Tag Archives: beatnik





Ana’s GuitarThis is my friend Ana’s Guitar.

Ana is a Poet who, some years ago, went travelling through Nashville, Tennessee collecting and patching memorabilia to this guitar. The arm sticking out from the bottom of the photo is Mr. Howdy Doody’s Puppet!

If you view this in larger size you can read the details on leaflets.

You can view this in Large here;


HIGHWAY AMERICA – WALCOTT, IOWA — Iowa 80 Truckstop, The World’s Largest Truckstop

HIGHWAY AMERICA – WALCOTT, IOWA — Iowa 80 Truckstop, The World’s Largest Truckstop

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The world’s largest truck stop, and CAT Scale Company will be featured on the History Channel’s Modern Marvels series. The one-hour show will air June 13th at 10:00 p.m. eastern time and is focusing on truck stops. Iowa 80 will be showcased in the first segment of the program with CAT Scale airing later in the hour.

“We are flattered that the History Channel chose us to represent the trucking industry”, says Delia Moon Meier, Iowa 80 Group Senior Vice President. “And equally pleased to be able to share our newly expanded and remodeled facility with History Channel viewers.”

Iowa 80 Truckstop is part of the Iowa 80 Group that also owns and operates Joplin Petro Truckstop, Joplin, Missouri; Oak Grove 70 Petro Truckstop, Oak Grove, Missouri; Kenly 95 TA Truckstop, Kenly, North Carolina; Truckomats in: Little Rock, Arkansas; Temple, Georgia; Effingham, Illinois; South Holland, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Walcott, Iowa; Joplin, Missouri; Oak Grove, Missouri; Kenly, North Carolina; Hebron, Ohio; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Laredo, Texas; Wytheville, Virginia; IOWA80.COM mail-order catalog and e-commerce web site based in Walcott, Iowa; Iowa 80 Trucking Hall of Fame Truck Museum, Walcott, Iowa and CAT Scale Company.

Express Your Inner Hippie;

Express Your Inner Hippie;

Counterculture of the 1960’s






Express Your Inner Hippie;

the Art, Fashion and Music of the 1960’s

The counterculture of the United States brought on a new sense and philosophy of life and along with this, different and new ways of expression. The counterculture youth of the nation utilized their first Amendment rights to their full advantage in terms of protest, music, literature and art. The freedom of expression was the main attribute to the carefree, hippie lifestyle. The youth expressed their beliefs through freedom of expression by dawning eccentric clothing, creating new artwork and literature, and expressing themselves through song.

With new ideas about life came new designs for clothing and trends in the 1960’s. Designers fashioned new clothing for the expanding hippie culture whom were attracted to the bright, psychedelic colors and patterns. The drug culture and massive quantities of LSD being consumed fed the appeal of such bizarre fashion. “‘With acid, there was an emergence of young people dressed to die for’ –Christopher Gibbs,” (Miles 255). Designers purposefully created patterns and colors that imitated an “acid trip”.

“The patterns, suitably enough, were created by the burning of acetate colored slides with acid…Colors and materials floated, crossed over into one another and seemed to expand and blur as the wearer danced,” (Miles 255).

People made statements with their outlandish attire and attitudes. The clothing was a way in which the youth could express themselves to the public as free individuals who had no regard for what people had to say about them or how they dressed. Some hippies did not feel the need for such expensive, outrageous clothing. Some were content with less expensive or home-made clothing.

“The 1960’s describes hippies wearing flowers in their hair, dressing in second-hand clothes from thrift and army surplus stores. They wore ponchos, bell-bottoms decorated with patches and embroidered tie-dye shirts, leather sandals, bright colors, and intricate patterns…Women wore men’s clothes and ‘granny dresses’ without bras because they found them too restricting,” (Hoy 1).

Some hippies did not feel the need to spend so much money on the highest and fashionable trends of the era. Instead, they kept their attire simple and used what money they made for essential living and most times drugs.

