[Editor's note: A version of this story appears in the April 2021 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine.]
On July 7, 1967, one of the oddest pairings in the history of television was recorded—stranger than Nixon on “Laugh-In” and more baffling than Bob Dylan’s appearance on the sitcom, “Dharma & Greg.”
As The Doors’ “Light my Fire” hit No. 1 on the charts, the venerable conservative television program, “Firing Line,” hosted by William F. Buckley Jr., sat down with the famously acerbic Groucho Marx, cigar smoke and all. Watching it on YouTube is like viewing an alternative history’s timeline. Surely this cannot be real? Buckley’s questions, as always, seemed to slide out of the side of his mouth. Groucho returned fire like a gunner burdened with too much ammo, somewhat off target.
“I’m completely ill at ease,” Groucho said at one point, to laughter. At another, Buckley, trying to pin down the comedian, noted that Groucho had (again) contradicted himself. “Why does a man have to stick to one thing because he said it once?” Groucho demanded.
This seems like a fairly human thing to say, especially for a guy trying to get laughs. Things change. People change, and so do industries. That change can haunt us.