Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

by Paul Morantz
(C) 2009

The Thought Reform Machine

After Mad Dog Saturday more squares– called nonresident members— came to Saturday night parties and joined the game club. Dederich needed their skills. He felt he couldn’t depend on managers who but for Synanon would have died by now from overdoses. He needed lawyers, doctors, engineers and scholars. He promoted Synanon as an alternate to financial success, a place where those who had fortune could find something they lacked–fun. To know of the game and not play it more was akin to not using electricity. He was the innovator of a new psychology that would lead them to a better life. America’s cities we subjected to criminal anarchy. Neighborhoods will be attacked. Synanon was safety. He indicted squares in games for their non-involvement. They should “stop taking” and join the movement all the way. They were needed to build Synanon II.

“Synanon,” Dederich said, explaining the move to Synanon II, “is like a 6-and- 1-half– sided peg. There are no slots for such stakes. Absolutely none. So there is no pigeonhole to slide Synanon in. People have the misapprehension Synanon is just in the business of curing dope addicts. Of course that isn’t so. Synanon just happens to be a better way for people to live together. Here criminals stop committing crimes. Dope addicts stop shooting dope. Whores become ladies. Squares stop taking tranquilizers.”

The first vehicle developed for procuring the new commitment grew out of a weekend Tribe retreat created by husband and wife Bill and Miriam Crawford in the fall of 1967. Miriam, an ex artistic Greenwich Village drug addict, had joined in 1963. After someone, in the vernacular of the time, called it a real “trip” it became known as the X-factor Trip, then the Tao Trip and finally the Synanon Trip. The name was more than appropriate as it was another of Dederich’s experiments with environmental manipulations so as to recreate the heightened awareness and inner discoveries he experienced while taking LSD. The Trip was admittedly a combination of group psychotherapy, mass hypnosis, mysticism and old fashion spiritual revival.

Through practice and modification of the Trip, Dederich designed an efficient program of individual emotional breakdowns followed by a mass group euphoria all designed to re-educate into the Synanon II philosophy and lifestyle. It was first offered to the select as an honor, but the entire population was eventually targeted. Dederich called it an “insight producing” experience. Dederich, now 230 pounds, and compared by some to a lumbering, toothless walrus, told new trippers:

“At the end of this rainbow, there will be a pot of gold. Through dissipation, or long hours of activity without very much sleep, we hope to bring about in you a conscious state of inebriation… we want to get you loaded without acid.

“You will learn more about yourself, your fellow man, the world, the nature of reality in one weekend than you would in four years,” Dederich said. “Let your ego go…let things happen to you. It’s a feeling of closeness to each other we are after, the death of the ego. A reference point for the rest of your life. You may change your value system, notions about life and viewpoints about people. It will produce a new breed of human beings with greatly expanded potentials. If you do your best, you can’t fail.”

A Synanon manuel called it grouppsycotherapy and anlysus (which was illegal for lack of licensing).

It began with a series of pre-trip games to encourage a surrender of any resistance to the unknown experience they would be receiving. At 7 p.m. on Friday the chosen Trippers, around 50 in number, of all ages, were met in the Del Mar lobby by people dressed in long white robes and yellow silk scarves. A Shepherd led them through candle-lit and incense-burning corridors to a locker room filled with rows of Army cots with name cards. Each person stripped and put on white robes. Watches were taken as time was no longer important. Women removed all makeup and jewelry, a symbolic stripping of past selves.

At 8 p.m. the Trip Conductor, in a Scarlet floor-length robe with purple trim and scarf, led orientation. With him were several Trip Aids in red robes and Trip Guides in red sackcloth robes and purple scarves, some in sandals, some barefoot. A tape of Dederich talking about the trip was played. It was explained each was about to have a beautiful life-changing experience. But to achieve it each had to trust. To think or analyze was to fail.

From midnight to 4 a.m. the Trippers could walk on the beach, snack or take short naps, but most were too excited for the latter. Trippers were then divided into game-size groups and taken to games that lasted until noon. The first game was in Room 511

The Guides, all experienced game players, turned each group from enthusiasm to a depression and defeat, wallowing in its collective shame. Sitting in comfortable green armchairs, they made the dope fiends tell their tales of drugs, rape, crime and beatings. The squares were pushed to confess their prior loneliness and despair. The games turned on one than another. Disoriented by lack of sleep, each was moved to the point of intense disillusionment. Aids, who did their homework, provided ammunition to the Conductors on each Tripper. Everyone was to cop-out.

