‘Alice’s Restaurant’

(Photo: Arlo Guthrie, center, on the “Group W” bench. Source: IMDb)

Arlo Guthrie’s movie turns 50

On Thanksgiving Day 1965, as the story goes, young Arlo Guthrie brought a half-ton of garbage to a dump in Stockbridge, MA. That led to an arrest and subsequent problems at the draft board. Guthrie based a humorous anti-war song, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” on the incident, and radio stations across the country began playing that song every Thanksgiving at noon. Many stations still do.

Fifty years ago, in 1969, Guthrie starred in Alice’s Restaurant, a movie based on his song. Director Arthur Penn received an Oscar nomination for it.

Guthrie has been touring this year to commemorate the film’s 50th anniversary, so you’d think it would be available on some streaming service or at least for online rental or purchase. But you’d be wrong.

Fortunately, Alice’s Restaurant has been free for the past five years on YouTube, where it’s racked up nearly a quarter of a million views. So we’re happy to share it with you here. You may want to wait until noon on Thursday to watch it, however.

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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