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File:BEATNIK-CAT-ADULT-38672 1830.jpg
"Can you dig it?"
—Cyrus, The Warriors

Hey there, daddy-o.

We're what you call Beatniks. Cool it, cool it, let me explain. You'll often see us wearing shady sunglasses, black sweaters and pants, a beret, sandals, and we'll sometimes carry bongos. We were probably the Badass of our time because we are so hip, but this isn't the 1950s anymore, dig? So if you'll excuse me, I have to cut out now.

In the United States, Beatniks were the counter-culture movement par excellence of the 1950s. Beginning in a cluster of coffeeshops and bookstores[1]] in San Francisco's North Beach district, the Beat movement eschewed cookie-cutter Fifties conformity and enforced happiness in favor of the lived, authentic experience.

The depiction of the Beatnik in popular culture was designed by their detractors, and is a Flanderization of the hangers-on who attached themselves to the Beat movement--essentially the Hipsters of the 1950s. With this in mind, it's not surprising that none of the real members of The Beat Generation (a term coined by Jack Kerouac, signifying both "beat down" or "tired" as well as the musical connotations that came from the shared love of Jazz of many of the writers) actually conform to the Beatnik stereotype, but that might just be because Reality Is Unrealistic.

Examples!


  • Maynard G Krebs from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Arguable the archetype for the sterotypical beatnik character in American popular culture.
  • Beret girl from An Extremely Goofy Movie
  • Dean from The Iron Giant
  • Ghoulardi, host of early '60s Cleveland late-night horror/B-movie show Shock Theater.
  • Jake, the mascot of the Life is Good line of clothing
  • Judy from Doug
  • Ned Flanders' parents from The Simpsons.
  • Denver from Angel
  • The bartender in The Hudsucker Proxy, who says "martinis are for squares, man."
  • Batfink from Transylvania Television
  • Word of God says Jazz from Transformers Animated was intended to sound like this.
  • Mike Myers' character Charlie in So I Married an Axe Murderer doing beatnik poetry in a cafe.
  • Betty-Anne from The Off-Beats, a younger example, at about, um...eight to ten
    • Grubby Groo, also from The Off-Beats. Oh, so much.
  • The movie The Beatniks (riffed on by an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000) has absolutely nothing to do with beatniks.
  • And now, Dot's Poetry Corner.
  • Several Beatniks appear in A World of Laughter, A World of Tears, in which they have to cope with persecution from the even more culturally repressive and paranoid Fifties United States of that timeline.
  • A short diversion in the original Hairspray has the kids ducking into a pair of beatniks' apartment / studio briefly with much trepidation. At the suggestion "lets get naked and smoke," they decide to leave.
  • Sam's grandmother from Danny Phantom was one in her youth, therefore being more accommodating to Sam's Eco-Goth ways than her parents who are a pair of '50s-esque Stepford Smilers.
  • Lars, the spot-obsessed, German-esque artist that Cruella hooks up with in 101 Dalmatians 2: Patch's London Adventure, was initially a stereotypical, eccentric beatnik, until near the end of the film when we find out he's capable of being a hyperactive animal-lover.
  • A Bucket of Blood is a horror comedy by Roger Corman that wasn't as successful as Little Shop of Horrors, but it's a great beatnik movie, made in 1959, with the beatnik setting unselfconscious and authentic, since it's the present day.
  • Suzuki Beane, a book really intended for an adult readership, but formatted like a children's book, is by Sandra Scoppettone, with illustrations by Louise Fitzhugh, and is the first-person story of the Greenwich Village life of the small daughter of two beatniks. It's a subtle parody of Eloise, but works as a stand-alone piece, and before the live-action Eloise film a few years ago, was probably better known.
  • A group of Beatniks showed up frequently in the comic series Madman as antagonists at first and later, allies.
  • The Puppet Band from Pee-wee's Playhouse are a Funny Animal Affectionate Parody of beatniks.
  • Steve Martin played a beatnik poet on a Saturday Night Live sketch.
  • Johnny Beyond, a character from Alan Moore's Nineteen Sixty Three comics, is a beatnik version of Doctor Strange.
  • Lester of the Coolman! shorts. Only in his imagination. [1]
  • In Grim Fandango, there's a beatnik bar called the Blue Casket containing some very hip skeletons. Manny can get up on stage and read seemingly random poetry to them. He also refers to them as 'Deadbeats'.
  • The lesser-known Looney Tunes character Cool Cat.

Notes

  1. [http://www.citylights.com/ Some of them, incredibly, are still there.
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