The fundamental origin of the 1960’s hippie culture was derived from the “Beat Generation” of the late 1950’s. Generally known as “Beatniks”, these people started to really experiment in the field of art, namely poetry.

“Beatniks frequently rejected middle-class American values, customs, and tastes in favor of radical politics and exotic jazz, art and literature,” (‘Beatnick’ 1).

The “New Beats” developed into the Hippie Generation in the 1960’s as the culture in popularity and exposure increased dramatically. Beatniks were struggling artists, trying to find new ways to express themselves and quickly found an outlet in poetry. Aside from new literature which fed the public alternate ways of life and philosophies, the psychedelic poster business took form and exploded onto the scene. Bold, fluorescent colors and intricate patterns were also reflected in the art of poster making. The fascination with such bizarre patterns and colors was apparent through both the clothing and the posters.

“1966 was the year that psychedelic posters really took off…The letters were often so distorted that they were very difficult to decipher-unless you were stoned. This made the posters and the events they were advertising more appealing,” (Miles 100).

People would design these posters such as fashion designers created clothes and outfits for the hippie generation to wear. People of the generation were highly attracted to them, just as much as they were attracted to the drug culture that was thriving in the nation. Andy Warhol, a famous artist of the era, designed album covers for bands as well as works of art. He is known for many works, among them the psychedelic four-frame portrait of Marylyn Monroe and the can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup. Busses that transported hippies to the West Coast, such as San Francisco, were painted with similar designs and plenty of bright colors. Bright colors and intricate patterns, as well as deep thought were methods of effective expression during the counterculture era.

Throughout the decades of the 20th century, each has had their own label in terms of musical revolution. For example, swing was popular in the 1920’s, jazz and blues through the next two and a half decades, and rock ‘n’ roll in the conservative 1950’s. The 1960’s era is known for the emergence of psychedelic rock, a genre which hippies listened to when high on drugs, believing they could reach a higher place. The “British Invasion” of bands from England contributed to the explosion of this new rock genre in the United States. “Then came the Beatles, followed rapidly by the Stones and a whole explosion of beat groups that transformed rock ‘n’ roll, if not overnight, then in a year or so,” (Miles 76). The Beatles were a crazed sensation in the United States; they gained a solid fan base in the country amongst the youth. Amongst the most popular groups were the individuals who spoke out against issues with their music. People such as Bob Dylan expressed his protest point of view through acoustic singing and song-writing. He soon became “an electrified spokesperson for a generation in 1965.” (Miles 50). Artists such as Dylan were able to express their views on current issues of the country because they had a right to do so, and because they wanted to be heard. Janis Joplin, a female artistic activist, both for anti-war protest and feminisms in this era because she was able to express herself through music, much like the rest of the counterculture in the United States. The new-wave genre of psychedelic rock took firm hold on the nation and grew more defined as its popularity expanded and the hippie generation found another effective way to freely express themselves.

With a completely worry and carefree lifestyle, the people of the Hippie generation and counterculture used their rights as citizens of the United States to their advantage. They could outright ridicule America’s involvement in the Vietnam War and make statements against the restrictive society that possessed the previous decade. Counterculture youth made statements with their fashion sense, their creative and appealing artwork and through their own voice, either through poetry and literature or song. It was never uncommon to see people of this generation dressing bizarrely, or even simply, painting the flowers and peace signs on the side of an old bus in neon colors, and never without a guitar or flute. Through each of these means, the hippie generation effectively defines their views and purpose, and in turn, positively share it with the rest of society.

Works Cited

“Beatnik.” RetroGalaxy.Com. 2007. Online. Internet. 06.06.07. Available:


Hoy, Rosemary. “Flower Children Chose Alternative Lifestyle.” Borderlands.

Internet. 06.03.07.Available:


Miles, Barry. Hippy. New York. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc, 2003.

