James Dean - 10-17

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James Dean.  An American actor who is associated with rebellion and angst, Dean died at the young age of twenty-four in a car accident.  Although he only starred in three movies during his short career, he became an iconic figure closely associated with teen angst and disillusionment in the post-World War II world of Leave it to Beaver  and Father Knows Best.   Dean's appeal lives on to everyone inclined to question figures of authority.  Images of James Dean are located throughout the American Treasure Tour, in both the Toy Box and the Music Room (in the latter, alongside other greats including Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, two other stars with lives cut short by tragedy).


James Dean starred in Rebel Without a Cause  with two other actors whose lives would be cut tragically short:  Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood.  The man who played his father in the film, however, had a long career in Hollywood in mostly comedic roles.  Who was he?

A)  Leslie Nielsen

B)  Jim Backus

C)  Alan Hale, Jr. 

D)  Dick York

E)  Marlon Brando

Answer below. 

 History Today: 

Two great Revolutionary War victories can be celebrated on this day!  The first, October 17, 1777, was the day that General John Burgoyne surrendered his forces to the Patriot army at the Battle of Saratoga in New York.  This proved a pivotal event in the course of the war, as it established for the French the abilities of the American army.  There can be no question that French involvement in the American Revolution was required for our success four years later when, on this date in 1781, Lord Charles Cornwallis surrendered on the field outside the city of Yorktown.  Although it took two more years for the Treaty of Paris to officially end the war, Yorktown was the last major fight of the war, after which independence followed.


Al Capone is unquestionably the most famous man to have exploited the 1920 amendment to the United States Constitution prohibiting the sale of alcohol.  A celebrity among criminals and a larger-than-life figure, Capone was ruthless in his ambition and ensured his own success often by eliminating all his competition - permanently.  After years of pursuit, the United States government proved incapable of directly connecting Capone to any of his violent crimes, but it was on this date in 1931 that they were finally able to arrest him on the charge of tax evasion.  He spent eight years of an eleven year sentence at Alcatraz, before he was discharged due to illness.  He died at the age of 48 in his Florida mansion.


In 1965, the New York World's Fair closed today.  Forty-eight years ago, this international event that began the year before hosted over fifty-one million visitors - substantially less than the hoped-for seventy million but still considered an amazing spectacle by those in attendance.  It highlighted the increasingly significant impact of computer technology on modern culture, but was arguably dominated by the impact of Walt Disney.  Animatronic technology gave the appearance of human mobility to inanimate objects, including a life-size replica of Abraham Lincoln.  Equally significant, the premier of the "It's A Small World" ride that would dominate Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and other Disney theme parks was at the 1964 World's Fair.  And life has never been the same again...



Jerry Siegel was born today in 1914.  Although his name may not be familiar to everyone, his creation most certainly is.  Working with Joe Shuster, Siegel created Superman, easily one of the most recognizable, iconic fictional characters ever created.  Siegel was only nineteen years old when he and Shuster developed the first incarnation of Superman, as a villain, before re-envisioning him as the incorruptible hero embraced by the world today.  It took years before their superhero was published and, in fact, Superman is celebrating 75 years in 2013.


This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it. -- Al Capone. 




Answer:  B)  Jim Backus