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Friday, October 7, 2011

Talk Like a Beat Day


Bob Denver as
Maynard G Krebs
             The first beatnik that I distinctly remember was Maynard G. Krebs.  He was a character in the television show "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis".  Maynard was played by Bob Denver who later gained fame as the Gilligan who was stranded on an island when the S.S Minnow was shipwrecked during a three-hour tour.  Maynard was the stereotypical image that most Americans had of those who were lumped into the Beat Generation category--a sort of white bread version of a group reviled by many.

           Jack Kerouac's On the Road is a literary manifesto of the Beat Generation.  Although in some ways I would consider Catcher in the Rye's Holden Caulfield to be a truer precursor to Beat.   Recently as I was reading Catcher, somewhere in the back of my mind I was thinking this kid's gonna grow up to be a beatnik.   But then again it's probably more likely that he became a banker or a politician.

          Movies and TV shows often portrayed the Beats as unkempt slackers who spouted modern poetry to the accompaniment of bongo drums.  They had a hip way of talking in a special slangy jive lingo that became part of the parody.

        Today, October 7, has been designated as Talk Like a Beat Day by the UK paper The Guardian.  I've never been very good at picking up dialects or talk styles.  I guess I can say "aaargh" and "ahoy mateys" but I don't talk like a pirate very well so I never got into Talk Like a Pirate Day.  But I've always gotten a kick out of hearing others do it.  Same with this Beat talk.  It might be funny to hear people doing it, but I doubt whether I'll be able to pull it off like other cool cats might.

        The whole Beat Day thing was brought to my attention by long time friend and new blogger Kelly Robinson.    More about this chick next week when I do my Pay It Forward post.  But listen up all you cool cats.  You need to be hip and talk like a beat today.  Play fair and don't be square cause today being hip is in the air.   Can you dig it?

        Who's your favorite beatnik?   Are you a Bob Denver fan?   Whatever happened to Holden Caulfield anyway?



  1. I can dig it! Have a good weekend, Lee.

  2. Hi Lee .. some people can remember them and produce the right phrases and words in the right style .. me I just absorb and get completely muddled what I'm trying to say - enjoy your day of speaking a la BEAT ... cheers Hilary

  3. Enjoyed the read Lee, I don't know the people you were writing about,I suppose it's some who never reached our shores.

    Have a good week-end.

  4. I can only talk like me - a speeded-up version of Joanna Lumley (I flatter myself!)

  5. I didn't know what a beatnik was until reading this, let a lone know how to speak like one. LOL

  6. Hey you Denver....yah...I remember, Gilligan and the Skipper....yah.....
    He certainly had a talent for playing an idiot.

  7. Cool, man. This is where it's at.

  8. I ate Holden Caulfield. He was delicious.

  9. Miranda -- You have a good weekend too.

    Hilary -- I'm like you so I doubt whether I'll be doing much beat talk.

    Yvonne -- The whole idea was started by a paper in Manchester so someone over there must know. The Beatnik movement was part of what influenced the Beatles and that whole rock and roll movement.

    Janice -- I only talk like me and I don't know who I sound like.

    Ciara-- The Beatnik movement basically became the Hippie movement. Beatniks and hippies were pretty similar and had some of the same influences.

    Delores -- But Bob Denver was a lovable idiot. As stupid as it was, "Gilligan's Island" sure was popular.

    LD -- Yeah, cool!

    Suze -- Hmm. I think I've missed the reference. Was that a beatnik expression?


  10. Don't think I could do the beat talk!

  11. I don't really get the beatnik thing. I've never known much about it. But it sounds fun. What the heck, why not?!

  12. This is tempting. Nice post buddy.

  13. I love this post! I remember seeing Audrey Hepburn in funny girl...the beatnik dance scene. After that I wore black and was very artsy for a couple of years or so!
    I guess a part of me still is.
    Blessings, Joanne

  14. I don't know why I can't get my head around the "beat" thing. Would Austin Powers fall in this category?

  15. Far out, man! Thanks for the link! (And for those of you having trouble grasping the lingo, my post has LOTS of sample clips.)

  16. Cool, Daddio!
    But, he'll always be Skipper's little buddy.

  17. Alex -- Come on, don't be square daddy-o.

    Jasmine -- You probably had to be there. Things probably got lost in translation to popular media.

    Yeamie -- A young cat like you should be able to swing this gig. Look it up and then talk like a beat.

    Joanne -- The beatnik dance concept became almost a cliche in the 50s and 60s. I've seen it used in several movies.

    Rhonda -- Though influenced by the beatnik phase, I think Austin would be more categorized as part of the groovy mod generation.

    Kelly -- You inspired me, otherwise I'd probably have never heard about this. So far no one has mentioned it on the radio like they do with "Talk Like a Pirate Day".

