Sunday, December 29, 2013

James Dean...I remember

James Dean lives on...

  In the mid fifties when I was back from Germany and working at the Beverly Hills P.O....I was going through my James Dean phase.
I went to see Bill Blast...his best friend who was kind enough to see me for a hour and answer a lot of stupid questions....but he didn’t seem to mind. (He even showed me a letter from his friend actor Roddy McDowell on the set of “Cleopatra” where Liz Taylor and Richard Burton were carrying on in full sight of the press and since she was still married to singer Eddie Fisher...some cast members were waiting for the police to come and bust them all. Seems Italy frowns on adultery.)  
I drove north to the infamous intersection where Dean crashed into another car dying instantly....I took the same route he took.
I had already visited his grave site in Fairmont, Indiana...and  was repelled by the chipped off areas of his tombstone...some people have no regard for anything.
On my way to California from Chicago I got off the Texas interstates and drove to Marfa and was given directions to the Giant filming location south of town.  
There I parked and collected small pieces of the set laying on the ground which I would later cement to baseboard...making  a strange looking memorial from the movie.
Then, also, when doing my radio talk show in New Orleans in the 70’s I had the honor of having actor Chill Wills on my show. I questioned him about Dean as they spent a lot of time shooting scenes in Giant together. His consenses was the kid was a great actor but messed up in the head.  Also Chill confided that he didn’t think Dean took a bath the whole time in Marfa.  As Liz Taylor was kind of his “mommy” then I doubt she would let him stink up the set.
I would soon get over all this but before that happened I bought a copy of “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  Just like Dean I was enthralled by it.  But I didn’t take it as seriously as he did...although I would recommend it to anyone because lessons can be learned from it. 
        “To forget a friend is sad...for not everyone has had a friend.”
Remember the fox.

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