James Dean ~ Young Rebel

Sixty years ago today the world was shocked at the tragic death in a car accident of 24 year old actor James Dean. Sadly we only have three movies to turn to when needing a James Dean fix. If you want new material to study Dean’s acting style and early television in the 1950’s I suggest the two General Electric Theater presentations: The Dark Dark Hours and I’m a Fool.
To watch these shows you have to allow for the time they are filmed. They are set up as stage plays, film a bit grainy, the sound not the best it is what it is…its early television history.

In The Dark Dark Hours Dean co-starred with Ronald Reagan who was the host of the GE Theater from 1954-1962, the story seems to be a pre-curser to Rebel Without a Cause as Jack Simmons Dean’s co-star also appeared in Rebel with Dean as the character ‘Cookie’.
The Dark Dark Hours has teen dialog long forgotten: ‘Crazy Dad’, ‘Dig me…’ ‘Like…I need some music’, ‘Don’t goof on me now’, ‘If I can’t be the best, I’m going to be the worst’.
Reagan introduces Dean as a ‘Bright new actor in Hollywood’.

I’m a Fool: adapted from a Sherwood Anderson short story is a bit of a morality play, talky talky, but in the end if you are paying attention this show is the one you think about long after the film is over. How many times have we said or done something that we play over and over again in our heads that we deeply regret and beat ourselves up over for being a fool. Watching Dean and Wood in a more period piece is a bonus. If you missed the premiere of these shows on TCM last week check out your local Library these shows are available on DVD.


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Kudo’s to TCM for premiering some historic rare live Television appearances of one of Hollywood’s 1950’s classic icon’s: James Dean on September 25th . September 30th will be the 60th Anniversary of Dean’s death. He first appeared opposite Natalie Wood in the General Electric Theater presentation of ‘I’m a Fool’ November 14, 1954. March 30th 1955 they met again to begin filming ‘Rebel Without a Cause’. In June of 1955 when production wrapped up on Rebel James Dean began filming his next movie ‘Giant’. Production for James Dean on Giant wrapped up on September 23, 1955 he died one week later.
The movie ‘East of Eden’ was released in April of 1955. The movie ‘Rebel Without A Cause’ was released October 27, 1955. The movie ‘Giant’ was released November 24, 1956.
James Dean posthumously received two Oscar nominations for Best Actor. One in March of 1956 for his role in the movie ‘East of Eden’, the second nomination he received in March of 1957 for his role in the movie ‘Giant’.
Thank goodness someone in early television thought to preserve on film James Deans performances for us to study sixty plus year’s later.