Litkicks Message Board Archive

On the Road with Charles Kuralt

Posted to WritersAndGenres

I believe Kerouac was more influential than people realize. Just one example, and some people may disagree, but there was a very popoluar TV show called On The Road With Charles Kuralt. It was a lot different from Jack's book, but that's because they always "cleaned up" everything for television in those days. But the premise of the show was, this guy named Charles Kuralt would travel around and each week he would be in some different place, extolling the rich variety of American life. He would stop off at a diner on Highway 61 and hang out with the locals, or go down to New Orleans for some jazz and gumbo, or the Redwood Forests, and so on. He and the TV producers must have been aware of the novel On The Road, but you can't copyright a title, and I really don't think he was ripping Jack off, I believe it was a tribute, or a nod, to Jack's roadgoing style. Around this time people like Steve Allen and William F. Buckley had Kerouac as a guest on their TV shows.
On The Road came on every Sunday and, while it was tame compared to Beat literature, it was pretty cool.

Here's a quote by a reporter named from Ralph Grizzle, who wrote about Charles Kuralt:

"Kuralt preferred to travel America's backroads, slowly and serendiptiously, realizing that travel is often what comes between point A and point B.

"'It was hard for me in the beginning to get over the perfectly understandable idea that you had to have a destination in mind,' Kuralt said to me. 'We always had the idea [during the On The Road series] of a story that we were headed toward, but after awhile it finally got through to us that we might run into something more interesting along the way. So we never made precise appointments. We'd call and say, Are you going to be home for the next week or two?'"