Just when you think you've got Mel Welles figured out,
he tosses another surprise into the conversation. For
instance: "I was a voice of the beatnik era," he declares.
"I was definitely a beatnik, and proud to be. I get
a kick out of it when young people today think they
invented pot and dirty words." Welles fell into a thriving
beat scene when he landed in Hollywood in the 1950s,
and he eventually penned several pieces for legendary
hipster monologist Lord Buckley, including the classic
Hipsters, Flipsters and Finger-Poppin' Daddies.
But few fans today are familiar with this formative
stage in the career of an actor best known for portraying
the bellicose shopkeeper Gravis Mushnik in the original
The Little Shop of Horrors.