After eight hours of gaming, the Shepherds took the Trippers on a short break to saunas, steam rooms, back rubs and a meal. Napping was discouraged so fatigue would wear down defenses. Colored lights, incense and sad Bob Dylan songs were designed to invoke feelings of hurt, anger, joy and guilt. At four p.m. they gathered again to listen to tapes on Emerson’s essays on self-reliance, power and heroism. Added was a tape of Sidney Poitier reading Plato against a jazz background and the final hour of Socrates.

The result was implantation of a common bond and sense of ideals, all identified with Synanon. Each Tripper was to write a paper on some feeling or admission. A big shot then made a speech. In the first Trips it was Dederich himself. He wore a purple robe, appearing as a large round and powerful figure, his partial frozen face adding to his omnipresence. The Trippers were not really chosen as an honor, he advised. Instead, each was really selected because each was a resister, thinking he or she knew better than he the direction Synanon should go, part of the dummies that hold Synanon back. “Maybe,” Dederich said, “one day we will just put dingbats like you against the wall and wash them off and bring them back into the human race.”

After four hours there was another sleep break but at midnight a Guide led the Trippers to a second game in another candle-lit, incense-filled room with solemn music playing. This was The Witching Hour. The Conductor spoke of the human need for spiritual belief and produced a Ouija Board to be operated by Witches, two women in black and white robes. The board would spell out Emerson messages on self-reliance, but self-reliance was interpreted as the ability to make choices and the best way to end loneliness and suffering was through trusting in Synanon. “Mysticism” was now the key note. “Preitessses” delivered spirit messaaess, and fantasy and realiy blurred, some hallucinating.
Trippers were to pick other trippers to be part of each other’s personal family, a mother, a father, a sister; to admit each needed Synanon. If not, said the board, the “fifth circle” in Dante’s hell, where tormented souls are terrorized and torn, awaited.

Often the board addressed a particular problem of a Tripper and inevitably answered the person should not be afraid to love those around him. When the first Tripper, physically and emotionally exhausted, “broke” and wept it caromed to the others. Crying, Trippers embraced, feeling euphoria and transcending love. At four a.m., the Conductor asked those who had broken to commit to the honesty and principles of Synanon. During the next break, those who had not broken felt depressed, unworthy, a failure.

At eight a.m. following breakfast another four hour game began. The unbroken were singled out and Thoreau was quoted: “The vast majority of all men live lives of quiet desperation.” The Conductor made it clear this was the resisters’ last chance. Their last hope. The game took on each unbroken’s dirty rotten story with great brutality. Aids returned with smut obtained from the un-broken’s spouses to use. The broken joined the attack. Some Trippers began to hallucinate, Dederich having achieved his replicated altered state of consciousness. Fighting to stay awake, defenses wiped away, the unbroken broke and asked for forgiveness. Some rolled up on the floor in fetal positions. Some laughed, others howled and sobbed. Some cried for their mothers. When they asked for friends they were hugged in mass. All thought the experience was beautiful.

After the last rest period, the Trippers met for Wrap-up, sat on the floor, listened to “Ave Maria” while the Conductor explained how the experience could change their lives. Any remaining unbrokens were put in the middle of a circle where the leaders, with all their game skills, attacked each one by one using jackets compiled by Aids during the last break. When each final holdout broke, wept, he or she was comforted by the previously broken.

At eight a.m. Monday a gospel choir led by Betty Dederich burst into a spiritual song. Hand in hand the Trippers went down the corridor toward the sounds of band music. Now in a ballroom the Trippers were surrounded by hundreds of cheering, clapping Synanites. The Trippers, many of whom had been awake for 65 or more hours, were hugged and cheered. A hoop-a-la began. Everyone bonded. All had pain. All could go past it. One just had to surrender to Synanon. Sandals were flung in the air. Who needed dope when they had Love?

A month later they attended a Trip Reunion where they were directed to write down how the experience had improved their lives and their Synanon commitment. They were told the Trip was only a start and to use it as a reference and motivation throughout their Synanon experience. Trippers would become future Guides, the best becoming Conductors.

