Newstalgia Pop Chronicles - a documentary produced for the WNEW Radio Series Sunday News Closeup from November 11, 1967 - A Child Again. Interview with teenage runaway living in the East Village.
December 12, 2010

Teenagers in 1967 - Fodder for lots of horror stories.

Since America had escaped the ravages of the Red Scare during the 1950s reasonably well (aside from all the careers devastated by innuendo), the new scourge of Western Society was the advent of the Counter Culture in the 1960s. That wholesale rebellion against social airs and graces that typified life in a terrified yet insular society, the Counter Culture, at first a logical next step from the vestiges of the Beat Generation, was a combination of the Free Speech Movement, the Anti-War Movement, The Civil Rights Movement and probably a few hundred other social and artistic movements all rolled into one massive social upheaval.

And because most aspects of the Counter Culture had to do with politics reasonably well to the left, the practitioners of the various movements were labeled misfits, deadbeats, malcontents and the newest and most lasting one for the period; Hippies.

Hippie was a nice blanket classification for anyone who questioned the previous status quo in social/political/artistic behavior. Hippie came to be associated with shiftless, lazy, unmotivated, perverted, hirsute to the extreme and manipulative. It was also a movement that was officially pronounced dead at the end of summer 1967.

But when mainstream media began looking at this Counter Culture phenomenon after the fact, they did it with a certain jaundiced eye geared to the sensational. And as anything that starts off as a small independent movement and gains popularity, it inevitably gets into the mainstream (usually after the fact when it morphs into a life of its own) and that's when the trouble starts. And as is always the case, the initial motivators behind this and other movements either faded away, wound up in jail or on the run or were co-opted by the malcontents, agenda-grinders and grandstanders and turned into a quasi-profitable lifestyle. So what began as a serious questioning of social mores became a free-for-all and disintegrated, certainly by the end of 1969. Some say 1968. My feeling has always pinpointed it around Altamont (but that's just me).

But in November of 1967 the media were still very curious about it all and WNEW in New York ran a documentary/essay called A Child Again where a nineteen year old girl named "Marcy" was interviewed and asked about her lifestyle and her choices.

Today it may sound quaint and somewhat naive, as does a lot of history when you look back at it. At the time though, Marcy represented every parent's nightmare. And truths to tell, they had a lot to spend sleepless nights over. But that's the stuff of youth and every generation has it since the beginning of time.

And Marcy and her love of Speed and Alice In Wonderland was ours.

Oh, and if you're curious about the music bed that plays in the background, it's Jefferson Airplane off Surrealistic Pillow - in case you were driving yourself crazy wondering.

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