    Al -- I think most of us think of Bob Denver as Gilligan.


  18. I don't remember Dobie Gillis, but I loved Gilligan's Island as a kid. I wonder if I still know all the words to the song... gotta go check now! :)

  19. I'm hip man, I get the whole cool thing, like that beatniks evolved into hippies, you dig? And we used to call ourselves freaks.

    I never got to see Dobie Gillis (though my husband did and loved it) and Gilligan's Island kind of drove me nuts...

  20. dialect has never been one of my stronger suits. But I do enjoy hearing it in films!


  21. I don't think got the hang of who or what that was. Would I be right in guessing that Austin Powers is supposed to be a beatnik? :)

  22. What did happen to Holden Caufield?

    A few months ago, I read The Book of Sketches by Kerouac. It was interesting to get a view into that period of time.

  23. Thanks for stopping by, Lee, and reading my excerpt #4. Glad you like it. I think the book is reading well so far. Just hope I can keep up the momentum!

    Bob Denver. My daughter Jen loved watching Gilligan's Island.

    I read Catcher in the Rye when I was 20. I keep thinking of reading it again to see what comes up from my subconscious after so many years. I also recently bought an old paperback copy of On the Road. If I just had more hours in the day to read what I'd like. When you're seriously writing, and trying to blog too, there doesn't seem to be time for anything else!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

  24. Jemi -- It's hard to get the Gilligan's Island theme out of one's had once they've heard it a gazillion times.

    Bish -- You get the whole evolution of Beatniks to Hippies. I was too young to understand much about Dobie Gillis, but I loved Gilligan and used to watch it nearly every afternoon when it was in syndication.

    Nutschell -- Like you I'm not much good at dialect. I admire people who can pick it up easily.

    Joy -- As I said in an earlier comment Austin Powers I think would be more considered to be a Mod or some 60s generation incarnation of the Beat influence.

    Theresa-- I've only read On the Road by Kerouac and I really enjoyed it. It was different than what I had expected.

    Ann -- I know what your saying about fitting reading into one's schedule. I manage, but I don't get through many books at a very fast pace. And I have so many still to read.


  25. i can't talk like anyone else but me have no tlent for it but i love hearing others do it

  26. I was born a little too late (in 1961) to remember the beatniks first hand...

    I remember the hippies. I even used to tie dye my own shirts!

    And oh how I remember the wacky tobacco!

    The seventies, baby! Those were the days!


  27. Holden's in a retirement home with Bob Denver. I hope.

  28. just finished reading on the road...but grew up on john denver as, wish i would have realised this earlier...

  29. I've heard a lot about the Beatniks. and I even had them as a part of one of the courses at my English literature studies, but I still don't really get who they were :) But it's my fault, since I never really developed a love for American writers from the 20th century.

  30. This is a groovy post, Daddy. An uncle who lived with us was very into the Beat movement. I'm still beret sensitive because of it.

  31. This is tempting. Nice post

  32. Great post today!
    I, too, always think of Maynard Krebbs when Beatniks are mentioned.

    I sort of consider beatniks to be the precursors to hippies.

  33. becca -- You spoke for us both in your own dialect.

    Larry -- Ah yes, the seventies! I remember it all except what I can't remember. They were some great years with some of the best music.

    C. Lee -- Holden would have been a little older than Bob Denver, but they would pretty much be contemporaries. Denver died a few years ago at age 70. He was not all that bad of a guy from what I've read.

    Brian -- I guess you could talk like a beatnik anytime. On the Road is a pretty fine book.

    Dezmond -- The beat movement mostly was prevalent in the late 40s and into the 50s. It gradually evolved into the Beat Mod scene that spawned the Beatles and others. The movement would be most closely associated with the Hippie movement. The Beat poetry was kind of weird to my thinking. I really haven't read enough Beat literature to make any honest judgement though.

    Leslie -- I'm sure a lot of the old Beatsters are still around. Especially if they are into jazz.

    Damon -- Thanks for stopping.

    Andrew - I agree on both accounts.


  34. Don't have one. No. No idea. :(

  35. Were you snapping when you wrote this? I think of beatniks on open mic night as predecessors for rappers. Ellie May was pursued by a beatnik, but Uncle Jed was not like hip to him.

  36. Sorry I'm late on responding to this post Lee - nonetheless it was cool daddy-o! :D

    I suspect Holden Caulfield is still teaching newer generations how to rebel the establishment.

  37. DWei -- Keep thinking and it may come to you.

    Julie -- The rap of the Beatniks was certainly influenced by jazz and the old black rhyming game called the Doing the Dozens. Today's rap comes from the same roots so I'd say you are right.

    Paula -- If Holden Caulfield were real I suspect he'd be pushing 80 right now. That is if he managed to survive that long. The boy had some problems.



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