A Review: DVD. Everbody Went To Max: A Documentary Biography By Martin Kasindorf

June 8, 2013

 

 

A Review: DVD, Everybody Went To Max:

Remembering “Dr. Feelgood”, The Merlin Of Kennedy’s Camelot

A Documentary Biography By Martin Kasindorf

by

R.E. Prindle

Kasindorf, Martin (auteur):  Everybody Went To Max:  Remembering “Dr. Feelgood,” The Merlin Of Kennedy’s Camelot, 2013, Los Angeles

Lertzman, Richard A. and Birnes, William J.”  Dr. Feelgood, 2013, Sky Horse Publishing

One of the most interesting back stories of the sixties is that of Dr. Max Jacobson, the first of the amphetamine feel good doctors.  Until Spring of this year when both works above appeared getting information on Jacobson and the feel good doctors was a laborious process of going through many autobiographies written by his patients.  Now we have a fair rush of information.

I have already reviewed the Dr. Feelgood book and here offer some commentary on Everybody Went To Max and everybody includes the auteur, Martin Kasindorf, and his twin brother at the ages of 11-14 from 1951 to 1954.  They were recommended to Max by their two aunts who were being treated by Max.  Treated is the operative word here.  Martin’s brother describes how when the aunts returned from a visit to Max one aunt feeling particularly energetic would roast nine consecutive pot roasts.  If the twins partook of the pot roasts in commensurate measure then indirectly Max cured their anemia.

Martin has fond memories of his old doctor thus being dismayed if not offended by hostile evaluations of Max’s career.  Martin’s DVD is his first commercial effort, low to non-existent budget to be sure, but effective as far as it goes.

While Lertzman and Birnes go into some detail, although at 173 pages not nearly enough, Martin’s DVD is a fast skim over Max’s life and career with no interpretation.  A little too fast, actually.  Martin’s collection of pictures, stills and some film clips, are quite good however the transience of the text which he wrote  that handles the details leaves much unexplained.  Without a background on the subject one may be left wondering what it’s all about but with some knowledge the DVD hangs together.  Still, one wishes Martin had taken the time to set a context, that of Max and his amphetamine cocktails, and then broken his subject into manageable chapters or episodes.

Martin briefly mentions types of amphetamines, which are after all central to the story, while a couple of skeleton chains of molecules are flashed on the screen with no identification and none of which apply to the amphetamines he is mentioning.  For a good discussion of what Martin appeared to be trying to illustrate one can refer to Nicolas Rasmussen’s On Speed:  The Many Lives Of Amphetamine, 2008, NYU Press.  If Martin were to bring the subject up it would have been better to present a five minute précis of Rasmussen’s discussion or something like it.

Max’s New York career would better have been put into a historical perspective to make some sense of it.  For instance Max is supposed to have had no interest in money, being nearly a perfect altruist by nature, yet when Anthony Quinn, the actor, began to have medical problems from Max’s treatments and refused to pay him, if one can believe the 18,000 dollar or so debt rung up at 75.00 a shot no less, Max invaded his apartment grabbing a Rodin sculpture in payment.  Unfortunately he was no longer fleet of foot as one of the experimental shots he gave himself had left him crippled in one leg.  Quinn easily ran him down and snatched his Rodin back.

So Max was so spectacular it would be difficult not to make an entertaining video of his career.  Martin could have done better but until he or someone else does Everybody Went To Max will have to do.  Perhaps Martin should try to interest the History Channel in either running his DVD or redoing it to whatever standards the History Channel may have.  Martin may already be ahead of them.

The DVD is available direct from Martin at 9.95 each, address:

Martin Kasindorf

419 Carroll Canal

Venice, Ca.  90291

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