This is cool, cats. Real slick. Wayne Federman, a writer on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” unearthed lost footage of a television program called “The Dark, Dark Hours,” from way back in 1954, less than a year before East of Eden would make James Dean a break-out star. Rebel without a Cause would be released soon thereafter, after the death of James Dean.
Anyway, in the clip, James Dean is a bad guy of some sort who brings his friend, who has already been shot, to a doctor’s house. That doctor is played by Ronald Reagan. Dean points a gun and makes Reagan fix his friend. Reagan, of course, gets to the be hero, while James Dean is the troubled thug.
It’s one of those videos where you’re like, “I”ll watch this for 15 seconds just to see what’s going on,” but then you sort of get sucked in. It’s kind of over-the-top, and the acting is all over the place, but both guys — especially Dean — are compelling as hell. If you’re like me, you end up watching the entire clip because hell if these two aren’t captivating.