Release Date 2011

Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search for a Cool Place

Synopsis /

Magic Trip is a freewheeling portrait of Ken Kesey and the Merry Prankster’s fabled road trip across America in the legendary Magic Bus. In 1964, Ken Kesey, the famed author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, set off on a legendary, LSD-fuelled cross-country road trip to the New York World’s Fair. He was joined by “The Merry Band of Pranksters,” a renegade group of counterculture truth-seekers, including Neal Cassady, the American icon immortalized in Kerouac’s On the Road, and the driver and painter of the psychedelic Magic Bus. Kesey and the Pranksters intended to make a documentary about their trip, shooting footage on 16mm, but the film was never finished and for nearly fifty years their footage remained virtually unseen. Magic Trip is the product of years of unprecedented access to this raw footage—over 100 hours of film and audiotape. The resulting film is an invaluable document of this extraordinary piece of American history.

Director /

  • Alex Gibney & Alison Ellwood

Producers /

  • Will Clarke
  • Alex Gibney
  • Alexandra Johnes

Executive Producers /

  • Robert Belau
  • David Kowitz
  • Gareth Wiley
  • David McKillop
  • Molly Thompson

Editor /

  • Alison Ellwood

Based on /

  • Ken Kesey