Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Waiting for the On The Road movie

As we Kerouac fans continue to stew in our own excited juices waiting for the U.S. theatrical release of On The Road, it might be helpful to occupy ourselves productively in the meantime. Here are some suggestions:

1. Re-read On The Road.
I'm reading the scroll version, but I recommend reading the traditional version so that you will have in mind the actual character names from the movie (Sal & Dean versus Jack & Neal, etc.).

2. Refresh your character knowledge
Even though I suggest reading the traditional version of On The Road in preparation, I still think it's helpful to know which real-life characters align with the characters in the book. Here's a quick-reference, but you can always visit Empty Mirror's list (my source). You might want to jot this list down on the inside cover of your copy of On The Road.

Sal Paradise = Jack Kerouac
Dean Moriarty = Neal Cassady
Old Bull Lee = William S. Burroughs
Carlo Marx = Allen Ginsberg
Ed Dunkel = Al Hinkle
Marylou = Luanne Henderson
Camille = Carolyn Cassady
Amy Moriarty = Cathy Cassady
Joanie Moriarty = Jamie Cassady
Chad King = Hal Chase
Remi Boncoeur = Henri Cru
Inez = Diana Hansen
Laura = Joan Haverty
Galatea Dunkel = Helen Hinkle
Tom Saybrook = John Clellon Holmes
Elmer Hassel = Herbert Huncke
Stan Shepard = Frank Jeffries
Sal's aunt = Gabrielle Kerouac (Jack's mother)
Roland Major = Allen Temko
Jane = Joan Vollmer
Ed Wall = Ed Uhl
Rollo Greb = Alan Ansen

3. Brush up on beat terminology
To do this, simply visit the The Beat Generation Dictionary.


john j dorfner said...

i wish this movie was never made... won't be Kerouac.

Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook said...

John, I see where you're coming from and I have some of the same trepidation. We agree that it can't be Kerouac. I have said before and will stand by it: it's either going to be a really good flick or it's going to be awful. I have low expectations for it, but am trying to see the glass half full. Maybe there will be some good outcomes from it. But, like bluegrass music, as soon as something goes "mainstream," it gets ruined . . . .

Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook said...

P.S. The above character list is only partial. See

john j dorfner said...

it will open people's eyes to's just that they won't 'see' jack's beauty is what's really bothering me...and people making a lot of money off of Kerouac...just like they always have. i'm so glad jack has his true us and the rest. we know who we are. ;)

Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook said...

John, we agree. It's Jack's "beauty" they'll miss. But that takes some commitment (translation: reading)! I always feel guilty "hawking" my book, even though it was purely a labor of love and I haven't made (and won't) diddly from it!