“The Sunshine Makers”
Nicolas and Tim
“The Sunshine Makers” is the untold story of two men who were at the heart of 1960s American drug counterculture. They were on a utopian mission to save the planet through the consciousness-raising power of LSD and manufactured a massive amount of acid, including the gold standard for quality LSD, Orange Sunshine, all while staying one step ahead of federal agents. The two men, Tim Scully and Nick Sand were LSD enthusiasts who became such big fans of the drug during the Sixties that they eventually made and distributed the infamous “Orange Sunshine” pill. They have said that they weren’t out to money, and live the glamorous life but were instead on a mission to enlighten the world and stop all war, violence, and bad vibes. Director Cosmo Feilding Mellen spends a lot of time with Scully and Sand who today are aging hippies who practically live regular and sedate lives. The film looks at the rise and fall of these men and their LSD empire in detail and it also looks at the memories of this psychedelic odd couple as they visit lost loves and recall a time when they wanted everyone to turn on, tune in, and drop out.
In the late 1960s, they were giants who ruled the world and who took their first acid trips on opposite ends of the United States; Scully in San Francisco and Sand in New York. They came to a similar conclusion— if everyone took acid, it might just save the world.
They were both true believers, more interested in what they saw as the beneficial effects of psychedelic drugs than in the profit potential. When they met up and decided to start manufacturing their own LSD tablets in 1966 while Tim was ready to give the tablets away. Nick insisted on making a healthy profit, though that remained a secondary concern for him.
Getting the drugs into the hands of as many open-minded young people as possible was of paramount importance. The two men hooked up with Mike Randall, the leader of the Brotherhood of Love, a group that became their distributor.
A true believer in the benefits of acid, Randall and his group were more than happy to make the tablets that sparked the psychedelic revolution in San Francisco. Then Tim was arrested in 1969.
Law enforcement officials had been investigating Tim and Nick’s business since Blue Sunshine became a sensation, but were unable to start making arrests until after the laboratory had been moved to Denver, Colorado. The case was dismissed in 1971, but it was a harbinger of things to come. Tim decided it was time for him to move on. Nick, however, chose not to and this led to trouble for everyone.
“The Sunshine Makers” freely mixes new interviews with dramatized footage. Though interviews with two of the law enforcement officials who investigated Tom and Nick are included, the film’s primary objective is to give an affectionate portrait of the drug dealers as heroes of the psychedelic revolution. The film advocates for the charitable treatment of psychedelic drug dealers who all have only the best intentions for mankind in mind.
It has been said, “Tim Scully was not part of the psychedelic scene. He was the psychedelic scene.” He fine-tuned his acid-making skills with LSD pioneer Owsley Stanley, joining him for a spell building electronic equipment for the Grateful Dead.
After years of mystical trips and wild women, the 1960s ended and the ’70s were a bummer. Starting in 1977, Scully spent three years in prison after an epically bad trip. Once free, he worked in technology in Northern California and is now retired and researching a book on LSD.
Following a 1970s drug bust, Sand spent 23 years on the lam and was arrested in 1996 in British Columbia. Police uncovered his lab there, which had enough LSD to dose the whole of Canada two times over. He served six years in prison and is now living in Ecuador with his fifth wife.