With time, the Trip processes were enhanced. A special training course for Guides was established. They learned to insure sleep loss, transformation and to categorize information on each Tripper on 3 X 5 cards prior to the Trip. They were taught how to punish and give orders just for purpose of asserting authority. Guides were taught to be charismatic and to show displeasure as if dealing with children. They learned to use blindfolds to establish “trust.” Personal information was passed to Witches operating the Ouija boards. They were to work on the easiest person to break first so others would see him or her go and know what was expected. Dederich called this a domino effect. Trips grew to include passengers of 60 or more divided into 5 subgroups with staffs between 30 and 50 residents, including 5 to 10 guides and 10 to 20 shepherds.

Synanites in unison claimed the trip as one of their most precious experiences and gave thanks for the privilege. Reid Kimball predicted one day members of the United Nations and Congress would go through the Trip. He wasn’t far off. By the 1970’s the program’s processes were reproduced in popular self-help trainings by groups such as est and its spin-offs. The middle class came eagerly after the carrot—“personal benefits, self-improvement,” happily handing over $350.00 to “get it” (which was what the prisoners in Korea got). Teachers, lawyers, doctors, police, politicians, all got hooked, many forming an allegiance previously not matched in their livers to the group and trainers that trained them. The Trip was so successful that in only its second year the lifestylers business contributed $500,000.


Despite the Trip conversion success, the old-timers, the Retired Dope Fiends, aka The Walking Dead, remained a problem. As the alcoholics had not wanted change, neither did they. Curing dope fiends was what they wanted. Some overrode their doubts remembering that Dederich somehow made his dreams come true. But in their hearts they did not want to change direction nor did they enjoy losing their jobs to squares with more skills. They liked their status, less roommates and more goodies: tv, stereo, shoes and clothes. They reacted with apathy when Dederich would proclaim, “Anything less than changing the world was Mickey Mouse.”

To Dederich their resistance manifested itself in carelessness in San Francisco. He left followers the details of an apartment house purchase needed as the population was exceeding the Seawall’s capacity. But when the deal fell through, Dederich brought the offenders to him for a special game where he attacked for letting down the man and organization that had saved them from the gutter. Each, he warned, could be replaced by a qualified square. The game was taped, edited and released to the Foundation under the title The Wrath of God:

“For 10 years, I have worked for you, and you have dragged your feet; I created Synanon; I took you out of the gutter and gave you a new life; you have stabbed me in the back for the last time;; you will either work with me or I’ll get rid of you one by one; I’ll get rid of the you all if I have to and start all over again, but with squares who won’t dragg their feet and subvert my efforts; Synanon is changing; there is a place for you if you wanted; if you don’t, get out.”

Now, in 1968, living in Tomales Bay, where he cut the population from 75 to 35 faithful, and studying his creation through the Synanon Research and Development Center, Dederich determined that private contracts, agreements between Retired Dope Fiends to keep secrets, were a root of resistance that had to be routed. He wrote a letter to Reid Kimball that he was dedicating himself to eliminating Contract Games from Synanon and forcing Retired Dope Fiends to reveal their friends’ dirty secrets. Copies of the letter were posted on bulletin boards. Spouses were gamed to expose each other, the young to report on elders. Everyone was a spy/guardian of the other.

Games were extended to Massive Doses and eventually the Stew was developed where a target would simmer, sometimes under attack for as long as 24-hours. Teen-agers, led by the Young Lions, a youth group under Teri Hurst, joined the Stews. This in turn in 1968 evolved into a Perpetual Stew, a continual game at the Powerhouse in Tomales Bay where participants could rotate in and out at four hour intervals. Participation sometimes lasted 84 hours with short sleep breaks and walks. Four large chairs were in place for Dederich, Betty, the Director and a Bone, a young teen-ager keeping a log on the interaction. A gallery was set up for spectators. While games often dealt with personal issues, Stews were expected to deal more with community issues and obtain consensus. Government was by the game. More than attacking each other people told their personal stories, some speaking for long periods without interruption.