COOL PEOPLE – Carl Solomon

COOL PEOPLE – Carl Solomon



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Carl Solomon was born March 30, 1928 in the Bronx, New York. His father died in 1939, which depressed him deeply. He graduated high school at the age of fifteen, and enrolled at the City College of New York. In 1943 he dropped out to joined the US Maritime Service. As a seaman, he traveled all over the world, seeing many notable sights such as the surrealist exposition of Andre Breton, Jean Genet’s first play, and hearing Antonin Artaud read poetry. Solomon began reading a lot of Dadaist and Surrealist poetry. Then, after identifying himself with Kafka’s hero, K, Solomon decided that he was insane. Just after his twenty-first birthday, he voluntarily committed himself and recieved shock treatment at the Psychiatric Insitute of New York.

As Solomon was coming up from his shock treatment one day, he mumbled “I’m Kirilov [of Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed].” Allen Ginsberg, sitting in the waiting room replied, “I’m Myshkin.” Indeed, Solomon said many interesting things after regaining post-shock consciousness, much of which Ginsberg put into his famous poem, “Howl,” which was dedicated to Solomon. Solomon at first thought he was a new patient, though Ginsberg was only visiting his mother.

Solomon and Ginsberg soon became friends, which was Solomon’s only real claim to fame. Despite his mental conditions, Solomon was very intelligent, and was able to teach ginsberg a lot about important writers and obscure geniuses.

Solomon’s uncle happened to be A.A. Wyn, the publisher of Ace books. When he wasn’t in the hospital, Solomon did work for his uncle. Ginsberg pleaded with him to try to publish his seemingly un-publishable friends William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Ace books ended up signing Burroughs’ Junky as part of a pulp, two-in-one thriller, but they rejected Kerouac’s 120-foot long single page manuscript of On the Road.

Though Solomon was not a writer himself, pepole always thought he was. He did eventually live up to these expectations in 1996, when his first book, Mishaps, Perhaps was published. It was a collection of quaintly psychotic essays including “Pilgrim State Hospital,” and “Suggestions to improve the Public Image of the Beatnik.” Later, two more of his books were published: More Mishaps in 1968, and Emergency Messages in 1989.

by Carl Solomon

It is most important now to change the smell of the Beatnik. Instead of using, for example, the word “shit” so ofter in their poems, I suggest that they tactfully substitute the word “roses” wherever the other word occurs.

This is a small adjustment.

It is just as AVANT GARDE so art will suffer no loss.

Instead of saying “MERDE” they will be saying “A rose is a rose is a rose.” Just as AVANT GARDE, you see, with considerable improvement in the effect created.

beatniks and beat-flicks


The Beatniks we know and love, with their requisite bongos, berets and turtlenecks, made their big screen debuts in Hollywood films like FUNNY FACE and BELL BOOK AND CANDLE in the late 1950s. They weren’t called beatniks yet, but they were black-clad, modern-dancing, angst-ridden Existentialists—a trés chicFrench export. These early beatnik stereotypes—goateed, bongo-beating espresso drinkers—were then portrayed as quaint and harmless, if somewhat silly.

But in American urban centers like New York and San Francisco, a youth culture that defined themselves as “beat”was forming. These were members of a generation whose spirits were beaten down by World War II and the new fear of atomic weaponry, and responded to the angst by rejecting the materialistic, straight-laced values of the 1950s mainstream. They listened to jazz. They experimented with drugs. They wrote stream-of-consciousness poetry. They danced to the beat of a different bongo, and went pretty much unnoticed. It was only after the publication of Jack Kerouac’s On the Roadin 1957 that the mainstream caught on. And before you could say “Daddy-O,” there was a beatnik backlash.

Hollywood took it upon itself to warn the rest of the nation about just what these crazy kids were up to, throwing in a goodly amount of 50s paranoia and sexploitation for good measure. In movies like HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL and BEAT GIRL, beatniks are portrayed as a bunch of juvenile-delinquent drug pushers who expressed themselves with secret-code-like slang and weird poetry. There isn’t a beret to be found in either of these films; in beatsploitation flicks like THE PRIME TIME, THE REBEL SET, BUCKET OF BLOOD, and THE BLOODY BROOD, however, we get beatniks with all the trimmings: goatees galore, battalions of bongos, jazzed-up java and pathetic poetry. While TV’s “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” gave us a harmless Maynard G. Krebs, it was in these movies that the mainstream’s fear of these new bohemians really rears its square head. If they dig breaking the rules of conventional society, these films seem to ask, where do these cats draw the line? Beatniks give way to bad-nicks, be they homicidal psychopaths out for sadistic kicks or, less bleakly, vulnerable wannabe artists who become lackeys for hardened criminals.

