Haven’t seen this footage before. It’s pretty great even with the obnoxious watermark. I’m surprised it’s in color but Wikipedia tells me The Steve Allen Show started broadcasting in color in September 1957. Who knew!
The audio of this is included in The Jack Kerouac Collection box that came out in 1990 and most of that stuff has been reissued over the years in a variety of formats. I’ve always loved hearing Kerouac read, and it’s cool to be able to see him doing it.
Of all the Beats, Kerouac seemed the most gentle and sad, quietly observing the madmen he surrounded himself with. I read his collection of letters a while back, and it seems like all he really wanted to do in life was to read and drink and be taken care of my his mother. I can appreciate that.
Ten years after this footage was taped, Kerouac would be dead at age 47 from an abdominal hemorrhage caused by alcohol abuse.
I have to admit I was a little baffled by the teaming of Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard for this project. As I said when news of the partnership broke, the only common trait I saw between the two was that each had a unique voice. I mean, this is one of the kings of alt-country working alongside one of the kings of slightly fey teen pop. But then I focused on their words.
If someone had asked me what Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and Son Volt’s Jay Farrar have in common I might have answered, “They both have unique voices?” As it turns out they have much more in common, including a shared passion for Jack Kerouac and it appears now, co-writing credits on the soundtrack for an upcoming bio on the king of Beat writers.
Gibbard and Farrar were approached by filmmakers in 2007 about writing music for the film One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur (IMDB), due on October 20. According to Farrar, approximately 90% of the soundtrack’s lyrics draw directly from Kerouac’s poems. One wonders how the filmmakers landed on these two as writing partners, a question that isn’t immediately answered by Gibbard.
“I’d never met Jay before, and we found ourselves in a studio with a film crew, just blinking at each other, diving right into recording sessions,” Gibbard told Billboard.com. “In that first session, we did 3 or 4 songs together. We had the trepidation of not really knowing each other; getting to know each other in real time as we were recording made for a beautiful recording.”
Very seldom does a internet news posting make you want to run out and rob a bank, or better yet, knock over one of the largest auction houses in the world on a Thursday afternoon. This is one of those rare occasions. Christie’s is auctioning off the original typed scroll of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. I quote from the auctioneer’s site: “the working draft from which the published novel derives. Typed by Kerouac in New York City in a 20-day marathon between April 2 and 22, 1951.” Still mulling over whether or not you should dig out your ski mask and water pistol and head over to your nearest savings and loan? It’s 119 feet long, typed on a continuous scroll of paper! Throughout the manuscript Neal Cassady’s name is crossed out and Dean Moriarty’s is pencilled in by ol’ Jack himself…