Scanlan’s Magazine (named after a pig farmer) ran from March 1970 to January 1971. Warren Hinckle III and Sidney Zion’s short-lived magazine touched a nerve. By 1971 Scanlan’s was being boycotted by publishing technicians as “un-American”. On President Nixon’s orders it was investigated by the FBI and IRS.
According to John W. Dean, onetime counsel to President Nixon, ‘Nixon acted after Scanlan’s magazine had published a “bogus memo linking Vice President Spiro T. Agnew with a top secret plan to cancel the 1972 election and to repeal the entire Bill of Rights”.’
In 1976, Zion said he had been told “by third parties” that distributors had “been visited by Government agents”, who urged them to drop the magazine.
Pressure told and Scanlan’s ended after only 8 issues.
Above: August, 1970 – A Smuggler’s Guide to Importing Pot from Mexico, as featured in Scanlan’s magazine.
Issue Number Six featured cover from R. Crumb cover and some near-pornographic cartoons by S. Clay Wilson for an article on marijuana harvesting in Kansas.
In his 1976 memoir If You Have a Lemon, Make Lemonade, Hinckle wrote:
During the short-lived Scanlan’s carnival I became engaged in [a] ridiculous battle with Spiro Agnew over the alleged pirating of a suspect memorandum from his office; was censored in Ireland; upbraided by the Bank of America for instructing love children how to counterfeit its credit cards; sued for one million dollars by the Chief of Police of Los Angeles; threatened by Lufthansa Airlines for an innocent editorial prank which they claimed cost them dearly, and also some other things happened.
Zion would become ‘the man who fingered psychiatrist Daniel Ellsberg as the source of the Pentagon Papers, which had made public in The New York Times the US military’s account of activities during the Vietnam War’.
The following excerpts are from Scanlan’s Guerrilla War in the U.S.A issue – January 1971.
War Memoirs of a Black Marine
I got back to the world on December 17, 1969. When I left 12 months before, I didn’t know much about what was going on in Nam or anywhere. I learned a whole lot in Nam. A whole lot from the brothers, and a whole lot from the people.
I was born in Georgia and grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant. At home I’d been in a lot of trouble coming out of some fighting we’d been in on the block. I got into the Green Motherfucker, the Marine Corps, mostly to make my bird, cause it was getting hot on me. I hadn’t been in no movement, but I had thrown some rocks at pigs.
I didn’t know much when I got over there. I had never met a real brother, you know. It started blowing my mind when I first got over there—brothers walk up to you and give you some power and you know they’re friendly, not afraid of the pigs over there, they got themselves together. Man, I was never so glad to be black as I learned to be in the Nam.
It was like an organization, you dig, but better than a big organization: it was a lot of little groups, ready and all moving together. Not into fighting each other. Into fighting for each other.
We’d do a lot of dope. Smoke a number and get mellow, then rap down about what was happening. We wondered if the movement back in the world would ever get together. A lot of talk about the Black Panther Party and about the Black P. Stone Nation.
We were trying to get all the brothers together, to build understanding—that takes extra heavy rapping, you dig, and your shit must stay together. The pigs, the beasts, keep fucking over you, constantly harass you, try and spy on you, rip off the heaviest dudes.
We had to deal with the problem, and we had to use force or violence when necessary. This is a thing that some people who are in an organization are afraid to use—their minds start to wondering about the penalties. But you had no choice, you got to survive, to build your thing, and the pigs are murdering. They don’t stop, so you can’t.
It was necessary to plot against the pigs in some areas. Just the same as here. The pigs are all around, and you got no alternative but to just do them, you know. Sometimes someone would just do a pig… sometimes people got together and decided who had to be gotten. There isn’t any point of dong things without an organization, you get a whole lot of people doing different things and somebody gets ripped off.