Dederich’s war against RDFs was waged through the young. He had Synanon’s youth, believing Tomales Bay was Shangri-La, write letters to apply to the Academy, Dederich’s new educational school designed for 50 students, each pledging obedience if accepted. Using dorms in the Outer Limits, the Stewdents lived in military style with bunk beds, foot lockers and inspections. Heads were shaved within a quarter-inch. The Cliffhouse was set up as a school for the Stewdents to study Dederich and Synanon. Added to Emerson, Thoreau and Skinner was Dederich’s newest fascination, the works of R. Buckminster Fuller, particularly polarized learning. Notebooks with Emerson essays were issued. Most stewdents were dope fiends, but Dan Garrett’s kids joined, his daughter dropping out of Radcliff to do so. So did Jady. In July of 1969 a long haired, mustached, hippie Harvard psychology student, 23-year old Steve Simon came to Synanon to do a 6 month internship. Simon had learned of Synanon when studying under Abraham Maslow at Brandeis and with Dr. Jacob Moreno at the Psychodrama Institute in New York. Maslow preached Synanon and the human potential movement and Dr. Jacob had lobbied to Governor Brown to keep Dederich out of jail in the sixties. He was gamed, tripped, dissipated and stayed, working in landscaping and joining the Academy. Simon quickly became an academy instructor and decided to do his dissertation on the Synanon game.

When it was time The Retired Dope Fiends were summoned to Tomales Bay and placed in Stews. Dederich, knowing their jackets, began the attack. The RDF who once drove a Synanon vehicle to steal dope from a donor doctor. Those who had participated in the Orgy in the library. Dederich had worked his “ass off for them” and look what they did in return. They were Synanon Dinosaurs. He was relentless and without mercy. He made each confess his dirty story. RDFs were a cancer that had to be excised.

“Evolve or die,” he shouted.

When Dederich left, disgusted, the trained Stewdents took-over. Nicknamed the Flies for William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, they buzzed all over the RDFs. They forced confessions, interrogated, and when finding inconsistencies made them confess again from the beginning. The attack heightened the longer the RDFs were awake. Only when details acceptable to the Flies were given could the attack turn on another. Any statement of pride or past accomplishment was stripped and denounced. Each was unworthy to remain.

Three days later Dederich returned to the Stew to face the exhausted, defeated and alienated RDFs. Only now, rather than attack, Dederich offered acceptance and forgiveness. All he asked in return was their loyalty and trust; that they “make the leap from Synanon I to Synanon II.” He had not failed them; he would not fail them. The RDFs became exhilarated, filled with gratitude and a new dedication.

Santa Monica followed lead and pressured acceptance with what was called “The Bloodbath Stew.”

Angered, some left, but Dederich didn’t mind. It was good for Synanon. A purge, what he would later call a squeeze, that cleansed the Foundation. He was confidant others would come to take their place and they would be more loyal and Synanon stronger.

The Clump apartments, which had to be kept spotless, housed most of the Santa Monica residents. A few lived at Del Mar, some in apartments across from it. A School, a special interest of Betty Dederich, operated out of a complex on Kansas Street. It had 40 students. Clump apartments were filled with bunk beds. As many as 8 slept in a living room and three in a bedroom. It was the way it had been in Chuck’s old Venice apartment. The Dorm head had his own room. He handled discipline: bald heads, demotions, basement sleeping, scrubbing pots or targeting transgressors in games. Big Shots had their own store for goodies. An Infirmary was located in Clump.

Bill Dederich, Chuck’s younger brother moved from Toledo with his wife Dolores. They were also given their own room at the Clump. As the Dederichs were salesmen, Chuck instantly made his brother the head of ADGAP. Chuck Jr., gave up his stereo store and joined to. As “second,” like the Rev. Mason, he was called Dede.

Resistance at the Clump was extinguished by dealing with it before it could occur. At 2 a.m. Glut Raids, a new type of General Meeting, sporadically took place without warning or instigation. Apartment doors flung open and Big Shots screamed as residents were taken out by the pool while their closet and drawer contents were emptied onto the floor. They searched for signs of waste or sliding back to old values. Contraband included clothing, books and albums. Once outside residents were ordered against the wall under threats of losing their hair. Confessions were demanded. Who was shooting dope and who was resisting? The residents on cue started finger-pointing. Someone saw someone else get two bars of soap at the general store. Someone else wasn’t tidy. Another was too busy with possessions to do his job correctly. Glut, jewelry, perfume, designer clothes and other material possessions, were gathered up, loaded onto trucks and taken away to the Warehouse. Buses and jitneys transported the residents to the Del Mar Club where they were put in games for more confessing. Selected offenders had heads shaved, or if women stocking caps dawned, and then paraded. When enough examples were made, the residents were returned to the Clump as the sun arose. It was a ritual conducted at all Synanon facilities.

