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Merry Pranksters

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on 17 September 2014

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Transcript of Merry Pranksters

Who were the Merry Pranksters?
The Merry Pranksters were a group that was formed in 1964 around Ken Kesey, a very well known author who wrote
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
. The Group was made up of various enthusiastic marijuana, amphetamine and LSD users. The group promoted the use of various psychoactive and psychedelic drugs, mostly the use of LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide). During this time, in the United States, the use of LSD was legal until October 1966.
Ken Kesey
Members of the Merry Pranksters
The Merry Pranksters Eastward Bus Journey
On June 17th, 1964, the group of the fourteen (14) Merry Pranksters members boarded "Further", their designated vehicle for this journey in Kesey's ranch in La Honda, California.
Kesey's goals were figure out what would happen when their group of hallucinogenic-inspired people confronted the American Society, to celebrate the publication of Kesey's novel
Sometimes a Great Notion
(1964) and to visit the 1964 World's Fair in New York City.
For the group, their goal was: a destination that could only be obtained through the expansion of one's own perceptions of reality.
The groups source of transportation was named "Further." It was named this as motivation to keep going whenever the bus broke down (which happened to be many times). The psychedelic and trippy painted school bus had many malfunctions, this didn't stop the group.

The bus was very customized, it's interior was fully painted with a stove, refrigerator, various bunks and an incredible sound system.

It is said that both the bus and its passengers were fueled by drug use. The bus was packed with a generous supply of LSD, 500 Benzedrine pills, and a shoebox filled with already-rolled marijuana joints.

Further went on many different trips, it's most known one, cross-country to the New York. However, it did take other trips before it eventually broke down and a "new Further" was made. It took a trip from New York back to La Honda, to an Anti-Vietnam war rally (1966) and to the Woodstock Music & Art Fair (1969).
The Merry Pranksters in Media
1. Helmore, E. (2011, August 07). How Ken Kesey's LSD-fuelled bus trip created the psychedelic 60s. Retrieved September 08, 2014, from http://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/aug/06/lsd-ken-kesey-pranksters-film
2. Magic Trip. (n.d.). Retrieved September 08, 2014, from http://www.magpictures.com/magictrip/
3. "freedomwatchdog." Mental Health Watch. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2014. <>.
4. Helmore, Edward. "How Ken Kesey's LSD-fuelled bus trip created the psychedelic 60s." The Observer. Guardian News and Media, 7 Aug. 2011. Web. 8 Sept. 2014. <http://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/aug/06/lsd-ken-kesey-pranksters-film>.
5. "Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters." Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2014. <https://www.univie.ac.at/Anglistik/easyrid
6. Helmore, Edward. "How Ken Kesey's LSD-fuelled bus trip created the psychedelic 60s." The Observer. Guardian News and Media, 7 Aug. 2011. Web. 8 Sept. 2014. <http://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/aug/06/lsd-ken-kesey-pranksters-film>.

The Merry Pranksters
Merry Pranksters
By: Maxine Russel & Tessa Seferina
English 10B

They are the most known for their legendary trip around the US in a bus named "Furthur" where they gave out LSD to anyone and everyone who would accept it.

To sum it all up, the Merry Pranksters all got into a bus and drove cross country offering (mostly) LSD to anyone and everyone that would accept it.
Ken Kesey was born on September 17th, 1935 in La Junta, Colorado. However, Kesey grew up in Springfield, Oregon. He attended the University of Oregon on an Fred Lowe scholarship that was awarded to him. In 1957, he went to Stanford University and became part of Stanford's Graduate Program in writing. Later he moved to Palo Alto, California.

Kesey was an subject for an experiment conducted by the US army that tested the effects of mind-altering drugs. He also served in as an attendant in an psychiatric ward. These two experiences combined lead to his book
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
. While working in psychiatric wards, Kesey began stealing LSD and sharing it with his friends at home.
Ken Kesey:
the leader/founder of the Merry Pranksters
Robert Stone:
a novelist that the group met when they arrived in New York.
Neal Cassady:
described by Kesey as "the world's greatest driver, who could roll a joint while backing a 1937 Packard onto the lip of the Grand Canyon"
Ken Babbs:
head of the radio and had a command voice for put the cops to flight
Jane Burton:
described by Kesey as "a pregnant young philosophy professor who declined no challenges"
Page Browning
: described by Kesey "a Hell's Angel candidate"
Sandy Lehmann-Haupt
: described by Kesey as "dis-MOUNT"
Mike Hagen:
described by Kesey as "Mal Function"
Ron Bevirt:
described by Kesey as "Hassler"
Paula Sundstren:
described by Kesey as "Gretchin Fetchin, Slime Queen"
Still Members of the Merry Pranksters
On August 5th, 2011 the documentary directed by Alex Gibney and Alison Ellwood called the Magic trip was released. This was a documentary about the Merry Pranksters trip.

The cast consisted of Ken Kesey, Neal Cassady, The Merry Band of Pranksters, and The Grateful Dead. The footage used in the documentary was filmed during the original trip but remained unseen until the release of the documentary in 2011.

The Merry Pranksters has since then become a very "influential" group for certain groups of people today; right is a picture of a group paying a tribute to them, captioned "Ode to The Pranksters".

The groups actions soon sparked the Merry Pranksters Movement.
Sandy Lehmann-Haupt
: described by Kesey as "dis-MOUNT"
Mike Hagen:
described by Kesey as "Mal Function"
Ron Bevirt:
described by Kesey as "Hassler"
Paula Sundstren:
described by Kesey as "Gretchin Fetchin, Slime Queen"
Chloe Scott:
founder of the Dymaxion Dance Group in 1962 (she only lasted one day because she wasn't about that life)
Cathy Casamo:
wanted the fame of being in the Merry Prankster documentary, but was left behind
Del Close:
made light images for Grateful Dead performances; later went on to act in movies such as
The Untouchables
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Paul Krassner
: known for being the youngest person to ever to perform at Carnegie Hall, was the leader of the Merry Pranksters Activism

Other members who weren't special enough to have been described by Ken Kesey or at all include: Chuck Kesey, Dale Kesey, John Babbs, George Walker, Steve Lambrecht, Jane Burton,
Maxine Russel & Tessa Seferina
Full transcript