Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: 77 Sunset Strip

From: Patrick King (
Date: 13 Feb 2008

Just as a point, though, the goatee, baret, and bongos are beat cliches popularized on television of that era. If you look at William Claxton's photographs of the LA Jazz Scene circa 1952, you'll see that most of those guys wore their hair exactly like Ed Burnes as Kookie, or Elvis Presley for that matter. It was these cool cats that Elvis was taking his cues from, but he was not sophistocated enough to be one of them. Not many in LA sported beards at that time. If you look at the old photos of Jack Kerouac and Neil Cassidy, they, too, wore pompadore hairstyles, no facial hair. Those were the real beats. Sure, there were some bearded types playing bongo drums in Washington Square, but according to Dave Van Ronk, they were outcasts even in the beat community, easy to poke fun at. The beats were beatific, that's where the name comes from. They were ultra cool, unmoved by anything except jazz and fast cars. They used drugs and alcohol, engaged in group sex, read Satre and Robe-Grillett, and wrote the last American poetry.

Patrick King
--- Dick Lochte <> wrote:

> About Kookie -- no way was he a beat or even a
> hipster, exactly. He was
> cool, and the idiom he used was a faux teenage SoCal
> beachboy patois, closer
> to a ring-a-ding Sinatra wannabe than a jazzbo or
> coffee house habitué® No
> goatee on that boy, daddy-o. He was parking
> convertibles at Dino's on the
> Strip, for goodness sake. It should be noted that
> neither he, nor Dino's nor
> Jeff Spencer for that matter appear in the source
> novellas by Roy Huggins
> that first ran in Esquire and the Saturday Evening
> Post.
> As for crime novels featuring beats, I think there
> were a few. They appear
> in Thomas Dewey's A Sad Song Singing, at least one
> of the Ross Macdonalds
> (The Zebra Striped Hearse, maybe), a Travis McGee
> (boy, all those color
> titles run together, but maybe the one with the hot
> air balloons). Weren't
> the coffee house and the jazz club fairly standard
> locales for mysteries of
> the period?
> Dick Lochte

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