Big shots had big caves, personal cars, motorcycles, color TVs and dog robbers. This was the “compensation principal” and if they acted out of line it could all be taken away. CED would reinforce that message by occasionally selecting a Big Shot for a bust.

Even Big Shots did not escape the purge. Dederich held a Bloodbath Stew for Big Shots wherein the trained Flies demanded honesty to Synanon and breaking of all contracts between them. A big time donor square was told to put his kids in the Synanon school or get out within 24 hours. All were told that any accidents damaging Synanon property would result in punishment. A facility manager was fired for breaking containment and having dinner off property.

Containment escalated. Eventually no one left the property except on business. It was called compression. Anyone who did leave was gamed for wasting energies and assets. Competing entertainments were formed. Instead of going to the opera a Synanon Opera Society was formed. One way to go off property and not break containment was to take Synanon with you. People left in groups. Each was a reminder to the other of who he or she was — — a Synanite. Even away the game could still be played.

Synanon operated on a twenty-four-hour day. Many worked from 11:30 at night until 9. Jitneys picked people up at 3 a.m. to take to the Club to eat. So as not to waste food the same meals were often offered at both breakfast and supper. After dining there were hoop-a-las. Dederich wanted to be different so he instituted the Twenty-Eight Cubic Day based on cycles of the moon rather than the sun. The basic day, Dederich preached, was really to short for one to fit in a full day’s work, leisure and necessary game playing. So now each would go on motion–work for ten hours every day for 14 days with no time off–before going on pressure—2 days in a Stew including two sleep breaks. Afterward the 28 day cycle was completed in a vacuum–total leisure time. Dederich found a new notion for them—rigging—creating art by gluing paper and sticks.

It was expected one would use the then 2 day vacuum to re-educate themselves by studying Synanon history and listening to Synanon tapes, particularly those of Dederich speeches. A new educational source were Stewbits, transcribed portions of Stew dialogue that taught a good lesson. Minds in concert taught group problem solving; Demonstrator discussed leaders as role models; Love elevated purpose over details; By-Pass Series presented the values of the process; Thickened Light, a speech given to the Academy on July 2, 1968, spoke of trust moving with the changes tomorrow bringd and of Emerson’s Laws of Compensation; and in the tape The Planetarium worm Dederich illustrated the need for continuing obstacles in a tale of how this microscopic worm dies once it overcome all its survival problems.

In Synanon I negativity was acting like a dope fiend. In Synanon II the term was broadened to include any criticism of Synanon. The latter could break trust, interfere with solidarity or cause someone to split. The organization shifted from ideals of serving individuals to individuals serving the organization.

Shaved heads also took on a new meaning. In addition to being a punishment it could also be a demonstration, a sign of commitment. The system’s manipulation of guilt created competition in proving commitment and surrendering of material goods. To prove dedication an older resident in the spring of 1968 in San Francisco had his head shaved in a general meeting. Shamed, other older residents followed suit. Soon every male in San Francisco had a shaved head, a new status symbol.

In Santa Monica Alyce Mae Walker and Richard Marks were removed from Synanon and jailed. They had previously voluntarily civilly committed themselves for drug addiction. Under laws since repealed this required nalline testing which Synanon would not allow. Thus the imprisonment. To Dederich this was a continuation of the matching of wills between him and the State. He did not expect to lose in court, but this time the state prevailed. The two were announced heroes, like Chuck and Thoreau, choosing to go jail rather than surrender Synanon principles. In a Stew Dederich brought in some Flies for head shaving in their honor. Within 24 hours, every male in Tomales Bay, except Dederich and Garrett, had bald heads. One day late all the women there had joined the demonstration. Quickly the phenomena spread to Santa Monica, then Detroit and New York.

