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‘Alice’s Restaurant’ incident did happen, and Berkshire Eagle covered it

Arlo Guthrie performed “Alice’s Restaurant” at the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, Mass., last week.Gillian Jones/The Berkshire Eagle via AP

It was the incident that led to an anthem.

The Berkshire Eagle Monday posted on the Web the original article reporting the "littering" incident that Arlo Guthrie describes in his iconic, meandering Sixties song "Alice's Restaurant."

The incident happened 50 years ago on Nov. 29. The article, with a dateline of Lee, was buried deep in the paper.

The article, which did not have a byline, began, "Because they couldn't find a dump open in Great Barrington, two youths threw a load of refuse down a Stockbridge hillside on Thanksgiving Day."

The newspaper wrote in a Facebook posting that "50 years ago ... the Berkshire Eagle printed a little article about two young men being fined $25 bucks for dumping trash. Little did we know at the time that the incident, which ran on page 25, would become the basis for Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant.''


In the humorous talking blues song, "Alice's Restaurant Massacree," Guthrie weaves a rambling story of the littering incident, his arrest, and court appearance. He says in the song that the incident came up later during his examination for the draft into the military during the Vietnam War — and the extremely minor crime got him a deferment.

Here are 50 things to know about Arlo Guthrie on the 50th anniversary of the song.

Read the Facebook post below:

50 years ago yesterday (Nov. 29, 1965) the Berkshire Eagle printed a little article about two young men being fined $25...

Posted by Berkshire Eagle on Monday, November 30, 2015