There were lots of CID (Criminal Investigation Division) cats, and lots of them died. Da Nang in September of 1969 is a good example. There was a black pig, a friendly dude, but his stories didn’t all check and people got suspicious. We were pretty sure then, so we followed him to some area in Da Nang the pigs thought we didn’t know about, and that proved it. So a bunch of the brothers started talking to the dude and asking him questions like why he was a pig and kept him moving, and later on he was just snuffed.
In July of 1969 I was in the Quang Tri area of I Corps. The problem there was communication. A bunch of us solved that problem by ripping off a couple of trucks and stuffing them with our people. We ran into a pair of brothers, Army brothers; we blew their minds. We rapped awhile and all of us went to their compound. It must have been 30 brothers by that time. We took over their mess hall, the Army brothers and us, not much talking, but we would give each other the power and raise the fist, you dig. People kept coming all night and we took over a hooch. It was mellow. Dudes were high, and high on black people. People kept coming in all night.
A lot of Army brothers were tankers. It was heavy the next day, because we down what a pig the colonel was who was CO of that unit. The pig was a racist and a fool. That morning he sent up some MP’s to break up the party. They came around and hassled us. Brothers wouldn’t even hear what they had to say, they knew who it was that time. Two of the brothers got quiet and slid when the shit started. Next thing anyone knew, this tank rolled up to the HQ hooch and it was brothers in it! This time we hit the colonel, ’cause he was in that hooch over there. It was a gas. Black MP’s moved over to our side and we got our weapons and disarmed the white MP’s.
There was a black captain; he had a pretty good reputation, but what he ended up doing was to negotiate for the colonel. His name was Sanders. They had sent out radio calls for assistance; we heard that from our radiomen. They had tried to jam them but it hadn’t worked. So there was helicopters and things flying around. We negotiated and finally the Marine brothers retreated back to Quang Tri. Two days later the colonel, Jackson his name was, pulled open his desk drawer and this hand grenade blew him out all the windows at once.
It wasn’t long after that that they tried to split us up. I got transferred to Da Nang, doing supply work. The brothers there were as together as in Quang Tri, and I got tight with a bunch of beaucoup heavy brothers. By September when the CID pig got offed, we thought that we had our area pretty well together. We knew most of the brothers and had them going in the right direction. Blew my mind when this little brother, one Thursday night in the hall, emptied a clip of an M-16 right into this lieutenant. I didn’t hardly know the dude, but I knew that lieutenant for a pig. It didn’t surprise me none that he got blown away, but the little brother who did it sure got fucked for it.
Most of the brothers knew that the NLF didn’t consider them the enemy. In May of 1969 VC saved the life of Brother Pitts, a dude from Philly who was close to me. He had been point man on patrol, and someone signaled him with a whisper—like psst—to get down. He got down and shit started flying. When it was over he was the only one left alive, the others were all white dudes. He never shot at a Vietnamese, and, like all of us, he used to fuck up whatever equipment he could.
A ‘woman’ wrote in:
What kind of actions were you in and where?
My favorite action was November, 1969, in Dupont circle, Washington D.C. It was the night of the assault on the Vietnamese Embassy. I had a can of lighter fluid upside down in my jacket pocket with a nozzle through a hole I’d made for it. I could just put my hand in the pocket and squeeze the can—squirt! I had a religious-ecstatic visions of a flaming Vietnamese Embassy … There were lots of little fires in Washington that night. I got a charge out of them. the pigs were really chasing us and blowing their stupid tear gas. At one point, when the wind changed, the pigs gassed themselves and we tore up Connecticut Avenue. We teased them all night. Sometimes they chased ys, sometimes we chased them. And when the Mobilization marshals got creamed, everyone was happy—the people and the pigs.
Another time, when I was still at school, we staged a building takeover. It was this really fancy edifice—plush offices with leather furniture and silk wallpaper—but the school didn’t have any money to let poor people in for free. That night my best girlfriend got beaten up by a pig, and we tore the place apart. We went through files and secured classified government documents proving CIA-university complicity and the school’s being just a training ground for rich men’s kids. This was too much on top of the behind-the-scenes policy-making in southeast Asia by the fat cat professors who fancied themselves intellectuals (yecchh!) and upholders of democracy.
