Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats

Jack Kerouac remains a fascinating enigma, who appeared to live and write hard and die early in 1969 at age 47. Kerouac labeled the King of the Beats.” a reference to the beat generation of the late forties and fifties that influenced culture of the period.  Doc begins with a clip from a 1959 Steve Allen show, and compared to today’s TV, looks like a world class literary piece not the benzedrine and alcohol fueled three week writing spree that became novel, On the Road.”  How much television today features an author reading from his novel, on air, accompanied by musical flourishes on a piano from the show’s host?   Kerouac terms “beat” as sympathetic early in doc, but beat refers to “beat to my socks” coined by Herbert Huncke, meaning many of a generation with little money and few prospects.  “Kerouac used the term to describe an entire generation. Jack Kerouac later insisted that ‘Beat’ was derived from beatification,
to be supremely happy. However, it is thought that this definition was a
defense of the beat way of life, which was frowned upon and offended many American sensibilities,”
a description from Wikipedia entry of Kerouac’s view on term born during a conversation with Huncke. Kerouac represents, perhaps, a search for a depth or quality of experience – or put another way – simply cherished memories?

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