The following article appeared on page 11 of The Montreal
Tom here for Lennon bed-in
Half of Smothers Bros. cares about U.S.
Tom Smothers is pessimistic about the state of America.
The "mother liked you best" half of television's Smothers Brothers comedy team was in town this weekend to drop in on John Lennon's bed-in for peace at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel.
And while he joined in with Dr. Timothy Leary, the Lennon family and 50 bystanders to help record the song, "Just give peace a chance," he didn't sound a happy note when he talked about the future of the United States.
"America is a dying civilization," he said, "and you can see it by looking at what's happening to the arts."
"Political restrictions are in direct proportions to artistic restrictions, and I've had first hand experience with that scene."
Mr. Smothers was referring to the popular Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour which was cancelled recently over a hassle on network censorship.
Moreover, despite rumors that the show might be produced in Toronto and distributed to American stations, the guitar-playing brother stated the comedy hour was officially dead.
However, he is working on an idea for completely new type of program, the nature of which is presently being kept under wraps.
Terming himself, "a moderate who has been turned into a radical," Tom Smothers stated that in the United States "things are changing, but they are changing for the worse."
"When you look at Negroes being elected mayors or the legislature, you've got to realize that you're looking at isolated pictures. If you look behind the scenes, you'll see just how much repression there is," he said.
What hope is there that things will get better? he was asked. There is some hope, he answered but not much, and the odds are "a thousand to one against it."
Referring to his neat appearance and close-cropped haircut, Tom Smothers said, "I'm often acceptable to conservatives because I look like one. But it's really a drag to be losing your hair when all the groovy people are hairy.
What did he think of the recording session with Lennon, and the of the whole bed-in idea?
"It's a step in the right direction, trying to get together all the people who feel the same way and translating it for the electronic media. It's a good scene."
Copyright by The Montreal Gazette, June 2, 1969, all rights reserved.