S oon after Janiger opened his office to experimental trippers, word of mouth prompted an unending stream of volunteers. Many of those eagerly rapping on Janiger’s door had already read The Doors of Perception, which dealt with Huxley’s experiences with another hallucinogen, mescaline. Others had fallen under the spell of acid proselyte Timothy Leary, who was rapidly becoming LSD’s loudest and most reckless cheerleader, urging a new generation of hipsters to "turn on, tune in and drop out." Still other seekers had picked up on the Beat poets’ positive vibe about psychotropic drugs. And the Hollywood grapevine had hipped the show-biz community to the fact that Janiger’s office was where it was at. "It was a mystery to me how the word got around so fast," says Janiger. "People were calling all the time. From everywhere. It spread geometrically. People would tell their friends and then those friends would tell theirfriends. Consequently, we got a good sample, and we chose people to fill out the demographic picture of our scheme. Still, it took a certain kind of person, I imagine, to be curious or interested enough." To be sure, Janiger wasn’t the only researcher dispensing experimental acid in the Los Angeles region. Some professional shrinks were already using LSD in their practices; Cary Grant took his first five dozen or so trips in the offices of Drs. Arthur Chandler and Mortimer Hartmann. At UCLA, psychiatrist Sydney Cohen was conducting his own LSD studies. It was Cohen who turned on Henry Luce, the consummate Cold Warrior and president of Time-Life. Cohen also gave LSD to Luce’s gadabout wife, Clare Boothe Luce. The Luces took half a dozen trips during the late 1950s and early 1960s, and Henry claimed that on one such magical mystery tour he had chatted up God on a golf course. Clare thought that LSD was well and good for the elite, but definitely not indicated for the hoi polloi: "We wouldn’t want everyone doing too much of a good thing," she sniffed. By the late 1950s, a salon of psychedelic dilettantes had sprung up around Oscar Janiger. Everyone called him Oz, and as the custodian of this fantastic and surreal drug, he wasa bit of a wizard. Janiger referred to the group, which met informally to talk about their acid experiences, as the "consciousness clan." Among the regulars were British expatriates Huxley, philosopher Gerald Heard and novelist Christopher Isherwood; Cohen and other UCLA faculty members; Anaïs Nin, Alan Watts and the occasional Hollywood celebrity. The evenings, Janiger says, were "rife with accounts and stories of what this substance was doing and what it could do." Southern California was rapidly becoming a locus of the psychedelic movement, matched in energy only by academic enclaves in British Columbia and along the East Coast, where Leary, with the backing of Billy Hitchcock, an adventurous heir of the Mellon fortune, had established a boisterous colony of self-dosing higher-consciousness seekers at a posh New York estate. Janiger kept a much lower profile, and worried — correctly, it would turn out — that Leary’s brand of in-your-face publicity would spur the government to move against LSD. Still, he welcomed a number of high-profile personages into his hi-fi trip room. James Coburn took 200 micrograms of LSD on December 10, 1959 — his first trip. In his paperwork, he gave his reason for volunteering: "to gauge present consciousness (where I am to where I can possibly go)." Now 69 and still acting, Coburn looks back fondly on his session with Janiger. "It was phenomenal," he says. "I loved it. LSD really woke me up to seeing the world with a depth of objectivity. Even though it was a subjective experience, it opened your mind to seeing things in new ways, in a new depth." Coburn also credits his LSD session with helping him occupationally. "One of the great things about LSD is that it does stimulate your imagination. And it frees you from fears of certain kinds." Another celeb who tried LSD as part of Janiger’s experiment was a 25-year-old Jack Nicholson, who listed his occupation as "actor" and took his first trip (a dose of 150 micrograms) in Janiger’s office on May 29, 1962. Nicholson would later incorporate his experiences into his script for The Trip, a 1967 low-budget film about an intense LSD session starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, another volunteer in Janiger’s study. Hopper, Fonda and Nicholson would team up again in 1969 on Easy Rider, with Hopper directing. It became the seminal film in the "New Hollywood" movement, which rejected traditional studio notions about content, style and production in favor of the edgy visions of its auteurs. Obviously, Hopper and company were channeling other, nonchemical, influences, including the work of French New Wave directors, but Easy Rider’sthen-revolutionary style — the jump cuts, time shifts, flash forwards, flashbacks, jerky hand-held cameras, fractured narrative and improvised acting — can also be seen as a cinematic translation of the psychedelic experience. "LSD did create a frame of mind that fractured experience," says Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls(1998), which chronicles the rise and fall of the drug-fueled New Hollywood. "And that LSD experience had an effect on films like Easy Riderand [the Nicholson-penned Monkees movie] Head, which are essentially experimental movies." "This is civilization," [my driver] remarks as we enter the Miracle Mile. I nod, laughing, muttering. "Idiots! Jesus! Shit!" It seems to me the streets are full of women — mainly ugly, middle-aged women carrying crumpled shopping bags. "Look at them, hurrying to get across before the light changes to green — don’t they realize how unimportant that is?" Lots of dummies in shop windows. I am struck by the similarity of the passersby and these dummies. "Really, there isn’t much difference. In fact, these people are all becoming dummies." Noticing more billboards, I elaborate. "These little people erect dummies and huge images of themselves, which grin down at them and tell them to smoke cigarettes and drink drinks and eat foods they are already eating. They erect these effigies of themselves to reassure themselves they should do what they’re already doing."