The sexual experimentation of the beats, particularly that of the girls, is especially threatening to the impresarios of squaresville. While these films coyly eye the voluptuous curves of beat-chicks as they “express themselves” to the wild beat of the bongo in skin-tight black pants and sweaters, by the time the credits roll most of these gals end up dead or working in strip clubs.

Eventually, the beats went back to being thought of as a quaint, wacky subculture. In the 1980s, HAIRSPRAY gave us a pair of harmless pot-smoking, beatnik freakazoids; in a bizarre case of life imitating (non-)art, the 1990s saw a rise of neo-beatnik coffee houses and a revived poetry scene, seemingly inspired more by the beat-flicks than the beatniks.

Like, strictly dullsville, man.   </end>

Bucket of Blood, The Bloody Brood, The Rebel Set, and The Prime Time are available from Something Weird Video. For a complete catalog send $3.00 to “S.W.V. Catalog”, Dept. FUN, P.O. Box 33664, Seattle WA 98133. Please state with signature that you are 18 or older.

Illustrations by jorja rucker

Beat-FlickPlot SummaryIdentifying Beatnik TraitsBeatnik HangoutMeaningful Beatnik Philosophical StatementsAtypical Beatnick activitySubstance(s) abused

Funny Face

In this Hollywood musical, Greenwich Village bookstore clerk Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn) is discovered by the editor of a fashion magazine and flown off to Paris with photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire). Although she disapproves of the world of fashion (“it’s chi-chi and an unrealistic approach to self-impressions as well as economics”), Jo takes the trip so that she can hang out with Parisian intellectuals and meet the father of “Empathicalism.” of which she is a loyal disciple. The philosopher turns out to be a cad (“he’s more man than philosopher”), and Jo ends up falling in love with Dick.

danceturtleneckphilosophysweatergoateejazzberetnails, cowboy killers, 'baccy, smoke, stogie, stickbangs

An underground Parisian cafe with live jazz.

“All that is delicious is not nutritious.”

“I feel a hostile vibration.”

Spontaneous song & dance numbers; headstands; tap dancing.

Wine; modern dance; Gershwin tunes.; overuse of the word “pizzazz.”

Bell, Book & Candle

Gillian Halroyd (Kim Novak) is an African art dealer and practicing witch who falls for stodgy publisher Sheperd Henderson (Jimmy Stewart). With some help from her witch associates—her aunt Queeny and brother Nicki (Jack Lemmon)—she sets out to win his heart.

While not a movie about beatniks per se, the movie draws some interesting parallels between witches and beatniks: when not casting spells, the three hang out with the witch in-crowd at an underground jazz bar where Nicki plays bongos, and Gillian shows a penchant for wearing black and a dislike for shoes. And, like most witches, they live outside the rules of normal society.


The Zodiac: an underground, brick-walled bar with live jazz for the occult set.

“Don’t you ever wish that you weren’t what we are? That you could just spend Christmas Eve in a little church somewhere, listening to carols, instead of bongo drums?”

“It might be pleasant to be humdrum once in a while.”

“That’s what happens to people like us. We forfeit everything and we end up in a little world of separateness from everyone.”


Herbs, potions, spells.

High School Confidential

Although the original trailer hypes this movie as the story of “The Beat Generation,” it contains only one conspicuous beatnik scene. Tony Baker (Russ Tamblyn) is the new bad kid in town, a weedhead who wants to be the top “reefers” dealer. Standing in the way of his ambitions is J.I. (John Drew Barrymore) the president of the “Wheelers and Dealers” gang. This classic J.D. extravaganza features an outstanding cameo performance by Phillipa Fallan as the ultra-hip beatnik poetess who performs at the coffee shop, accompanied by Jackie Coogan on piano.

say catsweaterpoetry

Brick-walled coffee club with live jazz.

