Hey there, daddy-o.
We're what you call Beatniks. Cool it, cool it, let me explain. You'll often see us wearing shady sunglasses, black sweaters and pants, a beret, sandals, and we'll sometimes carry bongos. We were probably the badass of our time because we are so hip, but this isn't the 1950s anymore, dig? So if you'll excuse me, I have to cut out now.
In the United States, Beatniks were the counter-culture movement par excellence of The '50s. Beginning in a cluster of coffeeshops and bookstoresnote in San Francisco's North Beach district, the Beat movement eschewed cookie-cutter Fifties conformity and enforced happiness in favor of the lived, authentic experience.
The depiction of the Beatnik in popular culture was designed by their detractors, and is a Flanderization of the hangers-on who attached themselves to the Beat movement—essentially the hipsters of the 1950s.note With this in mind, it's not surprising that none of the real members of The Beat Generation (a term coined by Jack Kerouac, meaning "beatific") actually conform to the Beatnik stereotype, but that might just be because Reality Is Unrealistic.
- Jake, the mascot of the Life is Good line of clothing.
- In the early days of the X-Men, Iceman and the Beast liked to hang out at the Coffee-A-Go-Go, which catered to a stereotypical Beatnik crowd headed by Bernard the Poet. Many years later, in X-Men First Class Special #1 (2007), he would be revealed as - what else? - a latent mutant.
- Johnny Beyond, a character from Alan Moore's 1963 comics, is a Beatnik version of Doctor Strange.
- A group of Beatniks showed up frequently in the comic series Madman as antagonists at first and later, allies.
- One issue of Archie Comics has the characters acting like beatniks.
- Lars, the spot-obsessed, German-esque artist that Cruella hooks up with in 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure, was initially a stereotypical, eccentric beatnik, until near the end of the film when we find out he's capable of being a hyperactive animal-lover.
- Beret Girl from An Extremely Goofy Movie, who is introduced performing slam poetry at a coffee house. Her behavior rubbed off on her boyfriend, PJ, too, after his combination between a Hidden Depths reveal, successfully being caught by her, and massive Character Development.
- Dean from The Iron Giant. He runs a junkyard, but spends his free time making sculptures out of scrap. He listens to jazz and drinks espresso, but dresses more like a greaser than a stereotypical Beatnik. Kent Mansley even calls him a Beatnik, disparagingly.
- The Incredibles DVD includes a bonus feature "The Adventures of Mr. Incredible and Friends," a poorly done cartoon featuring Mr. Incredible and Frozone—who is lighter skinned than he really is, and speaks in a forced 'hip' manner. On the commentary track, Frozone complains that he sounds like a beatnik.
- Avengers: Endgame: When the Avengers go back to 1970 to retrieve the Tesseract and additional Pym Particles, Tony Stark is mistaken for a beatnik by his own father because of his beard.
- Pull My Daisy: The original beatniks—or rather The Beat Generation, with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg co-starring in a short film written by Kerouac. Milo's wife actually calls them "beatniks" when she is upbraiding Milo for letting his beatnik friends ruin their fancy dinner with the bishop.
- A Bucket of Blood is a horror comedy by Roger Corman that wasn't as successful as Little Shop of Horrors, but it's a great beatnik movie, made in 1959, with the beatnik setting unselfconscious and authentic, since it's the present day.
- The Fred Astaire / Audrey Hepburn movie Funny Face.
- A short diversion in the original Hairspray has the kids ducking into a pair of beatniks' apartment / studio briefly with much trepidation. At the suggestion "lets get naked and smoke," they decide to leave.
- The bartender in The Hudsucker Proxy, who says "martinis are for squares, man."
- Kill Your Darlings centers around the leaders of the Beatnik movement before they were famous.
- Mike Myers' character Charlie in So I Married an Axe Murderer doing beatnik poetry in a cafe.
- Despite the title, The Beatniks (riffed on by an episode of MST3K) has absolutely nothing to do with beatniks. Apparently, the writers of that film believed that "beatnik" meant something along the lines of "delinquent" or "hoodlum".
- Village of the Giants did, though.
- In Down with Love, Barbara arrives at Catcher's apartment (which she thinks in Peter's) to find it full of beatniks that Peter had brought home from a coffeehouse following an unsuccessful date with Vicky.
- Suzuki Beane, a book really intended for an adult readership, but formatted like a children's book, is by Sandra Scoppettone, with illustrations by Louise Fitzhugh, and is the first-person story of the Greenwich Village life of the small daughter of two beatniks. It's a subtle parody of Eloise, but works as a stand-alone piece, and before the live-action Eloise film a few years ago, was probably better known.
- Beatniks regularly appear as background characters in Daniel Pinkwater's novels, many of which are set in The '50s. They are most prominent in The Education of Robert Nifkin and The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror, in which Rat develops a crush on a Beatnik poet.
- Several Beatniks appear in A World of Laughter, a World of Tears, in which they have to cope with persecution from the even more culturally repressive and paranoid Fifties United States of that timeline.
- Denver from Angel
- Maynard G Krebs, from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, is the archetype for the stereotypical beatnik character in American popular culture.
- Beatniks were portrayed for laughs on episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, Make Room For Daddy (the long-running Danny Thomas sitcom) and, memorably, on Petticoat Junction — visiting an espresso shop in the city, Kate and the girls listen to recitations of surreal Beat poetry, and then Kate takes the stage and recites "Mairzy Doats" in the same solemn, intense style. She gets a standing ovation.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 did a few episodes on late 50s/early 60s films that focused on Beatniks and vilified them as The New Rock & Roll: Daddy-O, The Rebel Set, and obviously The Beatniks. The latter even prompted Joel and the bots to do a sketch explaining why the protagonists of the film did not qualify as Beatniks.
