Jack Kerouac, Where The Road Ends
A Sixty-Minute Biographical Documentary
Presented By Red Sail Video Production
:es Anderson, Producer
"Jack Kerouac, Where the Road Ends" provides the viewer with little known information of the life and times of the “beat” author beginning with his birth in Lowell Massachusetts and ending with his last days in Florida. It was in Orlando Florida where Jack finally found a shelter from the storm after the publishing of "On the Road". The documentary is based on journalist and author Bob Kealing's biographical book, "Kerouac in Florida, Where the Road Ends". I was also inspired by David Amran's book "Off Beat". David is a Broadway and Film composer and was a founding member of the Beat movement and Jack’s steadfast friend and companion from the early days.
Bob and I have spent several years independently developing, traveling and taping portions of Jack Kerouac, Where the Road Ends. We had the privilege of visiting John Sampas' family home, located in Lowell Massachusetts. John is Executor of the Kerouac Estate, Jack’s hometown. John is also Kerouac’s brother-in-law and knew him well. John's beautiful home is a virtual museum of all things Jack. He shared his treasured memories of Jack as a fun loving kid wandering the streets of Lowell. Hilarious stories ensued of Jack as a young man excelling in sports, smoking his first joint, military service, trips toNew York City dives and developing his writing style. John also opened the vaults for us, sharing Jack's documents, family photographs, drawings and letters. We were able to get it all on tape.
By familiarizing the audience with Kerouac's work and its relevance to American culture, this program will assist in regional and national interest.
Interviews with Pete Seeger, Roger McGuinn, Steve Allen, Carolyn Cassady and Jack’s brother in law John Sampas have been recorded.
All proceeds will be applied to production, recording more interviews with surviving ‘Beats’ and family members in Jack's hometown of Lowell, Mass. We will retrace one the cross-country routes Jack and his crazy friend, Neal Cassady, traveled during the early 1950’s. Your generous donations will help pay for post-production, music composition, acquisition, and rights to additional archival film, photographs and documents.
After his breakout novel "On the Road" was published in September of 1957, Jack Kerouac’s world changed forever. He was not yet famous and he used his modest advance for the book and settled in the relative quiet of the College Park neighborhood of Orlando to write his next novel.
Not yet famous, he was known in the artistic world as the 'King of the Beats'-- the man who had coined the term "Beat Generation”.
Jack became a media darling. Television was a new medium, but its power was becoming evident. Some critics condemned his spontaneous prose style as infantile. He soon grew weary of the media attention. Jack continuously traveled, gathering material for his work, he always returned to Florida to write under the southern sky.
Film Composer and close friend, David Amram, recalls the late night poetry readings during the early 1950’s in New York. Afterward Jack, Amram, Allen Ginsburg and others would meet at all night Village coffee shops and talk until dawn.
Interviews with Orlando neighbors reveal stories of all-night typing sessions on the porch or in the living room.
We include never before seen photographs recently found in the files of a retired Time magazine photographer and Orlando resident, Bob DeWitt.
If Kerouac was not traveling to Mexico or jumping ocean freighters soaking up adventures for his next book, he was intermittently traveling north and south. He could never break from the emotional connection of his northern roots. The viewer will retrace Kerouac's footsteps through the streets of Lowell, Massachusetts and over the football field at Lowell High School, where Jack distinguished himself with his athletic prowess. We will visit the Catholic grotto, with its figures depicting the Stations of the Cross lighted against the twilight sky, where Kerouac first became aware of his perception of the spiritual realm.
The journey thorough Kerouac's life continues with more photos, film clips of his New York days-- Columbia College, Greenwich Village; the coffee houses and bars, bums and waitresses; his poetry readings accompanied by Steve Allen.
Interviews with David Amram, the late Steve Allen, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Carolyn Cassady and others will create a mosaic detailing Kerouac's days in Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, New York, Denver and San Francisco. Through their words and through archival media the viewers will meet his best friend and road companions Neal Cassady, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Kerouac, himself-- the merchant marine; the railroad brakeman; the fire spotter and poet and writer.
By the late 1960’s Jack’s drinking was beginning to take its toll. His health was deteriorating and he was becoming more despondent. He had written several more novels after the publishing victory of "On the Road", all too little acclaim. In late 1968, Jack had moved his third wife, Stella, and his mother to St. Petersburg. His writing output was minimal and he was spending more time in the neighborhood bars.
Jack’s last days were spent finishing his last novel, "Pic" and developing ideas for his biography. On October 20, 1969, Jack began throwing up blood and was taken to the hospital. He underwent surgery but died the next morning, October 21, at the age of 47. Today, however, Florida is seen as the place where Jack Kerouac went to live, not die.