Magic Trip: Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place (2011)

R  |   |  Documentary  |  5 August 2011 (USA)
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A freewheeling portrait of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters' fabled road trip across America.


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Credited cast:
Zonker (voice)
Veronica Taylor ...
Jane Burton (voice)
Timothy Leary ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Themselves (archive footage) (as The Warlocks)
Neal Cassady ...
Himself (archive footage)
Andrea Cirie ...
Gretchen Fetchen (voice)
Phil Lesh ...
Himself (archive footage)
Terry Gross ...
Herself - Interviewer (voice)


A freewheeling portrait of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters' fabled road trip across America.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug content, language and some nudity


Official Sites:

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Release Date:

5 August 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Magic Bus  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$14,367 (USA) (5 August 2011)


$153,943 (USA) (28 October 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


Merry Prankster Neal Cassady was the real-life model for character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's 'On the Road' novel. See more »


Ken Kesey: On the way back, I was driving across country in a big old nice station wagon with a couple of my buddies, nibbling on cactus. As we were driving along, Kennedy began to be killed.
[news reports stream in]
Ken Kesey: Everywhere you went, you looked in people's eyes and they all felt the same thing. It wasn't just sadness, it was a loss of an innocence; the loss of the idea that; always the good is going to prevail. There's no way to even nearly depict the pain and the feeling of crisis. The thing that all ...
See more »


Featured in The Roth Show: The New York City Way (2014) See more »


Rocket 88
Written by Jackie Brenston
Published by Unichappell Music, Inc.
Performed by Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats
Courtesy of Motown Records under license from Universal Musci Enterprises
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User Reviews

Great footage, interesting story, not long enough
12 July 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I only had 2 issues with the film as presented - 1) the film moves at a breakneck pace trying to cram what was likely hundreds of hours of film into 90 minutes; I wanted many scenes to last longer - 2) I would've liked a 'where are they now' sort of bookend for more of the pranksters (only Kesey's and Cassady's post-prankster lives are detailed).

I thought the footage was gorgeous - the film must've been well taken care of over the years. It was really fascinating to see America circa 1964 in full color (most footage from that era is black & white).

I want to re-read The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test after buying this DVD and refer back and forth. It really does breathe new life into Tom Wolfe's book; although, the film stands on its own.

One of the most fascinating segments of the film was early on when they delved into how Kesey was turned onto LSD. They describe the whole experience and provide audio recordings taken as Kesey was under the influence in a hospital where LSD experiments were being conducted.

I understand many will take issue with the pro-drug message, but whether you like it or not, the subject of the film and the footage itself is a big part of history. There is something to learn and appreciate no matter where you stand.

43 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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