Rare Footage of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac & Other Beats Hanging Out in the East Village (1959)

We don’t often think of the Beats as fam­i­ly men, and that’s because the most promi­nent of them weren’t, except William Bur­roughs for a time (a trag­ic sto­ry or two for anoth­er day). But friends of Gins­berg and Ker­ouac like Lucien and Francesca Carr and Robert and Mary Frank brought chil­dren into the poets’ lives, and you can see them all above, relax­ing at the Har­mo­ny Bar & Restau­rant in New York’s East Vil­lage in 1959.

This rare silent footage unites the three Carr and two Frank chil­dren in a rare appear­ance of the Beats togeth­er on film. The mus­ta­chioed Lucien Carr —a char­ac­ter with his own dark sto­ry—can be seen seat­ed next to Ker­ouac.  The Franks, père and mère, were both artists in their own right—London-born Mary a trained dancer, sculp­tor, and painter, and Robert an impor­tant Amer­i­can pho­tog­ra­ph­er and doc­u­men­tary film­mak­er.

Dan­ger­ous Minds spec­u­lates that it’s Robert Frank behind the cam­era, both because we don’t see him in front of it and because Frank would that same year direct the short film Pull My Daisy (above), fea­tur­ing both Gins­berg and Ker­ouac and adapt­ed from Kerouac’s play Beat Gen­er­a­tion. (Frank appar­ent­ly denies he shot the footage at the top). Pull My Daisy also includes famous Beats like Gre­go­ry Cor­so, musi­cian David Amram, and Ginsberg’s part­ner, poet Peter Orlovsky. In a pre­vi­ous post on that film, Open Culture’s Col­in Mar­shall described it as craft­ed with “great delib­er­ate­ness, albeit the kind of delib­er­ate­ness meant to cre­ate the impres­sion of thrown-togeth­er, ram­shackle spon­tane­ity.”

To learn more about the Beats’ appear­ances on film—as them­selves, in char­ac­ter, and through their adapt­ed work, see this excel­lent fil­mog­ra­phy. And just above, watch a mash-up of most of those var­i­ous cin­e­mat­ic appear­ances in a trail­er pro­duced by Cine­fam­i­ly for the IFC and Sun­dance series “Beats on Film.”

via The Wall Break­ers/Dan­ger­ous Minds

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Pull My Daisy: 1959 Beat­nik Film Stars Jack Ker­ouac and Allen Gins­berg, Shot by Robert Frank

William S. Burrough’s Avant-Garde Movie ‘The Cut Ups’ (1966)

Bob Dylan and Allen Gins­berg Vis­it the Grave of Jack Ker­ouac (1975)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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