Monday, May 18, 2009
KING OF THE ROAD: BEAT GENERATION AUTHOR, JACK KEROUAC, ON THE STEVE ALLEN SHOW - NBC-TV- CIRCA 1959
Jack Kerouac was not a typical, guest star on a 1950's network, variety show. Even on NBC-TV's eclectic and engaging Steve Allen Plymouth Show. He didn't sing, dance, tell jokes about his Mother-In-Law or spin flaming plates on bamboo poles above the terrified studio audience.
Yet, on one Monday night in 1959 , at 10pm eastern time, Allen, introduced, interviewed and accompanied the renowned, albeit slightly aloof, author during a rare television event
Like all exceptions to the ever-changing rules of television, there is a backstory.
In the early 1950's , an elegiac voice of despair and disenfranchisement quietly entered the American conversation. The dark and morose children of World War II who , in dour prose and pessimistic poetry,expressed their fears for a future incinerated by nuclear attack, decried rampant materialism and rejected long-accepted, social mores , came to be known as The Beat Generation.
A novel called "On The Road" served as their literary manifesto and life metaphor. Its author, Jack Kerouac, was their eccentric Templar.
Here , in LIVING COLOR, the author reads from his book with an intensity that offers insight into his passion for a life without societal constraints or modern contrivances.
In the clip posted below , from the 2lostbikes You Tube site, Kerouac , who died ten years later, in 1969, talks process and motivation with the erudite Allen and then he reads from his from his landmark literary work, while Allen provides the jazz piano accompaniment. Enjoy!!!!!
As a bonus, here is a CBC RETROBITE in which Kerouac defines the Beat Generation...with his eyes closed. Enjoy!!!!!