Clothing became uniformed. Dederich had taken to Marin’s country life and found overalls comfortable. And as had been the history what was good for Dederich was good for Synanon. He announced that since Synanon was doing” the world’s work” working overalls was the proper attire. It symbolized getting “gung-ho.” The Flies copied without hesitation and on the day Martin Luther King was assassinated,1 a day on which I was working as a noon-duty aid at a black grammar school near USC, the whole Foundation followed.

Dederich knew looking alike helped them to think alike. It separated them from the outside. Dederich observed, “You are either moving toward the center of Synanon or away from it. Nobody can stand still.”

Since non-residents did not have cubic days, special 72 hours Stews were set up for them. Those who had money, skills or talent that Synanon could use were attacked for their character, lack of morals, lack of commitment; for taking without giving and for not moving in, surrendering their assets in order to take advantage of all Synanon could teach and provide. Dederich asked the non-resident males prove their loyalty by shaving their heads. They should trust him as he was an expert on making people happy. He had been studying for years how to do that. As he did with the RDFs Dederich then left the Stew and had the Flies attack resisters. By the time Dederich returned at the end, the non-residents was ready to show gratitude and give greater support.

Synanon had to vacate the Seawall Warehouse. San Francisco decided to tear down its noble and oldest commercial building to make way for an International Market Center. For a new home in the autumn of 1968 Synanon purchased for $750,000 another former exclusive club, the 43-year old 12-storyAthens Athletic Club across the Bay Bridge in Oakland. Old Timers in games were asked to loan $1000 each and convince others to do the same to help with the purchase. Betty’s brother, Wilbur Beckham, a 24-year drug addict, was sent to manage it.

Erected in 1925, one year before the Del Mar was built in Santa Monica, at a cost of 2 million, it had once also been the center of the East Bay social whirl, as the Del Mar had been in Santa Monica. Mary Pickford and Jean Harlow danced there and Amelia Earhart spoke at a dinner before her last flight. Guided tours pointed out a lobby ceiling take from a 15th century Spanish Castle, Olympic size pool on the eighth floor, courts, gymnasium, locker rooms, kitchen, vast lounges, dining room, living quarters and a few bars that would now be turned into coffee shops. A complex of 72 apartment units was purchased nearby. Stewdents regularly traveled to Athens to guide Stews, keep order and help quench moving fears that had haunted similar relocations in Santa Monica.

Like Santa Monica, Oakland wasn’t pleased but as the building was in a black ghetto the locals were far less antagonistic. And this time Dederich took steps to woo his neighbors. The club had been white only, but Dederich opened its doors to local teen-agers, calling them Notions as it was his notion he could rehabilitate the whole ghetto. The Notions worked in Synanon, played the game, but lived at home. Hermits were local Notions under the age of 16. After school Synanon took them on field trips to Tomales Bay. Game clubs and non-resident Tribes were established for adults, who were serenaded on Saturday nights by the Sounds of Synanon playing “Getting to Know You” and hooplas. The dance now could stretch from 5 to 10 minutes and was described as a “non-violent dance riot.” Soon the new members were playing Containment Games. The idea was copied in Santa Monica and before long over 62 different schools in Los Angeles were busing in over 200 kids on Saturdays to play the game, have a free lunch and explore the beach. Within two years it would be filled with 500 residents.

In Oakland the locals could use the pool, gym and sauna for free. A Free Store was also set up with excess goods. Synanon donated to charitable groups, of all races. Local Oakland government agencies took notice and approved, except maybe the donations to the Black Panthers.

The locals in Oakland also stole a lot from Synanon. Some tough guys once roughed a few people up. Sometimes rocks were thrown at jitneys or bb guns fired. “The human animal,” said Dederich, “is the only animal that bites the hand that feeds it.”

In the basement of Dederich’s Cottage in Tomales Bay, where the Synanon Archieves was maintained, a low power FM radio station was set up that could broadcast throughout the Foundation. Eventually it would be refined, installed in all quarters, rooms and bathrooms. It was to be dubbed The Wire. Now all could listen in on Stews or Morning Meetings. Game tapes and Dederich tapes were played repeatedly, as well as pleasant music. At any time the Old Man could patch in, give an order, a haircut or report on Synanon’s fights against those who would hold it back. Dederich could enter any game to give it direction. Members came to expect the familiar interrupting. “Hello hello… Am I in there…Am I in… patching in?”

