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“Jack on Film” sample

September 29th, 2022 · 5 Comments · Kerouac and The Beats, Movies

Here’s a little taste . . .

My “script” notes for the first dramatic portrayal of Jack . . .


Pull My Daisy (released Nov. 1959) One of the Big Five to focus on


Filmed in their prime . . . . Kerouac’s best 28 mins on tape . . . . . Amram’s score to enhance it . . . . . lensed by Robert Frank . . . . . shot in an artist’s loft in Greenwich Village . . . . . a collaboration, not one man’s work.

The Grove Press [Barney Rosset] Pull My Daisy book says it was filmed intermittently from January 2nd through April 1959.

Premiered at the Museum of Modern Art — May 12th, 1959

Jonas Mekas reviewed it for The Village Voice — saying it was “a signpost of purity, innocence, humor, truth and simplicity.”

Esquire even reviewed it — saying Kerouac’s narration “kept things rolling along on a tide of laughter and poetry, showing an unexpected virtuosity at the Great American Art of kidding.”

Peter Bogdanovich called it “brilliant.” according to Dennis McNally.

IMDb and The Illustrated Beats Chronology by Robert Niemi both say it was “released” on Nov 11th, 1959. But what does this mean? No distribution.

San Francisco Film Festival Nov 17th — according to both Charters & McNally Jack attended the screening but was so drunk he fell off the stage.

Gregory Corso in the Jack role

Allen as Allen

Peter as Peter

Larry Rivers as Milo — in the Neal role

French actress Delphine Say-rig as Milo’s wife — Carolyn Cassady

her film debut — she went on to have 60 film & TV credits over the next 30 years, primarily in France — including The Day of The Jackal — was directed by Truffaut & Bunuel — became a prominent outspoken feminist.

David Amram as Mezz McGillicuddy

Bishop — Richard Bellamy — billed as “Mooney Pebbles”

Bishop’s mother — Alice Neel from Richard Modiano — a major American portrait artist, had solo exhibitions at the Met and Whitney in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the de Young in S.F., and shows in London, Sweden, Germany.

Bishop’s sister — Sally Gross — also from Richard M — an important modern dance choreographer from 1960 – 2015, subject of a dozen documentaries.

Robert Frank’s son Pablo is the child — sort of the role of one of the Cassady kids

Anita Ellis sang the opening song.

Act 3 from Jack’s play The Beat Generation — which Jack had read into a tape recorder doing all the voices.

Robert Frank heard it and said, “THAT’s what we should film.”

Shot with Robert’s single 16mm camera that had no sound — as those hand-helds didn’t have until D.A. Pennebaker and the Maysles brothers figured out ways to connect portable recording units a few years later — which completely revolutionized documentary filmmaking and cinema verite.

And speaking of Pennebaker & the Maysles — think how Pull My Daisy presaged Don’t Look Back or anything by the Maysles.

There was ostensibly a “script” — but everybody was just winging it and goofing and being themselves in their friend’s loft.

Based on real events at the Cassady house, Los Gatos, summer of 1955 Carolyn writes about it in Off The Road (pp 264–266).

Bishop Romano — Swiss — ordained at the Liberal Catholic Church

he did indeed bring his mother and aunt with him;

and they did indeed sit side-by-side on the couch, and never spoke;

and Allen did go squeeze in between them — all as portrayed in the movie.

Allen & Peter were there.

as was a guy named “Pat” — converted in the play/movie to “Pat ‘Mezz’ McGillicuddy” played by Amram.

According to Carolyn he was a guy Neal had sent round in hopes she’d have an affair with him, and she’d at least be distracted so he could spend more time with Natalie Jackson.

Gregory was not there in Los Gatos — so he’s in the role of Jack here.

Jack sat on floor next to the Bishop — as Gregory’s shown in the movie.

As I said yesterday and is in The Rolling Stone Book of The Beats

“It was co-produced by a PAINTER Alfred Leslie — and shot in his canvas-filled loft — featuring PAINTER Larry Rivers in the role of Neal — with ART DEALER Richard Bellamy as the Bishop — and it was financed by libertine PAINTER Walter Gutman — so it’s a film made by painters — about poets — narrated by a novelist.”

Selected for preservation by the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress in 1996.

Clip “Here’s a minute of Gregory playing Jack — which corresponds to Carolyn’s memory of the evening.”

If Dave Amram is there — invite him up after the clip.



Here’s the event page for the show on Facebook.

Here’s a story about “The Making of ‘Jack on Film’

Here’s The Beat Movie Guide that covers all the Beat dramatizations ever made.

Here’s a tale of the opening of the Kerouac centennial year back in Lowell in March for his birthday.

Here’s the live stream of “Jack on Film: Take 2” from LCK 2023 including the interview with Big Sur director Michael Polish —


Here’s a rollicking interview on WCAP in Lowell talking about Kerouac’s legacy and the “Jack on Film: Take 2” show —



by Brian Hassett   —

Or here’s my Facebook page if you wanna join in there —


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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dale Topham // Sep 29, 2022 at 1:26 PM

    Amazing collaboration. Hope Amram is in attendance!

  • 2 Richard Modiano // Sep 29, 2022 at 3:41 PM

    Don’t forget Sally Gross (who I knew when I lived in NYC) as the Bishop’s sister and Alice Neel as the Bishop’s mother. Sally was a major innovator in modern dance and is the subject of nearly a dozen documentaries about her life and work, and Alice Neel had a major exhibition at the Met in NYC that will go to the Pompidou Center later this year.

  • 3 Brian // Sep 29, 2022 at 4:28 PM

    Love it! Thanks, Richard! I just updated with that info.

  • 4 Antonis Greco Imdb // Sep 29, 2022 at 9:31 PM

    A thousand times yea!

  • 5 Dave Olson // Oct 1, 2022 at 11:36 AM

    Hey buddy, don’t worry about it now but please set aside one of the posters for my archive.

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