We smashed up their $1,200 mahogany desks and used them for barricades. Then we split all the leather couches and chairs and decorated the fold raw silk with revolutionary wall-painting. We scored tape recorders, typewriters, and various knick-knacks. Most important, though, was that a group with different ideologies, life-styles and backgrounds had got the together, maintained security and done what we set out to do.
We felt we could relax—why not celebrate? So we sat around and blew two ounces of really good dope and ate peanut butter sandwiches. We called up every newspaper in town and gave conflicting Yippee press statements. Our first demand was the immediate release of Sirhan Sirhan. It was really funny how the news desk reacted. Of course, that was the whole idea. The old public still isn’t hip enough to know who we are and what we want. We are everybody and we want everything and I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Do you?
This noble magazine employed Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman:
IT was his first big art commission in America. His mission was to accompany the famous Gonzo writer Hunter S Thompson to the Kentucky Derby and sketch images to accompany Thompson’s crazy words for the coast-to-coast magazine, Scanlan’s.
But for Ralph Steadman, an aspiring artist looking to make a living in the US, the gig didn’t get off to a good start. Never mind he was having to accompany a man renowned for his heavy drinking and massive drug abuse: no, the first hurdle he had to overcome was when he took a taxi to meet Thompson and left all of his art materials in it.
“I had my pens and inks in a bag,” he recalls.
“I went there in a cab, got out and then realised: Oh shit, I’d left everything behind.”
The wife of Scanlan’s editor Donald Goodard came to the rescue: she happened to be a sales rep for the Revlon make-up company and provided him with lipstick and eye liner to draw with instead.
While some would see this as a setback, for Steadman it simply gave him a different way to approach his artwork that fitted in with Hunter’s own chaotic way of working.
You can read more in Steadman’s book The Joke’s Over:
Scanlan’s magazine, for those of you who missed those nine wild months of publishing history, was the brainchild of Warren Hinckle III, who scorched through three-quarters of a million dollars of borrowed money in the pitiless pursuit of truth – not least the call to impeach Richard Nixon as early as 1970.
The magazine was named after a little-known Nottingham pig farmer called Scanlan and it dedicated itself to maverick journalism and anything that seemed like a good idea at the time. Warren set about making sure everyone knew everything about anything that moved in America, from covert activities in high places to rats in a New York restaurant kitchen. His business partner was Sydney E. Zion, who later gained a reputation as the man who fingered psychiatrist Daniel Ellsberg as the source of the ‘Pentagon Papers’, which had made public in The New York Times the US military’s account of activities during the Vietnam War.
They achieved their goal and made Nixon’s blacklist in record time. Unfortunately Warren’s excessive lifestyle and appetites outstripped the financial cornucopia that was there to begin with. After the ninth issue, the well dried up and the magazine sucked itself to death. When it happened we were out on a limb, covering the America’s Cup for them. Not the best news to learn over a bad line to New York while asking for more funds.
Scanlan’s found me in Long Island in April 1970, not long after I had arrived from England to seek my particular vein of gold in the land of the screaming lifestyle. I was staying with a friend in the Hamptons to decompress. His name was Dan Rattiner and he ran – and, in fact, still runs – the local newspapers, Dan’s Papers and The East Hampton Other. Dan was young and in love with Pam. Dan and Pare treated me with great kindness and hospitality but after a week I began to feel I was getting in the way.
It was time to make my trip into New York to look for work. Dan had generously picked me up at the airport a week earlier. I roll my own cigarettes and, without thinking, I lit up in his car. Dan said, quite sweetly, I thought at the time, that they tended not to encourage such habits, particularly in a car, because it was a bit like ‘giving cancer to your friends’. I gulped down the smoke. Then I lowered the window and choked the filthy excrement out into the city. . . .