Gas masked policeman questions rally staff (Michael Glass - center - Robert Carl Cohen - far right)
That evening approximately 3,000 people filled the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Roscoe Lee Browne had just begun the performance when a riot control projectile of a type normally available only to police departments exploded in front of the air intake above the proscenium - quickly filling the hall with an aerosol powder irritant. Choking, vomiting & fainting, the crowd fled outside - into a severe thunder storm. As if forewarned, within minutes Santa Monica police & firemen wearing gas masks & equipped with portable ventilator fans appeared - telling the dazed & sickened crowd huddling for shelter in the outer lobby: "The show's over - go home." Despite being urged to leave, over 2,000 waited more than an hour until the gas had cleared, then reentered the hall. All 26 performers, including Henry Fonda who, wearing a pacemaker, after being assisted out of the auditorium by Michael Glass, remained and went on with the show. An anonymous caller claimed the "Provisional Wing of the National Socialist Liberation Front" was responsible.