- The Puppet Band from Pee-wee's Playhouse are a Funny Animal Affectionate Parody of beatniks.
- Steve Martin played a beatnik poet on a Saturday Night Live sketch.
- There were numerous beatnik dolls, most notably Mattel's Scooba-Doo — pull her string and she says eleven hip phrases, including "Play it cool, don't be a square!" and "I dig that crazy beat, yeah!"
- In Grim Fandango, there's a beatnik bar called the Blue Casket containing some very hip skeletons. Manny can get up on stage and read seemingly random poetry to them. He also refers to them as 'Deadbeats'.
- Jeb, the Mechanical Beatnik, is one of the minigames you can fiddle with in Total Distortion. If you use him, he spouts completely random words in a rhythmic fashion in a parody of beat poetry. The best part is he comes with a warning label.
- In Fallout 4 it is possible to find a drug called Daddy-O, which raises Intelligence and Perception, but lowers Charisma.
- Manny the Mole in 102 Dalmatians: Puppies to the Rescue.
- Spigot from Jerkcity, albeit only in appearance. His official Leitmotif is cool jazz, he smokes a lot of weed, he once informs Pants that 'A "KEY" IS BEATNIK FOR "MARIJUANA JOINT"', and he does occasionally read poetry, but like all characters in the strip he's far more likely to be seen shouting obscene homoerotic gibberish about dongs.
spigot: I EXPRESS MY ANGER THROUGH MY POTTERYspigot: AND POETRYspigot: AND COCKSUCKINGspigot: HRLUB HLRUHBGLURHL BUHRLUB HLURHBLUR PRICKS ON THE WHEEL
- Batfink from Transylvania Television
- In The Alvin Show's musical segment for "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," Alvin dresses as one in order to attempt a rock and roll version of the song (much to Dave's annoyance).
- Animaniacs: And now, Dot's Poetry Corner (a recurring segment of the first two seasons; in the short segment, Dot recites her own interpretations of nursery rhymes or well-known poems at a coffee shop).
- Beany and Cecil: Go Man Van Gogh, introduced in the short "The Wildman of Wildsville", is a Tarzan parody who acts like a beatnik. By the end of the short, the main cast has also joined Go Man in the groovy lifestyle, even having a beret, shades and goatee painted on them. "If you can't beatnik 'em, join 'em!" lampshades Cecil.
- The Beatles: in "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party," Paul, George and Ringo sneak off to a beatnik party at a Greenwich Village coffee house. When John arrives looking for them, they disguise themselves as beatnik musicians.
- Lester of the Coolman! shorts. Only in his imagination.
- Sam's grandmother from Danny Phantom was one in her youth, therefore being more accommodating to Sam's Eco-Goth ways than her parents who are a pair of '50s-esque Stepford Smilers.
- Nick was a beatnik on Heap O'Calory's episodes of The Dick Tracy Show who would communicate tips of crimes in progress to Heap with bongo drums.
- Bugle Beagle, in DuckTales (1987). His most notable appearances are in "Hero for Hire", "Time Teasers" and "Scroogerello".
- Looney Tunes:
- The already out of trend "Cool Cat" from the late Looney Tunes shorts. He was made in the late 60's when Beatniks were more common in the late fifties. An obvious attempt to look in-touch with current fashions that failed spectacularly for being incredibly dated. He only appeared in 6 shorts and is mostly forgotten today.
- The Foghorn Leghorn cartoon "Banty Raids" puts him against a Beatnik Bantam rooster, who serenades the chickens on his farm with rock n' roll music.
- "Miceniks," a 1961 Paramount Modern Madcap, has three beatnik mice in a jam session at a beatnik music shop who use Karmic Trickster moves against a marauding cat.
Micenik #1: (regarding the cat) Dig the cornball from Squaresville!
Micenik #2: Strictly from anxiety!
- Betty-Anne from The Off-Beats, a younger example, at about, um...eight to ten. Grubby Groo, also from The Off-Beats.
- A Brodax-era Popeye cartoon had Olive adapting a beatnik lifestyle. She goes to a coffee house with Brutus, who has also gone beatnik reading poetry such as "Ode to an Onion." Popeye gets into the swing of things after eating "cultured" spinach.
- One "Mr. Know-It-All" segment on Rocky and Bullwinkle is about how to be a beatnik.
- Shaggy in Scooby-Doo is part this and part hippie, minimizing the usual beatnik stereotypes associated here.
- Ned Flanders' parents from The Simpsons are, fittingly, the Flanderized version.
"We've tried nothin' and we're all out of ideas!"
- In an episode of Spongebob Squarepants, Pearl, Mr. Krabs' daughter, tries redesigning the Krusty Krab to be more 'hip' with the young crowd. Spongebob tries helping her come up with a new name for the restaurant, and alongside 'The Kowboy Krab', 'The King Krab', and 'the Kandy Krab', Spongebob pitches 'The Kool Krab', and dons the look of a beatnik to go with the theme.◊
- Word of God says Jazz from Transformers Animated was intended to sound like this.
- Sketchpad's skits in Crashbox are beatnik-themed.
- Time Squad had to help Leonardo Da Vinci turn away his beatnik phase, and get to painting the Mona Lisa.
- In the '60s Cleveland late-night horror/B-movie show Shock Theater, Ernie Anderson plays Ghoulardi, who wore a beatnik-esque costume and used "hip" talk, which differentiated him from other television personalities at the time.
- Writer Daniel Pinkwater, who was an aspiring artist in New York and beatnik neighborhoods of Chicago in the early-mid Sixties, describes himself at the time as a beatnik.