The Madeleine Brand Show for September 30, 2010

Anniversary of James Dean's Death

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Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

View of a statue of James Dean at the Griffith Observatory. Key scenes from the classic motion picture 'Rebel without a cause' were filmed at the Griffith Observatory in spring 1955.

Today marks the 55th anniversary of the death of film idol James Dean.  Though he made only three movies, he became a potent symbol of the angst and anxiety of youth.   Dean died in an auto crash in the California town of Cholame.  He was on his way to Salinas to race the Porsche Spyder he was driving when he died.

Our Steve Proffitt is a bit obsessed with James Dean. Proffitt was born on Sept. 30, the day Dean died. Over the years, Proffitt has collected tales about Dean’s death and the accident that caused it. He’s intrigued by the fascination so many people still have for this man almost three generations after his death. Proffitt shares some of the audio he’s collected over the years, and retells the story of James Dean on this 55th anniversary.


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