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Whicker's World. Party time! Excellent!
April 21, 2012 12:40 AM   Subscribe

Whicker's World was a BBC documentary series that ran from 1959 to 1988, presented by Alan Whicker. In 1967, Whicker traveled to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco to examine the phenomenon of hippies. Part One introduces us to The Love Generation. Part Two reveals that The Grateful Dead smoked marijuana. Part Three features freak-out dance performances and a hippy not on LSD. In Part Four, a woman in a hammock leads to teeny boppers violating the fuzz and the natural antagonism between the hippies and police. Part Five is on LSD. Part Six has many self-indulgent hippies.

Bonus: The Grateful Dead during an Acid Test, courtesy Whickers: The Golden Road.
posted by twoleftfeet (25 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
Part Two reveals that The Grateful Dead smoked marijuana.

Not since Captain Obvious encountered What-Did-You-Honestly-Expect Man.
posted by ShutterBun at 12:52 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alan Whicker came of course from Whicker Island, a place entirely inhabited by Alan Whickers.
posted by w0mbat at 1:24 AM on April 21, 2012 [10 favorites]


I was half expecting a "NO, NOT THE BBC! NOT THE BBC!" rant.

Love that Python bit, though. Super, super.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:07 AM on April 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


... and not so far from Whicker Island is Clarkson Island. The most annoying place... in the world.
posted by Talkie Toaster at 2:07 AM on April 21, 2012 [9 favorites]


I don't know nearly enough about all of this, but would it be fair to say that "Whicker vs. Robin Leach" would be more or less equivalent to "Godzilla vs. Gamera"?

I just...I need to watch them try to kill each other, for some reason.

Also: Monty Python *underplayed* their satirical impersonation. Underplayed. Think about what that means. It's like "The Simpsons" telling you "you're already unintentionally funny enough" or something.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:16 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Though illegal, everyone bent on a trip can still take one if he has the fare – today about 30 shillings," he noted. "Who knows what they see now on their kaleidoscopic trip to the unknown dangers of inner space."

30 shillings = £1.50

Swingers, acid trippers, gay cops: Alan Whicker's friends reunited
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:10 AM on April 21, 2012


"Like it or not, we're living in the stoned age."
posted by fairmettle at 5:50 AM on April 21, 2012


It's so earnest!
posted by Forktine at 7:01 AM on April 21, 2012


No tribute to Alan Whicker would be complete without a link to Wikka Rap.
posted by pascal at 8:09 AM on April 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


teeny boppers violating the fuzz

Really?
posted by zamboni at 9:49 AM on April 21, 2012


Cool FPP.

> The Grateful Dead during an Acid Test, courtesy Whickers: The Golden Road

Hmmm...I don't think that clip is from an actual Acid Test, as that sounds like the album cut with the band lip syncing over it. The equivalent of a music video, using some footage of them performing at the Fillmore.

This is some actual acid test footage, and things appear to be much more chaotic, as one would expect. Note Neal Cassady getting loose and sparking a joint at around the 1 minute mark.
posted by mosk at 10:05 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow! great footage.
I will be watching all of this today.
Part 2 has some great footage of the Diggers. I have always been fascinated with them as a whole and Emmet Grogan, one of its original members
posted by dougzilla at 11:09 AM on April 21, 2012


Part Six has many self-indulgent hippies.

Did you say that because the narrator described the festival goers as "self-indulgent"?
posted by telstar at 11:26 AM on April 21, 2012


Hashbury?!? Did he just make this up? I lived in The Haight and I never heard of this.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:39 PM on April 21, 2012


The hippy not on LSD in Part Three is Vito Paulekas, who was once part of Frank Zappa's entourage. The woman on the hammock at the beginning of Part Four is Vito's wife, Zsou Paulekas.
posted by jonp72 at 4:52 PM on April 21, 2012


"Though illegal, everyone bent on a trip can still take one if he has the fare – today about 30 shillings," he noted.

