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Friday, November 4, 2011

Call It "Occupy Haight Street": Harry Reasoner's 1967 The Hippie Temptation

Posted By on Fri, Nov 4, 2011 at 10:30 AM


The Hippie Temptation was a CBS News special hosted by Harry Reasoner about the hippie culture of Haight-Ashbury. Originally broadcast on August 22, 1967, it was frequently screened for its considerable camp value in more recent years at the already dearly missed Red Vic Movie House.

The "temptation (and the danger)" of the title is LSD. Much of the running time is given over to misinformation about acid, mostly the chromosome-damage myth.

Harry walks the Haight with a youthful (but not especially hippie) entourage.

The Haight is described as the main colony for the hippies. It's an interesting choice of words, "colony," and one I've never heard anywhere else.

Nothing says "We don't know how LSD actually feels" quite like spinning the camera around.

Hippies still block the sidewalks these days, though they're usually gütterpünken demanding money. It's why I try to avoid the Haight in general, and prefer to walk down Waller when I'm there

Harry displays his mastery of hippie slang: "bread" refers to the money earned by selling the paper and the food the money buys. (Congratulations! Your mind just got blown by Harry Reasoner.)

Thanks to the Diggers, it's hippie feeding time -- which is nowhere near as cute as penguin feeding time.

Not everybody recognizes how nice -- and gassy! -- a day it is, and that really irritates this hippie.

This interview with the Grateful Dead is probably the most famous sequence. Oh, Jerry, you were so young once. And alive.

At the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, a greasy guy nods off onto Janeane Garofalo's mom, who handles it with all the aplomb you would expect from Janeane Garofalo's mom. (Note: That is not actually Janeane Garofalo's mom.)

The cops break up a street party.

After the Dead play in the park, Harry sums up his feelings about hippies. He is not a fan.

Still, his notion that this youthful energy could be what's going to solve the world's problems, if it only were channeled correctly? It's almost progressive, all things considered. Hopefully it'll work this time around.


Sherilyn Connelly is a San Francisco-based writer. She also curates and hosts Bad Movie Night at The Dark Room, every Sunday at 8pm.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF (follow Sherilyn Connelly on Twitter at @sherilyn) and like us on Facebook.

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