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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 133





                                James Dean:

                          Magnificent Failure


                 Written in 1960 and revised in September 1961, this
                 feature essay was published in Preview: The Family
                   Entertainment Guide, June 1962.
                 I.  Author’s Eyewitness Historical-Context Introduction
                    written July 29, 2007
                 II.  The feature article as published in Preview: The
                    Family Entertainment Guide, June 1962
                 III. Eyewitness Illustrations


             I.  Author’s Eyewitness Historical-Context Introduction written
                July 29, 2007

                         Revealing the Iconography of Drummer:
                         When James Dean Met Marlon Brando,
                           Heath Ledger, and Jake Gyllenhaal

                               Marlon Brando: “Stella!”
                          James Dean: “You’re tearing me apart.”
                            Jake Gyllenhaal to Heath Ledger:
                            “I wish I knew how to quit you.”

             As soon as we teenagers invented and liberated our tortured selves in the
             pop culture of the deadly dull 1950s, my leather bomber jacket morphed
             in meaning from “play clothing” to teen symbol. I was swept up by the
             movie Blackboard Jungle (1955) and its theme song, Bill Haley’s “Rock
             around the Clock,” which was played every ten minutes on the radio
             because no other white rock-n-roll songs yet existed. At the same instant,
             I found my first lover in James Dean, in his jackets, his motorcycle, his
             face, his attitude, his verite. When he was killed at age twenty-four on
             September 30, 1955, I was sixteen, a junior in high school, and stricken
             with grief.
                Even though I was in the Catholic seminary and was a sexually pure
             boy, art and literature and movies cancelled my chances of being paro-
             chial. (In 2007, it is more difficult to come out as a progressive Catholic

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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