An Infamous Anniversary For Arlo Guthrie
On this day, 52 years ago, families across the land were celebrating Thanksgiving Day. While Thanksgiving features lots of delicious food, family, friends and, well, even more food, this particular Thanksgiving featured an arrest of a local icon in the area.
Legendary musician Arlo Guthrie, who was an 18-year-old at the time, along with 19-year-old Richard Robbins, were arrested. According to a Nov. 29, 1965 report from the Berkshire Eagle, Guthrie and Robbins “threw a load of refuse down a Stockbridge hillside.”
The Stockbridge Police Chief at the time, William Obanhein, said that the amount of stuff thrown down the hill in 1965 was a surprising amount.
“The stuff would take up at least half of a goodsized pickup truck,” Chief Obanhein told The Berkshire Eagle in their initial report.
Two days later, Guthrie and Robbins were fined $25 each in Lee District Court and were ordered to clean up the mess they created, which they did later on that afternoon in a heavy rain storm.
The littering charge was the basis for one of Arlo Guthrie’s famous works, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacaree”, which is 18 minutes and 34 seconds long. It is a Berkshire County favorite about Thanksgiving 1965. While the song as always been known as somewhat of an anti-war anthem, Guthrie has stated in multiple interviews, including a chat with Ron Bennington in 2009, that it was more of an “anti-stupidity” song, which lead to the film “Alice’s Restaurant”, in which Guthrie starred.
Happy anniversary Arlo Guthrie. Without the “stupidity” of Thanksgiving 1965, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” would not be the legendary tale that it is today.