In 1959, stand-up comedian Jonathan Winters suffered a nervous breakdown while onstage at the “hungry i” in San Francisco. Although details of the incident have entered show business folklore and have become cloaked in mythology, Winters, when asked, always disputed the press accounts of the occasion. Legend has it that Winters left the club in a taxi after his performance, visited a 19th century Scottish built ship, the Balclutha, at Fisherman’s Wharf, and proceeded to scale the riggings, naked and shouting.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported at the time that Winters told his arresting officers, “I’m John Q. What’s it to you? I’m in orbit, man! I’m a mooncat on Cloud 9, from outer space.”
By this time in his career, Winters had progressed from local radio and television jobs in his home state of Ohio to regular appearances on Jack Paar’s Tonight Show, The Steve Allen Plymouth Show, a number of panel style game shows, as well as numerous other high profile show-business activities. Life was looking pretty good for Winters, a former Marine and college dropout. All of the hard work he had been putting into his career since moving to New York with his wife in 1953 was beginning to pay off.
But, man did he hate those nightclubs...
Anthony Galli currently lives in Athens, Georgia. He shares a birthday with his black cat, Magic, and they both claim Wings of Desire as their favorite film. Anthony has published two books of poetry, Amnesia for Insomniacs and Invisible Idiot.