Theatre

Chatting with legendary lawyer Clarence Darrow

(Who died in 1938 but is rather brilliantly channeled by actor Gary Anderson)

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What was it like cross-examining your friend, legendary American lawyer William Jennings Bryan, during the famous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925?

To have that son of a bitch turn around and try to bring this decisive element into our school systems, and to bring this influence, these anti-Darwinian laws, that was uncalled for.

Do you regret pushing for life in prison in your defense of the guilty murderers Leopold and Loeb?

Here we had two pathetic, diseased boys, here we had two intelligent boys. We have them now locked up, in a small cubicle, with very few of their liberties intact, hated and despised by the world … the sentence of watching their lives tick away second by second, minute by minute. But I do not support capital punishment. It is nothing but the lust of vengeance and blood.

Why did you change from representing the railroads in Chicago to representing union organizer Eugene Debs in the Pullman Strike of 1894?

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[Debs] came over to my home and asked me to defend him. I was most upset he would put my job at the railroad at risk, but far back in my being that moral compass was standing up, and I knew what I had to do. [So I told him], “Any lawyer who would stand with you has to be out of his goddamn mind. But I’ll tell you I’ll start Friday if you just let me pick up my last paycheck.”

What’s the big deal about you, anyway?

I lost Scopes, lost Leopold and Loeb. Lost Debs, right? Why are people holding me up as some kind of an idol? It’s the battle. It’s the effort, not the victory. It’s bringing the public around to where you know it’s morally right.

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