That's $29.51 in current US Dollars. I think Whicker got ripped off.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:19 PM on April 21, 2012


That's $29.51 in current US Dollars. I think Whicker got ripped off.

Well, if the price of a ticket has held mostly steady at $5 (which I think it has, but don't know as I haven't been able to buy any for over a decade, but it was still $5/hit in the late 1990s), a $5 tab in 1967 would be the equivalent of $34.30 of 2012 dollars after adjustment for inflation.
posted by hippybear at 10:30 PM on April 21, 2012


I have a recollection of $2 blotter back in the 70s and even the 80s, but I don't know how I could have formed such a recollection since I have never seen such a thing. Honest, Officer.

I remember when I lived in The Haight around '91, you couldn't walk the block around Ashbury without being openly offered drugs for sale at least 5 or 6 times. And you'd be panhandled even more often. Sometimes it was hard to tell the difference. Here is one exchange I recall:

Hippie: Make a two dollar donation for psychedelic research!
Me: Your research or mine?
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:00 PM on April 21, 2012


Whicker was doing OK.

This article cites a JAMA report from 1965:
In the Boston, Mass. area the drug was purchased for $1 per sugar cube, whereas in New York, N.Y. and Miami, Fla., a cube might cost from $2 to $7. In Harlem, gelatin capsules containing powdered LSD were bought for $2 to $10 depending on the size of the capsule. One quarter of a teaspoon of [diluted] LSD (equivalent to seven to ten capsules) sold for $35....
According to measuringworth.com (a fantastic resource for working with historical financial info), in 1967, 30 shillings UK was about US$4.13.
posted by zamboni at 11:05 PM on April 21, 2012


It's nice to be reminded that the last vestiges of sincerity and honesty have finally been purged from our society by the relentless, cleansing fire of sarcasm. What a world it must have been.
posted by Max Udargo at 11:36 PM on April 21, 2012


Good research, zamboni. But remember this is SF and the CIA was giving LSD away. I think you could safely guess the SF prices were at the $1 end of the scale.

Oh well, let's not beat this to death. I was recently disparaged for bean plating when I calculated the weight of 1050 strips of bacon.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:36 AM on April 22, 2012


In Harlem, gelatin capsules containing powdered LSD were bought for $2 to $10 depending on the size of the capsule.

WTF?

LSD has a dose so tiny... 20-30 micrograms is the threshold amount. That's 1-1000th of a gram. That's quantities so tiny... I don't know what else possibly could have been in those gelatin capsules, but if there's enough powder there that you can actually see it as a quantity of something in the capsule and it were pure LSD, you'd likely be holding enough in one capsule to get every occupant on Furthur out of their minds for a day.
posted by hippybear at 7:18 AM on April 22, 2012


According to some guy on the psychedelic internet: "Owsley used to make gel CAPS that had the insides coated with lsd. He called them "air pills" or some such nonsense because they appeared to be just empty caps."

But, hell, he could be hallucinating.

I am going to venture a guess that the capsule talkers didn't know what they were talking about. They may have been confusing mescaline caps - that often was packaged in caps because it tasted nasty. They may have confused that with LSD or maybe were just talking about hallucinogens in the generic sense.

Blotter paper was the cool distribution & delivery system in my day.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:50 AM on April 22, 2012


Blotter's fine but liquid is better, in the same way that water is usually purer closer to its source. Ah, liquid LSD. ::sigh:: That is something I miss. I haven't seen any liquid around since the huge LSD busts of the 90's. But I guess that's veering off topic a bit...
posted by plowhand at 10:02 AM on April 22, 2012


Ah, yes. I miss the brown glass dropper bottles that Owsley used to provide. 100-150 hits per bottle, sometimes measured by the drop, sometimes two.

One party I was at, we bought a bunch of chewing gum, and dosed a bunch of it with 3 drops each, carefully wrapped back up after dry and put back into the package like they had never been tampered with. I was the Gatekeeper. People who asked for gum got gum. People who asked for Pure Chewing Satisfaction... well, they obviously had the password.
posted by hippybear at 10:09 AM on April 22, 2012


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