The year was 1968. Soviet tanks and troops invaded Czechoslovakia to end the anti-communist movement known as the Prague Spring. The murder of civil rights leader Martin Luther King touched off rioting across America. Another assassin killed Robert Kennedy, ending his chances of becoming President.

And Charles Edwin Dederich, who had built the best ever drug rehab, the most advanced group encounter program, on his way to fulfilling Skinner’s dreams, had now in furtherance of his social revolution built the most effective thought reform machine (brainwashing) yet conceived by man. If Robert Jay Lifton was correct in his studies, such a process could result in holy wars. If Edgar Schein was right in his predictions it could lead to purges, obsessions over security and paranoia of spies.

Satisfied with his accomplishments, Dederich planned a 10th Anniversary celebration. It begin on Oct. 12, 1968 at 11 a.m. with 1,500 members on the Great March from the location of the original storefront in Ocean Park to the National Guard Armory and then back to Del Mar, tracing the rise of Synanon. At one point they formed a human chain a half-mile long. Back at the club they partied, sans alcohol, and hoop-a-laed away in the parking lot. The date selected by Dederich as to its existence was October 10, 1958 although the date did not match its starting date, August 30, 1958, or its September 9, 1958 incorporation date. For whatever reason selected that date henceforth became the official Synanon birth date. It was followed by a five day musical program written by residents, taking as the title the newest saying of Dederich, one now more applicable to Synanon than ever, one later adopted by Hallmark Cards:

“Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life.”

Ten years later on October 10 there would be no parties, no marches, no hooplas. The 20th anniversary would be marked and celebrated instead in a far more original and sinister way. A single event in Pacific Palisades. News of it broadcasted over the wire brought thunderous celebrating applause.

Stan Kenton, born in Wichita, Kansas in 1911, started in 1941 his first orchestra, later named after his theme song “Artistry in Rhythm.” In 1943 he began a 25-year relationship with Capitol Records by recording “Eager Beaver.” The big band’s soloists during the war years included Art Pepper, briefly Stan Getz, and singer Anita O’Day. In 1949, Stan Kenton conceptualized his “Innovations in Modern Music Orchestra,”; a jazz orchestra with woodwinds, a string section which generated excitement in live performances. Frank Sinatra called him the most significant figure of the then Modern Jazz Age.

Kenton was familiar with Synanon through the rehabilitation of many jazz musicians hooked on heroin such as Joe Pass and Art Harrison. He did concerts to raise funds for Synanon and donated money himself. In 1968, Kenton, after he and his wife divorced, decided to put their daughter, Dana, 12, who was having some problems in the Synanon school. And they placed their son, Lance, 10, there, too. Kenton joined with them getting his own apartment in the South Caves but after 6 months left, leaving his children there.

Synanon now had a school system from nursery to college level. It’s high school was accredited. The Santa Monica school had about 40 students. Dederich, per his belief mother’s unconditional love ruins children, his desire to lower cost of child rearing, and because he himself had little to do with his own children until they had grown, now had all children over the age of one living communally in their own peer dorms–a 24 hour school supervised by designated caretakers. The new infant program would also economize the raising of children and free Synanon women to dedicate their time to the Foundation.

Kenton believed Synanon was the safest of environments for his children; free of drugs and violence, filled with morals and virtues. He believed in Jack Hurst. Kenton, so a to meet the requirement of having a live-in parent, took an apartment in the South Caves. The South Caves and the North Caves were side by side apartment buildings Synanon purchased across the street from the Del Mar club. The owners had been eager to sell as Synanon’s presence made renting difficult. The South Caves was a new building under construction when Del Mar was purchased. Kenton was rarely there as both he and his ex-wife were always on the road performing.

Dederich was honored by Kenton’s choice and Lance became a favorite. A young Prince in Synanon. He seemed to be the best at everything. He would get straight A’s in school and master the wilderness. As he grew he trained hawks and dogs an collected and skinned rattlesnakes, sometimes removing the rattles. What Dederich admired most in him was his dedication and loyalty to Synanon.

Dana left Synanon after a year and wanted little to do with the organization.

