revolved on making the peace sign as I went by. The only noise came from the oil drum as my legs were shaking so much.
Tom, Peter Yarrow, Fred Hampton with others were constantly working on finding common cause during those exciting times. We never combined just tried to help one another's interest. I had such respect for Dick and Tom in their fight with the establishment to protect freedom of speech. They were an inspiration. A reason why I produced LENNY.
We had a very successful production in Los Angeles. It ran for years. The last time I saw the Smothers Brothers was in Peoria, very close to my home in Oak Brook. I went to see them. They were just as great as ever. Astonishing with such talent and just as squirrally as ever.
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