Just Above Sunset
September 11, 2005 - Being a Rebel for Fun and Profit

Home | Question Time | Something Is Up | Connecting Dots | Stay Away | Overload | Our Man in Paris | WLJ Weekly | Book Wrangler | Cobras | The Edge of the Pacific | The Surreal Beach | On Location | Botanicals | Quotes

Book Wrangler

September 12, 2005

By Bob Patterson


Ads on the radio in the LA area have informed us that the 1935 play Dead End will have a limited run here in our city.  They will turn the orchestra pit into a 10,000-gallon pool, to play the role of the river, as part of the production.


That, in turn, reminded us about the Dead End Kid movies and how one of the guys used to wear his baseball hat backwards.  When some of the Dead End Kids material was seen on TV in the Fifties, we wondered aloud why the guy wanted to look so dumb.  My aunt, who was a font of knowledge, explained that this unusual haberdashery style required a knowledge of baseball to be understood.  Traditionally, on most teams the biggest, toughest guy is selected to play the catcher position.  Catchers wear a safety mask while working behind home plate.  Usually, they have their team hat on backwards so that the two can be worn simultaneously.  When the catcher's team is at bat, he takes off his safety mask, but leaves the cap on.  Rather than continually adjusting it, it's easier to just leave it on with the bill facing the rear.  It was a subtle way of hinting that the fellow was the toughest guy on the team. 


Back in the Fifties, rebellion flourished.  Movie actors adopted method acting.  Writers rejected conformity and became beatniks.  Music needed a new genre for the young musicians to express themselves - it was called Rock 'n' Roll.  Ford and Chevrolet scrambled to produce two-seater sports cars to offer to the customers that were fascinated by things like the MG TC and TD models. 


Marlon Brando was asked, "What are you rebelling against?"  He replied: "What'd ya got?"


Che Guevara traveled South America On The Road style and then met up with Fidel Castro.


Rebellion in Art wasn't new.  Albert Camus had written a rather comprehensive look at the folks who couldn't accept the status quo in a book titled The Rebel.


[The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt by Albert Camus  ($12.95 paperback Vintage) would be a good resource rich with background information for anyone who is interested in the subject of the cultural changes in the fifties.]


That, in turn, brings up the ultimate rebel icon from the Fifties - actor James Dean - and since the fiftieth anniversary of his death in an automobile accident will be marked in various ways at the end of this month, we thought that this week's Book Wrangler would do a roundup of various books related to the actor and his fatal accident.  Usually we list newly published books in this weekly feature of Just Above Sunset online magazine, but this week we are changing the rules and, after doing some factfinding on the amazon.com website, we are listing some older books which are relevant but not recently published.


The Making Of Rebel Without A Cause by Stewart Stern (Foreword), Douglas L. Rathgeb ($45 McFarland & Co.)


I Was Interrupted: Nicholas Ray on Making Movies by Nicholas Ray, edited by Susan Ray ($24.95 paperback University of California Press)


The Films of Nicholas Ray: The Poet of Nightfall by Geoff Andrew ($21.95 paperback British Film Institute)


James Dean: Fifty Years Ago by Dennis Stock, with an introduction by Joe Hyams ($29.95  Harry N Abrams)


The Timeless James Dean by Terry Cunningham ($22.00 paperback Stagedoor Publishing)


The Death of James Dean by Warren Newton Beath ($11.95 paperback Grove Press)


James Dean: The Biography by Val Holley ($15.95 paperback St. Martin's Griffin)


Boulevard of Broken Dreams: The Life, Times, and Legend of James Dean by Paul Alexander ($16 paperback Plume Books)


James Dean: Photographs by Axel Arens, translated by Paul Kremmel (10.95 paperback W. W. Norton & Co.)


James Dean-The Mutant King: A Biography by David Dalton ($16.95 paperback Chicago Review Press)


Jimmy Dean on Jimmy Dean by Jimmy Dean ($19.50 paperback Plexus Publishing)


Rebel by Donald Spoto ($18.95 paperback Cooper Square Press)


The Rebel: An Imagined Life of James Dean by Jack Dann  ($24.95 William Morrow)


While we're thinking about the Rebel Without A Cause movie, we should point out that Dennis Hopper was in that film as well as Giant, Cool Hand Luke, Easy Rider, Appocalypse Now, Blue Velvet, and River's Edge.  This fall he will be a regular on a new NBC program.  [Yeah, that's impressive, but has he ever been the host for Saturday Night Live?]


Vanity Fair is conducting a writing contest that might attract some experienced beatniks or hippies (as well as younger hopefuls.)


Albert Camus wrote (The Rebel page 264): "No, our civilization survives in the complacency of cowardly or malignant minds – a sacrifice to the vanity of ageing adolescents."  ("What didn't go right?" George Bush) 


Now, if the disk jockey will play the Rolling Stones (what ever happened to them?) song Street Fightin' Man, we'll go up on the roof and wait for a helicopter (just like they did in Saigon) to get us out of here.  Meanwhile, comb your hair into a D.A. (AKA ducktail) and have a rebellious week.



Copyright 2005 – Robert Patterson

Email the author at worldslaziestjournalist@yahoo.com




Editor's Notes on Dennis Hopper:


E-Ring (9 p.m. on NBC; starts Sept. 21)

This military drama is one of two new shows this fall (along with the legal drama Close to Home) from CSI mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Dennis Hopper and Benjamin Bratt star as military personnel working at the Pentagon - and trying to protect the nation in the process. Their cases are compelling, and the two actors work well together - Hopper as the seasoned veteran, Bratt as the more impetuous newcomer who doesn't abide by office politics.


Saturday Night Live: Dennis Hopper 

Comedy, 1hr 30min – 1990 - Dennis Hopper, Paul Simon, Dana Carvey  ...more

This 1990 episode of Saturday Night Live is hosted by Dennis Hopper and features musical guest Paul Simon.


He also hosted Saturday Night Live on 23 May 1987 - see this list. 



Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....