Ken Kesey: A Short History, Part II


Embraced by literary critics, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” was viewed as a microcosm of the wider world–where power is often abused–and the individual is suppressed for the sake of conformity. “Cukoo’s Nest” soon became a Broadway play and later an Academy Award-winning film starring Jack Nicholson.

Although Kesey’s second book, “Sometimes A Great Notion,” a lengthy saga about a logging family, won some acclaim, it faile to ignite the literary excitement of “Cuckoo’s Nest.” It was “Cuckoo’s Nest” that brought Ken Kesey fame and a modest fortuna via royalties. Seeking creative isolation, he purchased a mountain hideaway, a rustic log and stone cabin on 2 1/2 acres surrounded by a majestic grove of redwood trees in La Honda in San Mateo County.

Amid scenery that looked like a Christams card, Kesey emerged as a leader of the psychedelic movement, on the cutting edge of “acid tests,” long hair and Eastern mysticism. He was at the center of the counterculture scene emerging in San Mateo County and the young people who flocked tohis side at La Honda were dubbed “The Merry Pranksters.”

They “goofed off,” smoked pot and listened to live rock n’ roll, much of it provided by a musical group that later became world famous as the Grateful Dead.

…To be continued…