“Tomorrow is a drag, pops. The future is a flake.”

“Sleep, man, and you might wake up diggin’ the whole human race.”

“That’s the way the bongo bingos.”

Pool parties; drag racing; drug-dealing; Narc-ing.

Cigarillos; weed; reefers; Mary Jane; “H”; coke; goofballs.

The Bloody Brood

QT movieA perfect square.
QT movieHe’s tuned in.
QT movieGet with it cats.

Peter Falk plays Nico, a drug dealing gangster who hangs out with beatniks. Nico has a delivery boy killed as an existentialist party trick but the joke’s on him when the delivery boy’s brother traps him with his own secret weapon—a deadly poem.


The Digs: a brick-walled underground jazz bar.

“Fish—all mouth and eyes. They don’t think, they don’t feel, they just go round and round like squares. ”

Murder by hamburger.

Wine; weed; heroin; ground glass.

Bucket of Blood

QT movieSour cream of circumstance.
QT movieCrazy, what is it called?

In this Roger Corman horror/comedy, Walter (Dick Miller) is the talentless coffee-shop waiter with ambitions to be an artist—they get all the girls! He quickly discovers an easy way to create life-like sculptures: he starts with something dead! His first piece, “Dead Cat,” gains him the acceptance of the beatnik in-crowd, and he follows it up with “Murdered Man” and “Female Nude.”

goateesweaternails, cowboy killers, 'baccy, smoke, stogie, stickcoffeepoetryartpaint

The Yellow Door: An underground, brick-walled coffee house with live poetry.

“What is not creation is graham crackers; let it all crumble to feed the creator.”

Killing things; covering dead things with clay and calling them sculpture.

Coffee, money, heroin, clay.

The Rebel Set

QT movieFar-out dancing girl
QT movieWhen in Rome, do the Romans.

Mr. Tucker (Edward Platt), a diabolical coffee bar owner, invites three ambitious but unsuccessful beatniks—an actor, a writer, and the jailbird son of an actress—to help him pull off a million-dollar armored car hold-up. The plan involves a train to New York from Los Angeles with a three hour lay-over in Chicago—just long enough to pull off the job. The robbery comes off without a hitch, but it’s on the train trip back to New York that the fun really begins as Mr. T, now cleanly shaven and posing as a minister, sets out to eliminate his beatnik partners-in-crime.

sunglassesbongosberetgoateeturtleneckcoffeenails, cowboy killers, 'baccy, smoke, stogie, stickjazzpoetrybangswriterdancebarefoot

Mr. T’s Cafe: An underground, brick-walled coffee bar with live jazz and poetry.

“A rose by any other name would still have thorns.”

“When in Rome, do the Romans.”

“I am bugged beyond recall.”

“I don’t dig you. All this chopper music and no tune.”

Armed robbery; murder; jumping from trains.


Beat Girl

QT movieDig that crazy saxophone.
QT movieStrictly for kicks!

In this British import, teenage bad girl Jenny (Noelle Adams) doesn’t like her new step-mother, so she digs for dirt on her past at the local strip joint. When her folks are asleep, art student Jenny sneaks out of the house to hang out with her “beatnik” pals at the local coffee shop where they talk about alienation and jazz while playing rockabilly.

sweaternails, cowboy killers, 'baccy, smoke, stogie, stickartjazzsay cat

The Off Beat: a coffee bar with an underground jazz club.

“We don’t wear dresses very often. We’re different.”

“Next week—voom—up goes the world in smoke. So now, while it’s now, we’ll live it up. Do everyting, feel everything—strictly for kicks.”

Stripping; drag racing; being British.

None: “Drinks are for squares!”

