Counterculture Con HQ

April 21, 2010

Rare Video: Ronald Reagan Holds his own with James Dean

A tiny glimpse into the past.  Lost footage of two pretty good actors not seen since 1954.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

From The Atlantic:

A decade before Reagan’s political career took off, with a nationally televised speech supporting Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign, and months before Dean started filming Rebel Without a Cause and Giant, both of these Midwesterners seem to be rehearsing future roles—Reagan as the happy warrior who could, in a moment, turn fierce (“I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green!”) and Dean as teenage angst writ large (“You’re tearing me apart!”).

At the time of the broadcast, Reagan was 43. With the movie industry in recession, and his career waning, his agents had been bringing him offers to do TV shows. Like many movie actors at the time, Reagan was skittish about the small screen. But producers thought he was perfect for the anthology genre, which was still struggling to gain traction with audiences. He eventually signed on, helping produce the show, hosting it, and acting in a half-dozen dramas per season.

Less than a year after this episode aired, Reagan was a major primetime presence whom millions tuned in to see each week. Dean was a tragic, what-might-have-been figure, dead at age 24 from an automobile crash.




  1. this is Amazing! I’m pretty sure it was a ‘live’ broadcast … Regan huffing and puffing at the signoff. You’re right, he does go toe to toe with Dean.

    Comment by paleocon — April 21, 2010 @ 09:55

  2. i like movie actors that are not only good looking but can play a lot of differient roles -`;

    Comment by Premature Ejaculation Treatment — December 2, 2010 @ 11:59

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