The less you know about Dear Mr. Brody, the better, but here are the basics: In October 1969, Michael James Brody Jr. turned 21 and inherited his fortune as the oleomargarine heir—an unlimited sum, Brody told reporters. Three months later, Brody announced he was giving it all away to anyone who asked. All they had to do was contact him.

And contact him they did. Brody was a captivating figure: young and wealthy, tall and skinny, with a shaggy head of hair. Ecstatic devotion sprung up around him, and Brody offered his believers something more than money. It was love—that, and a lot of greenbacks.

There are an awful lot of lost souls adrift in this world. And when Michael Brody comes along with promises too good to be true, far too many go down with them. Streaming now on Discovery+.

A version of the above blurb first appeared in the pages of Boulder Weekly Vol. 28, No. 32, “Turning rebellion into money.”