The Prime Time

Jean (Jo Ann LeCompte) is a teenage hot tamale who’s having an affair with a local investigator. When Jean is stood up by her beau, she retaliates by posing nude for “the beard” (Roy Gronwold) a local beatnik artist. All goes well until she taunts him about his masculinity (she calls him a “shrimp”), thereby forcing him to kill her.

goateebrokepaintnails, cowboy killers, 'baccy, smoke, stogie, stickturtleneck

The Golden Goose Lounge: An underground bar with live rockabilly.

“Like I’m there…I’m on the A train.”

“You wanna play quiz games, get on TV.”

“The Beard needs money!”

Murder; ability to paint the backside view of a person while they are posing from the front.

Alcohol; cigarillos; poison; gas; matches

Heart Beat

Based on the book by Carolyn Cassady, this movie tells the tale of some real beatniks: Carolyn (Sissy Spacek), Jack Keroac (John Heard) and Neal Cassady (Nick Nolte.) Neal is the irresponsible bad boy and Jack the sincere, struggling novelist. They both fall in love with the same woman: a proper, upper-class art student. Although it is Neal who marries her, he makes for a lousy husband, and Jack comes to live with them as her lover. The three cool cats have a fabulous, anti-establishment time living in the ‘burbs until Jack’s book is published, bringing him sudden fame, and the birth of the media hype surrounding “beatniks.”

writerjazzbrokenails, cowboy killers, 'baccy, smoke, stogie, stickpoetrysweatersunglassespaint

Bud’s Bop Shop: an underground brick-walled jazz club; an underground brick-walled poetry club capitalizing on the “beatnik” craze; The Five Spot: another underground brick-walled jazz club.

“All I need to write is a pencil!”

“You wanna know about civilization? Ask any bum on the Bowery after he’s had twelve shots of Sterno. The puke-encrusted scabs on his face are a more eloquent poem than Eliot ever wrote! ”

“This entire generation is a constipated pack of cowering illiterates.”

“Everybody wants to be hip. Even old Jack wishes he was a spade.”

Suburban living; having kids; wife-swapping.

Pot; alcohol; “Bennies”; friendships.


This John Waters flick takes place in Baltimore in 1962. Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake) becomes queen of the local dance show, “The Corny Collins Show,” and takes up the cause of racial integration. In an unforgettable scene, Tracy and her friends seek shelter at the apartment of two wacky beatniks (Pia Zadore and Rick Ocasek) while trying to evade “the fuzz.”

bangsberetturtleneckbongospaintjazzsay cat

Run-down brick-walled pad.

“When I’m high I am Odetta. Let’s get naked and smoke!”

Hair consciousness: hair-ironing.

loco-weed; irons (“I get high, listen to Odetta, and iron my hair!”).


Beat-FlickPlot SummaryIdentifying Beatnik TraitsBeatnik HangoutMeaningful Beatnik Philosophical StatementsAtypical Beatnick activitySubstance(s) abused










Beat Slang 1950s

The thing that’s really interesting about the Beat slang 1950s era is that of all the various times when slang was popular, then died out, it’s in this particular epoch that so much of the jargon is still in current use.

You sure can’t say that about the lingo of any other decade, all the way from the 1920s (“23 skidoo”) to the1960s (“groovy!”)

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Origin of Beat

The Beat generation harkens back to the late 1940s. The generation was sick of World War 2 and stunned by the sudden entry into the atomic age by the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. They had no place to go, and nothing from which to draw hope. They were the predecessors of the “turn on and tune out” hippies of the 1960s (although, it can be argued, the Beatniks – the followers of the Beat lifestyle – did it with more aplomb than the hippies.)



The term “beatnik” is derived from the slang term “beat,” which was popularized by famous writer Jack Kerouac after the war. “Beat” came to mean “beaten down,” but Kerouac said that wasn’t his intent.   

The Beat Generation, as Kerouac saw it, were people who were “down and out, but who had intense conviction.”

Hipsters Loved Jazz

In some ways, the Beatniks’ music was way “cooler” (a very Beat word.)



