I first took note of Hooper when I saw the film Easy Rider with he and Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson. I watched the movie a few weeks before setting out across the country in my blue VW bus with my wife Kay, a three-month-old infant son Jason, and a black cat named Mr. Kitter.
I also had long hair, sported a beard and wore John Lennon-style eyeglasses.
The movie, frankly, scared the crap out of me, especially because living in upstate New York, I was well aware that there were people who did not kindly to people who sported long hair and beards. I had gotten into several scuffles in Jamestown and Lakewood taverns over my hair. It was part of the reason I was leaving redneck New York for other parts.
The trip from Jamestown let eventually to Napa, Calif. (which took eight weeks of sidetrips and detours, all looking for the perfect place to live) and only had one semi-serious incident - in Wyoming.
We stopped for gas in a small town and huddled under and overpass, hiding out, where a half-dozen 'hippies' who said the local cowboys had threatened to kill them. We couldn't take them with us, but said we would flag down other 'hippie vans' to evacuate them.
Later that afternoon, I stopped to take a picture of a sign on tree at a fancy resort that said "No Hippies or Longhairs Allowed."
One of the proprietors came out and chased me, screaming that he would smash my camera. I was still pretty fast on my feet and got away. But I'm glad he didn't get in his car - my VW van could only do about 50 mph.
Here's a link to the story about Hopper's new book: