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

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

Writers:

Alex Gibney (screenplay), Alex Gibney | 3 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Stanley Tucci ... Narrator
Veronica Taylor ... Jane Burton (voice)
Jim Meskimen ... Zonker (voice)
Timothy Leary ... Himself (archive footage)
Jerry Garcia ... Himself (archive footage)
Jack Kerouac ... Himself (archive footage)
Grateful Dead ... Themselves (archive footage) (as The Warlocks)
Bob Weir ... Himself (archive footage)
Allen Ginsberg ... Himself
Ken Kesey ... Himself
Terry Gross Terry Gross ... Herself - Interviewer (voice)
Bill Kreutzmann ... Himself (archive footage)
Andrea Cirie ... Gretchen Fetchen (voice)
Ron McKernan Ron McKernan ... Himself (archive footage)
Neal Cassady Neal Cassady ... Himself
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug content, language and some nudity
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 August 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Magic Bus See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,367, 7 August 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$153,943, 30 October 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The ventriloquist dummy owned and used by Ken Kesey (and which appears briefly in the film) was restored and refurbished by Alan Semok (aka "The Dummy Doctor") over a period of several months. The puppet, which was in very bad condition, also was missing it's original body and a new one was made in the pattern of the original. Following the restoration, Semok also served as puppeteer for the dummy in a brief segment of the film in which the dummy appears, speaking Kesey's words. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Legend Of A Mind
Written by Ray Thomas
Published by TRO-Essex Music International Inc.
Performed by The Moody Blues
Courtesy of Decca Music Group Limited under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

Disappointing documentary about the sixties and some unconventional people
17 October 2011 | by JvH48See all my reviews

This could have been a movie reminiscent of those often celebrated sixties. However, the people portrayed in this home movie avant la lettre, were far from average. Their ways of living and what we saw thereof was on a safe distance from our own memories of that time.

I can understand the attraction of the 100 hour film footage that was left behind. But condensing it into a feature film length, does not work. For starters, we got a super fast intro of characters, leaving unclear who was who, and what tied them together. Secondly, the purpose of the journey was left equally unclear (maybe there wasn't any). Thirdly, it kept us wondering about the vast number of practical aspects for such a journey, like money, groceries, repairs, petrol, and so on. Of course, all this only proves that I wouldn't have blended in with this company, being much too serious and too organized for such a journey to even think about.

Anyway, it offered a nice excuse to show TV and movie fragments of that time, and pictures of every-days lives and streets. Also, we saw repeated police checks for no reason, demonstrating that their overall appearance (painted bus, haircut, clothes, etc) was "different". A nice side effect was that we saw and heard VSOP music fragments of that time, working well to refresh our memories. Similarly, it showed us how progressive people dressed in the sixties. Could that be all there is to fill 107 minutes of film, and keep our attention span??

All in all, what we saw was kaleidoscopic, to say the least. On one hand, it was interesting for some­one who grew up in that time (like me) but nearly forgot all about it (I did). On the other hand, it did not go beyond the family album level with pictures from the past. Leaves us wondering how more than 100 hours of film footage and sound fragments could have survived the continuous chaos these people used to live in. Again, this question proves that it was not my kind of company. Maybe good for us that they existed, important as they may have been as a catalyst for cultural changes, if only to practically demonstrate how to detach yourself from the daily grind and drop all common conventions.


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