“Hipster,” as Kerouac used it, is one of the lead slang terms of the generation. Hipsters were aficionados of jazz music, and the entire jazz lifestyle. That included a particular lingo, dress, and attitude, and probably the first systematic use of marijuana in an American subculture.

The word “hipster” ultimately replaced the slang “hepcat,” which was pretty much a jazz subculture follower of decades earlier.


Anyone who was a hipster was in constant pursuit of whatever was “cool,” a slang term that survives to this day. In the late 40s, that included a combination of jazz and bebop, or bop, music, a takeoff on jazz, but with a quicker beat and lots of improvisation.

Dating for the Beat Generation



Hipsters were also relaxed about other conventional social mores, including sex. Jazz musicians attracted their own followings; the hipsters were, in their day, a bit like groupies (band followers).

Let’s say you’re interested in a girl. The first looks translate into “eyeballing a doll” (that is, giving the potential date a good lookover.)

You envision what’d it be like to take her out. You anticipate it being an incredible amount of fun; or in Beat-speak, “a gas.”

But if the chick nixes the “back seat bingo” (a phrase devoted to the fine art of kissing, or making out, with a girl in a car), she’d be “bad news.”  It’s important to note that it’s not the act of rejection, but the person themselves, who is the “bad news.”

About Beat Slang in the 1950s

State of Coolness

But how serious is this chick? Does she really have to be home early to “Big Daddy,” or is she just “copping a bit”?

In this usage, Big Daddy may indeed be the potential date’s father. But more likely, it’s an older person who isn’t hep to the Beat scene (and wants to put a damper on Beatnik fun.)

The date herself may very well be a closet square; that’s why she’s “copping a bit” (making up an act to delude the Beatnik.)

Squares are an abundant source for Beatniks of “the big tickle” (a laugh at the expense of the victim.) But hey, it’s not like they were cool to begin with! No big loss in Beat society.

Such a person is known as a “square” or “cube” in Beat slang in the 1950s.


The only major differences were the degree of “squareness.” A waitress, for example, might be square, but she probably wasn’t nearly as square as, say, a banker, an accountant, or – the worst yet! – a cop.



Anti-police Slang

Because of their “on the brink” lifestyle, and their engagement in activities that were either straight out or borderline illegal, the worst enemy a beatnik had was an officer of the law.

This may be the first time the use of the word “pig” as a slang slur against policemen had been used.

If a beatnik saw a bunch of cops heading toward a hipster hangout, he’d “haul ass” or “beat the gravel” (run like crazy to get away from them, since cops were never up to any good in Beatnik circles.)

More Cool Words

Beat culture had many ways of describing the ultimate amazing experience. Did you cats have a blast? That’s like saying the Daddy-o Beatniks were cookin’!

Both phrases have similar meanings. “Cats” and “Daddy-o” are variation on the Beatnik self-descriptive “hipster” word to describe, well, themselves! Beatniks are nothing if not self-referential.

A blast and cooking? No, it’s not the prelude to a Beatnik barbecue. A blast to the Beats is pretty much the same as it is to modern day partiers: a fun time. If you were cookin’, it’s a high compliment, indeed. It merely meant you were doing something well (as in a jazz musician, favorites of the Beats, playing a hot horn so much so that the patrons said he was “cooking

More Beat Slang

If you dig it, man, that’s crazy! (This is all a good thing among Beats.)

“Digging” is getting, or understanding, something, just like being “in orbit”; and “crazy,” like “boss!”, are both  euphemisms for something that’s just plain old good.

Just don’t “go ape,” especially at “the flicks,” or your fellow movie patrons are apt to get “wigged out.” (That means don’t yell at the movies, or it’s apt to annoy the rest of the audience.)

Are you out to get your “kicks” by “making the scene”? The kicks is the thrill you get by doing something fun or incredible; and if you’re “making the scene,” you’re in the right place at the right time.

As you can see, there’s an art to Beat slang from the 1950s. It’s worth the effort to make the language scene, especially if your goal is to be a real hipster!