Judy Ets-Hokin, a San Francisco socialite, came up with the idea of a Synanon Street Fair. In 1968 the weekend event held on Lombard Street by the Seawall had 300 art craft booths with donated prefabricated flooring, a light show with a donated 2,500 square foot screen atop a 25-foot structure and six projectors, theatrical and puppet shows, dance space for 5000, outdoor toilets, first aid stations and donated sound equipment. A Sting Ray donated by Dick Bullis Chevrolet was raffled off. Mayor Alioto declared June 20 — 30, 1968 Synanon Week stating Synanon’s work was relieving police and community burdens. Under the overview of Bill Crawford Synanon Security wore polka dot shower caps.

The chore of arranging the food services for the fair befell Don Silvers who had helped Synanon design its kitchen. San Francisco’s Trianon Restaurant donated 1,500 pounds of wild boar meet from its specialized ranch in Marin. Approximately 50,000 were entertained by 80 volunteer performing acts including residents Stan Kenton, Art Pepper and Esther Phillips. Also performing were Big Brother and the Holding Company, Credence Clearwater Revival Band, the American Conservatory Theater and Country Joe McDonald. The Press called it “Mardi Gras West.” Hoop-a-las were danced and “hoopla” records were sold, as well as a new Synanon clothing line. Synanon cleared $300,000. Another $25,000 was realized from a Hollywood benefit put on at The Factory.

In December Synanon staged a Christmas musical “The Prince of Peace” at the Del Mar Club for Synanon residents only. The soundtrack, featuring the Sounds of Synanon , the 30-strong Synanon Choir and the voice of Esther Phillips, was released on Epic Records, as was the album “Hoop-a-la: The Sounds of Synanon,” through efforts of record producer and game player Louis Jackson.

By the end of 1968 Synanon controlled over 7 million in real estate, 16 separate properties in Santa Monica. Businesses brought in $1,784,453. Donations were valued at $2,500,000. Among the donors were Chrysler Corp., General Mills, Hunt/Wesson Foods, Avon Products, Kaiser Aluminum, Uniroyal, Volkswagen, Litton Industries, the Brown Shoe Co. and Louis Roth Clothing. The Sarah Mellon Saife Foundation established a $40,000 a year grant, honoring their former Gulf Oil employee. 22 different companies donated paper supplies.

For the year housing expenses were $404,846. Another $119,149 was spent on cigarettes. An estimated $160,000 a month was needed to cover all expenses. Synanon boasted a total of 1.25 million clean man days and estimated that the total saved taxpayers was around 60 million.

A new facility opened in Santurce, Puerto Rico, the first of several expansions beyond U.S. borders. Jack Hurst lead a team of six to locate a suitable facility. But, fulfilling Santa Monica’s worst fears, it operated initially only as a receiving office. Puerto Rico was paying Synanon to take its drug addicts into the United States. The operation itself shut down a year later.

A brief skirmish with the police also settled in Synanon’s favor. A year earlier Ernest Perez assaulted a Synanon clerk who refused to let him see his wife. At the police station, he and his wife Sharon Perez charged she had been submitted to strong psychological pressures to “forget her husband and children.” But now a year later, both Perezs, unemployed and strung out on dope, returned to Synanon. Mrs. Perez then announced to the press her prior charges were just a “junkie cop-out.”

The fame of the game continued to grow. L.A. Times reporter-turned-resident, Skip Ferderber, wrote of its wonders, this time a 6-page story in Los Angeles Magazine.

Roderic Gormey, M.D., a square game player wrote in his book The Human Agenda praise for Synanon and scoffed at fears that people who join might learn to be violent. But he also noted a phenomenon which he called “synphobia.” Squares who were attacked in games, all defenses broken, sometimes developed a disabling anxiety or depression, changes, he wrote, similar to experiences in concentration camps and war combat.

Observing the Synanon school’s use of the game, which seemed to fit the times, Marin County looked into setting up its own school “sensitivity training.” But a local psychiatrist Dr. William M. Lamers, warned: “It may be as dangerous as allowing a two-year medical student to perform brain surgery.”

Betty Dederich added Betty’s game, a tool within the game where rather than exaggerating one’s faults, players exaggerate the virtues of others. It also became known as affirmative gaming. Red spot gaming was an intense attack-defend mode in longer games and there was the addition of philosophical dialogue—The Great Conversation.2