- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 4 hours, 6 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: November 6, 2012
- Originally Released: 1986
- Label: Shout Factory Theatr
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Note: Now includes The Beat Goes On (139 minutes, 2012)
- Seventeen chapters of rare and unseen footage, including an all-star lineup: Abbie Hoffman, Timothy Leary, Paul Krassner, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and many more
- Collectors Edition
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
- Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - English
Performers, Cast and Crew:
New York Times - 04/16/1986
"...Vivid vignettes....An affecting and illuminating memorial to a sad figure..."
Los Angeles Times - 09/20/1986
"...It engages us, amuses us, intellectually prods us, even moves us deeply. It brings us closer to Jack Kerouac than any other film or video record..."
This powerful documentary shows Jack Kerouac's unique creative process and rise to fame as a writer, while also shedding light on his turbulent personal life and his decline to an alcoholism-related death. Kerouac is the Beat Generation icon best known for his counterculture manifesto ON THE ROAD. He possessed unparalleled genius, but also suffered from uncontrollable personal demons that ultimately caused his demise. The film chronicles his chaotic yet fertile career in which he produced an astonishing number of novels and made history collaborating with artists such as Allen Ginsberg. The sometimes contentious relationship between Kerouac and author Neal Cassady factors significantly into the story. Cassady joined Kerouac on many of his road trips and unwillingly served as a character in Kerouac's literature. Kerouac never embraced the spotlight as his work fully consumed him. Instead, the film details how, through unsuccessful marriages, other relationships, and fathering one child, Kerouac yearned for a normal life.
Archival footage illustrates some of Kerouac's most notable public moments, including a moving, harrowing appearance taped just a year before his death. Through intimate interviews with fellow authors, relatives, and friends, including entertainer Steve Allen, author William Burroughs, poet Allen Ginsberg, and ex-wife Edie Kerouac Parker, filmmakers Richard Lerner and Lewis MacAdams elicit a touching, well-rounded picture of this brilliant but troubled artist.
- WHAT HAPPENED TO KEROUAC' started as a video project in 1982, but then grew into a full-length feature film over the next 3 years.
- Jack Kerouac died less then a year after his legendary, drunken appearance on William F. Buckley's Firing Line television show in 1968, which is featured in the film.
- The scroll of paper featuring the original text of ON THE ROAD (which was bought in 2002 by Jim Irsay, owner of the football team The Indianapolis Colts) made a tour of US museums and libraries from 2004 to 2007.