Nothing was sacred in the Frantic Fifties.
Nothing was sacred in the Frantic Fifties.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Interview with Mamie Van Doren for The Beat Generation – June 6, 1959 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

A staple of the American cultural diet since Cinema began; the Exploitation Film. Certainly during the Cold War, the upswing in movies with themes of mayhem, horror, Science Fiction and Popular Culture flooded the theaters and became a staple in the diet of The Drive-In Moviegoer.

And films featuring teenage delinquents, social misfits and titillation were a cornerstone in the cultural diet. Movies portraying any sort of unconventional lifestyle were prime subjects for the leering, exploitive eye. If it was controversial, and running the risk of destroying the moral fiber of our nations youth, there was going to be a movie about it.

And so films like The Beat Generation burst on the scene. Produced by MGM and featuring the young Sex-Siren Mamie Van Doren, along with a virtual who’s who of 50’s exploitation films and strangely, a guest appearance by Louis Armstrong, sought to cash in on a trend of movies whose subject matter were “ripped from today’s headlines”. Inaccurate depictions of those purveyors of experimental Art, Poetry and Music, all lumped into a stereotype of universal derangement with evil hordes of drugged out Beatniks, bent on destroying the fragile fabric of America with hammers of dope, sex and crime.

So, to promote this special brand of film, the studios (in this case MGM) put together Radio Promotion kits featuring interviews with the principals from the film for use on local radio stations to help stimulate moviegoing. This particular promo features an interview with Mamie van Doren and the interviewer is the somewhat clueless Erskine Johnson from MGM Publicity.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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