‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ Turns 50 Years Old

Yes, Virginia, before Milos Forman’s 1975 movie starring Jack Nicholson, Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest was making waves in 1962. The story about a group of mental patients trying to withstand their cruel hospital administrator first published fifty years ago today. Kesey was inspired to write his novel while working as a nurse’s aid in the psych ward of the Menlo Park Veteran’s Hospital in California in 1960. Most of the characters in his book are based on people who were institutionalized during his time there. The counterculture icon didn’t care for the cinematic version of his work  — and even sued the production company — but his exploration of conformity and individuality has endured, even inspiring some compelling art. We took a look at several Cuckoo’s Nest book covers past the break to celebrate the classic story’s 50th anniversary.