If you’ve ever read The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test you know it’s a psychedelic documentation of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters in 1964. You also know that Tom Wolf’s novel paints in vivid detail the story of the pranksters’ road trip from Ca to NY and back. I have always assumed that he was able to describe the colorfully painted school bus full of drugs and free spirits because he’d seen their home movie. The book continuously mentions that the pranksters documented the entire adventure on 16MM color film. I read the book 40 years after the road trip was completed and I figured the film must have been online, at the video store or even on Netflix, but I wasn’t able to find it anywhere! Turns out, the pranksters never did a thing with the film. It has been virtually unseen until NOW, FINALLY, it has been edited, brought to life and made view-able in a theater near you!
Alex Gibney and Alison Ellwood were given access to the film and have restored over 100 hours of video and audio. Thanks to them, we can finally watch a controversial piece of psychedelic, American history that most people never knew existed. Magic Trip, the documentary features interviews with the Pranksters’ now, and their recollection of what happened back on the bus. It is a perfect contrast to the rest of the film which is actual footage of them when they were young, high and completely out of control. The movie is very well edited considering that the original film and audio were completely out of sync. Magic Trip offers back ground information about the characters and the state of politics, music, and drugs in 1964. Even if you have no idea who Ken Kesey is, you will be well informed by the end of the film.
There are appearances by Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, Neil Cassedy, and The Grateful Dead to name a few. The soundtrack is excellent too, so check out the dates and theaters here, buy your self some popcorn or LSD and tune on, tune in, and drop out.