How a Woodstock on Wheels Fizzled Into a Free-Love Failure

Woodstock wasn’t supposed to be a hit. So when the 1970 concert film-cum-documentary exploded across screens, engrossing everyone who’d either been at Woodstock or just claimed they had, Warner Bros. began a desperate race to make a copycat cash-in. Enter The Medicine Ball Caravan.

The Grateful Dead were supposed to topline a massive road trip like the one Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters had embarked on a few years before — this time with a French camera crew along for the ride. The plan was for the hippies to groove across American to Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, and Hot Tuna — and freak out with Alice Cooper. 

Free drugs would lubricate shocking antics for what the producers hoped would be a Woodstock on Wheels. Academy Award-winning documentarian Francois Reichenbach would capture the hippies in all their dippy glory. 

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