In the late 1960s when our amazing meeting transpired, Allen Ginsberg was lauded and immortalized as the poet laureate of the Beatniks (which he denied), the hipsters before the hippies. Now the new art film “Howl” based on his first and most infamous published poem of the same name, brings him back to mind.

Timeout for a sideshow to provide some context.

As portrayed in the film, Ginsberg first performed his wild “Howl” Oct. 7, 1955, at an experimental art house, the Six Gallery, in San Francisco. Referred to in The New York Times review of the film as a “Beatnik’s Poetic Rant,” the poem explores Ginsberg’s hallucinatory fantasies about drugs, mental illness, religion (he was a Buddhist), race and, ultimately, homosexual love and lust, in raging language, some of which could not be printed in this newspaper, for example. He broke all the rules.

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness…”

“Howl” – along with some other new Ginsberg poems – was then published by fellow poet and friend Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who ran City Lights Bookstore and the City Lights Press, also in San Francisco. In 1957 Ferlinghetti, not Ginsberg, was sued for the obscenity of “Howl” at a time when homosexual acts were illegal under sodomy laws in every state. The trial is also part of the new film.

In a landmark decision, Judge Clayton Horne ruled that Ginsberg’s poem was of “redeeming social relevance,” so Ferlinghetti was exonerated (and probably Ginsberg as well). Judge Horne asked a memorable question. “Would there be any freedom of press or speech if one must reduce his vocabulary to vapid, innocuous euphemisms?” Case closed. City Lights Bookstore still lives to this day.

In my younger days 40-plus years ago, if you had majored in English — and whether or not you had even read “Howl” or knew any details of the obscenity trial — you were aware that Allen Ginsberg was a widely celebrated and condemned Beatnik poet who wrote occasional obscenities. He was sort of a pop star in his younger days.

So I was walking through the junction of 14th Street, Eighth Avenue and Greenwich Avenue going down to Greenwich Village in Manhattan. There was a poor old guy on the corner, a beggar, holding out a cup and asking for any “spare change” I could afford. Without a second thought, I took out my wallet and put a buck in his cup.

One dollar, and he was overjoyed. He apparently felt he needed to give me something of value in exchange.

“You know who just walked by here?” he asked excitedly. “Allen Ginsberg! He’s right down the street, maybe only a block away!”

That was worth more than a buck. I turned and ran down the block, chasing the Beat Poet of All Time. Now this was years before I played the game in New York of pitching a punch line to celebrities I might see on the street, trying to get them to give me a laugh. Not Allen Ginsberg. I was a kid writer; I just wanted to introduce myself!

Nearly out of breath after my fast 100-yard dash (and maybe a few more), I caught up with the man I assumed was Allen Ginsberg and leaped in front of him, stopping him and his companion in their tracks. His companion that day may have been his lifetime mate, Peter Orlovsky (who died last May 30 in Williston, Vt.), but I wouldn’t have known, and I was looking only at Ginsberg, whom I did recognize. Both were taken aback, not comprehending what I might be up to.

“Mr. Ginsberg, uh, hello, my name is Fritz Lyon.”

As if awestruck by lightning, Allen Ginsberg leaped into the air, backwards, a look of astonished disbelief on his balding and bearded face.

“You’re Fritz Lang?” he inquired at the top of his lungs.

Timeout for another sideshow to provide more context.

Fritz Lang was an Austrian who became a filmmaker in Germany during the silent era and then moved on to Hollywood. His early work is perhaps best remembered for two old movies: “Metropolis” (1927), a visionary, spectacular silent film (that was also an economic disaster), and “M” (1931) starring Peter Lorre, an early sound film noir.

However, several of the Hollywood films he later directed are better known; among my all-time favorites: “The Return of Frank James” (1940) with Henry Fonda, “Scarlet Street” (1945) with Edward G. Robinson, “Rancho Notorious” (1952) with Marlene Dietrich and “The Big Heat” (1953) with Glenn Ford.

Still, at the time I caught up to Allen Ginsberg, Fritz Lang would have been nearly 80 years old. I was in my 20s.

“Uhh…no, not really. I’m Fritz Lyon…Lyon…not Lang.”

At that moment the Beat Allen Ginsburg howled in gleeful derision at yours truly. Not that he misunderstood, but I was the joke.

Without another word, Allen Ginsburg and his companion turned their backs on me and walked into history.

I was history. Unrecorded history …  at least until now.