© Ralph Ackerman

Coming back to PBS’s American Experience – in recognition of the event’s 50th anniversary – tomorrow, Tuesday, July 25:

Gail Dolgin and Vicente Franco

American Experience (April 2007)

An in-depth look at the convergence of the counterculture in San Francisco in the summer of 1967.

This look back to the utopian vision of a new youth-driven, free-thinking society is bookended with the Golden Gate Park Human Be-In in January 1967, and the Death of the Hippie mock funeral in October of the same year. The first event, and Timothy Leary’s call for everyone to “turn on, tune, drop out,” served as a clarion call, drawing would-be hippies to San Francisco from all corners of the country – an onslaught that SF city officials resisted and that the counterculture’s limited infrastructure was ultimately unable to properly handle, leading to serious problems, from drug overdoses to the exploitation of youth. Dolgin and Franco concisely explore both why the hippie counterculture emerged in the tempestuous 1960s and why San Francisco became, for many, its hub, drawing on the memories of participants in that unforgettable summer and ample archival footage that showed the transformation of Haight-Ashbury, the response of longtime residents, and the curious onlookers who contributed to the sensationalism of the phenomenon.


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