Muhammad Ali Plans to Fight on Mars in Lost 1966 Interview

Per­haps you remem­ber the short ani­mat­ed film, I Met the Wal­rus. It revis­its the moment when Jer­ry Lev­i­tan, a 14-year-old kid, slipped into John Lennon’s Toron­to hotel room in 1969 and asked the Bea­t­le for an inter­view. And he got one. The film pro­vides all the proof you need.

Now here’s a nice com­pan­ion sto­ry. It’s the sum­mer of 1966, and 17-year-old Michael Ais­ner approach­es Muham­mad Ali, then the heavy­weight cham­pi­on of the world, and asks him to appear on his high school radio show. The kid per­sists and even­tu­al­ly lands the inter­view. The audio seg­ment, rarely heard until now, reminds us what makes Ali so charis­mat­ic and endear­ing. The champ answers some of Ais­ner’s ques­tions seri­ous­ly. But he also launch­es into a hilar­i­ous riff about how he plans to take a space­ship to Mars, bat­tle the Mar­t­ian champ (named some­thing like Win­nekawana­ka) and there­by win the “Uni­ver­sal Title.” Pret­ty price­less. The com­plete audio seg­ment appears here.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.