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Timothy Leary's Last Trip (1997)

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O.B. Babbs ...
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Neal Cassady ...
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Hugh Romney ...
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23 January 1997 (USA)  »

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Charming fare for fans of psychedelia
8 December 2006 | by (Between time and space) – See all my reviews

The first half of this 55-minute documentary is a recap of the early/mid-1960s LSD scene, when both Tim Leary & Ken Kesey rose to prominence. There's lots of Prankster 60s archive footage, some of which I didn't immediately recognize, and which may be unique to this feature. There's also some interesting old Leary footage, the bulk of it from a circa 1974 interview also seen in "Timothy Leary's Dead". There are some minor errors to the chronology and presentation, the most amusing (possibly a Prank?) assigning Wavy Gravy's name to a photo of Tiny Tim! The second half of the movie concerns Leary's last trip, which turns out to be 2 trips -- one to a Hog Farm get-together in 1995, with some historically important footage of Kesey & Leary hanging out together. There's also contemporary interviews with George Walker, Wavy Gravy (looking great, like an old Polynesian tribe chief), and Kesey & Leary. Interspersed throughout is an interview with Leary from a studio (or his home), which I think is unique to this movie. There's some on-stage footage with Dead type music and Pranksters in costumes, and Leary giving the event his benediction.

Leary's "second last trip" is a meeting on Internet between himself and Kesey, shortly before he died. It's pretty amusing to see the funky connection and very old-skool Netscape browsers 10 years later. Not much of importance is said, it's mainly an exchange of greetings.

The director O B Babbs (Merry Prankster legend Ken Babbs' son) appears as a narrator here and there, and does a good job; and his handsome male-model looks are no drawback. There's a certain student film feel to this, but those familiar with what's been coming out of the revived Prankster nexus in Oregon will recognize and enjoy the home-made charm. Sentimentality is present, and may have been given a boost by the passing away of Jerry Garcia around this time, but considering who we are dealing with, there's certainly room for, and a need for, documentation.

Like "Timothy Leary's Dead" this movie has some specific, minor flaws, but combining these two fan-oriented DVD features you get a terrific view of Leary, the modern (post-1960) history of LSD, and a substantial dose of the equally important Merry Pranksters.


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