Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

CBS Evening News investigated “underground film” and met The Velvet Underground 50 years ago

Illustration for article titled iCBS Evening News /iinvestigated “underground film” and met The Velvet Underground 50 years ago

“Not everyone digs underground movies, but those who do can dig them here.”

In November of 1965, the Walter Cronkite-hosted CBS Evening News sent correspondent Dave Dugan to the East Village to investigate the new-fangled phenomenon known as “underground film.” The result, which aired on December 31 of that year, is a fascinating time capsule—something like a peaceful first encounter between the middle American mainstream and a new strain of counterculture that had been fermenting in the lofts of Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

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For the five-minute segment, the sincere and endearingly square Dugan interviewed (or, in some case, tried to interview) the likes of Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas, and Andy Warhol, and managed to catch some footage of “a musical group called The Velvet Underground,” at the time being filmed by Piero Heliczer. Also included are glimpses of the semi-legendary Bridge Theatre, a sit-down with Edie Sedgwick, and the sight of assorted icons of the American film avant-garde sitting awkwardly in a library set.

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