There is surprisingly little coverage today of James Dean on what would have been his 80th birthday. Some exceptions are Flavorwire.com’s crazily ambitious “80 Things You Didn’t Know About James Dean,” and our favorite item courtesy of St. Louis Post-Dispatch film critic Joe Williams.
In a nifty little piece entitled “When Ronnie Met Jimmy,” Williams reveals himself to be a hardcore Dean fan, having visited the actor’s Indiana grave site as well as the California crossroads where the star died. He shares the recently discovered video of The Dark, Dark Hours, a 1954 teleplay that paired Dean with Ronald Reagan (who coincidentally would have turned 100 on Sunday).
Williams writes that watching Dean pull a gun on Reagan (and exclaim, “Well fake it, Dad!”) is as surreal as seeing the picture of Elvis Presley shaking hands with Richard Nixon. It’s great stuff, and a fantastic way to remember Hollywood’s original rebel.