James Dean: GREETINGS FROM UNCLE SAM
James Dean...in the Army?
When he crashed into that other car and died instantly...many were left wondering what his future might have been.
Well...we know a little about that.
He was draft eligible....from his hometown of Fairmont, Indiana.
Picture it...James Dean the original “rebel” in the U.S. Army for two years.
What would he do? How would he act? Well...we’ll never know.
We can measure what he might have done by comparing him to Elvis Presley who was in the Army in Germany in 1956 when Giant was released just after Dean was killed.
They both were superstars...both from small towns...where manners are taught...and reactions are typical.
What you do in a small town where everyone knows you is quite different than drinking coffee on the Sunset Strip in LA with your “groupies” at 3AM. There you are playing your part.
I think Dean would have been fine with the Army. He probably would have been sent overseas to Europe ala Elvis...and I believe it would have been his very first trip out of the United States so that in itself would be exciting for him.
The Army doesn’t encourage personality problems and as big a star as Elvis was...he was good enough in the khaki to make Sergeant. I was ok in the Army in Germany and never got past PFC.
Dean would have come back more mature...we all did.
Serving for two years of your life helps make you a man and that effect would have been beneficial to James Dean the actor as he renewed his profession in Hollywood.
Now as to what kind of scripts would be available to him after two years “missing in action”...well..that’s anyone’s guess.
It’s intriguing to think on that....and sad that we’ll never know.