Welcome to Cultureshark's Summer of Angst, in which we examine last year's DVD collection "The Lost Television Legacy of James Dean." Since we have a short selection this week, now would be a good time to note that we don't only get ol' J.D. on this set. No, we also get a heavy dose of...Marcus Winslow, who introduces each segment on the DVD.
Yeah, that's right, Marcus Winslow. You may remember him from--Well, you won't remember him, because he's not an actor (which will come as no surprise when you see the poor guy read the cue cards), but he is James Dean's cousin. At least, that's what the DVD says, and the DVD has the TCM name on it, and TCM wouldn't lie.
Winslow doesn't add a whole lot on this first disc. I keep waiting for him to offer something a little more personal than, "He had a bit part in this one," but still, his presence is a nice little link to the Dean legacy.
I had no idea the Dean legacy involved Pepsi Cola, but a pair of adverts kick off the proceedings. I have to say there is no way I would have spotted Our Man Dean had not the producers of this set slowed down the footage and highlighted him. I'm still not 100% convinced, but, again, you know, TCM, no lying, etc.
This portion of the set provides something we don't necessarily expect: James Dean having FUN. In fact, everyone in this first ad, shot December 1950, is having fun.
There's not a lot to this ad, but it has a peppy jingle, and there is something appealing about seeing all these happy youths having so much fun on a merry go round.
By the way, I really hope that Dean got so into his character that he yelled, "A merry go round! WHOOPEE!" before jumping on his horse. Not a "carousel," either--a merry go round.
If there's a theme to this spot apart from fun, it's bouncing. Note these lyrics:
"Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce
Go get Pepsi for the Pepsi bounce"
I'm not sure how much you want to be bouncing around while drinking all that soda, but, hey, these kids are young and carefree.
Winslow tells us that the very next day, Dean shot the second ad on this disc, and that this gig got him his SAG card. What he doesn't mention, but which I heard elsewhere, is that someone was so impressed by Dean on the first day, they asked him back for that second spot. You'll see next time that the actor got a lot more to do on that occasion, but I wonder what the heck they saw in his merry go round riding to make them ask him to return. He must have made some kind of an impression on that horsey!