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.