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John Wisniewski interviewed me for the Eye of Faith; a unique culture online magazine that loves rebels, genius, icons, fashion and celebrities with substance. John gave me a free forum to express some things that have been on my mind for a while. Thanks John!
Check it out. The article is complete with a recording of Nick Adams singing Johnny Yuma. Classic! Glad Nick stuck to acting. Also finally some of the photos my Dad took of Elvis during his homecoming concert have surfaced. Way cool. Elvis had no problem hamming it up for Daddy’s camera.
46 years ago on Feb. 7, 2014 Daddy left this planet as a troubled soul similar to Phillip Seymour Hoffman did a week ago. RIP. Not! I just have to say that I’m saddened and disgusted by the way the media is turning Hoffman’s death into a circus. How come the police are allowed to share what the contents of your private home are after you are found dead? Or that the needle was still in his arm? WTF? Is there no respect for his family and children whom are grieving and devastated right now? My prayers go out to his loved ones. End of story.
Nick Adams and James Dean clowning around during a wardrobe call for “Rebel Without A Cause.”
DADDY and DEAN by Allyson Adams
In Celebration of the new, restored “Rebel Without a Cause” premiere on Nov. 1, 2013 with Martin Scorsese presenting at the Bling Theatre for the LACMA event, I offer up some Nick Adams and other Rebel Without A Cause Gang stories.
It’s a Rebel Weekend with all spectrums of the James Dean legacy spreading their fallen wings. James Franco, James Dean’s alter muse, is releasing his new film “SAL” that depicts the last day and night of Sal Mineo’s life before he was fatally stabbed. Franco was also 2012 Bad Boy Art Rebel of MOCA exhibit accurately titled “Rebel.” Author of “Sal Mineo” Michael Gregg Michaud and “The Rebel & The King” Allyson Adams (moi) daughter of late actor, Nick Adams, are peeking behind the curtain at Larry Edmunds Bookshop on Sat. Nov. 2 at 4pm to discuss the lives and friendships of The Rebel Without A Cause icons: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Dennis Hopper and Nick Adams.
Publishing The Rebel & The King has been my introduction to the 50’s and I was intrigued when I found stories my father had written about Elvis, James Dean and Natalie Wood. Before my father met Elvis, the legendary Dean had just been tragically killed in his Porsche Spyder “Little Bastard” in 1955, one month before the release of Rebel Without a Cause, and before the completion of Giant. Daddy and James were notorious friends and Nick was a talented impersonator who did the voiceover for James Dean’s drunken scene in Giant because Dean mumbled. The scene is often referred to as the Last Supper because it was the last scene in which Dean acted.
Taken from an article Nick Adams wrote “The James Dean I Knew” my Dad writes, “There was an intensity, an eagerness for life in Jimmy…It would burst out in sudden whims for scuffling and horseplay…
Hamlet wore horn rimmed glasses…Jimmy would have gotten a kick out of that line. More than anything else in the world Jimmy wanted to play Hamlet. Hamlet has been described many ways, but sometimes I wonder if old Bill Shakespeare didn’t picture “The Prince of Denmark” as being of average height, with a short broad jaw, short nose, gray eyes, brown hair and horn rimmed glasses.
I’m sure that if Mr. Shakespeare could have seen that smile, that twitch of the head, that walk with a slight slouch, that boyish magnetism, those eyes that showed a limitless hopeful expectancy-I’m sure the great writer would have said: “That’s my Hamlet, but what about the glasses?” And Jimmy would have replied, “I don’t wear them when I’m acting!”
I first met Jimmy about five years ago in 1951. We made TV commercials together. We be-bopped around a juke box with two girls, singing “Pepsi-Cola Hits the Spot.” Yes, I’m sure Jimmy would have gotten a big laugh out that line.
Here is a boy who was born in an obscure town in Indiana. He grew up on a farm. He never owned a home. He never wrote a novel. He had no credentials except himself. With this alone he became one of the finest actors in the country, the envy of millions, and one of the most popular motion picture stars since Rudolph Valentino.
Some people turned against him, some denied him, some criticized, some laughed, some cried, but I am sure that I am justified in saying that no one has affected or crept into the hearts of so many in so short a time.
“Billy The Kid!” Are you kidding me? You mean to say they did the “Kid” on TV…No kidding!” Jimmy was doing the part of Jett Rink in “Giant” when he said this. We were having lunch together in the commissary at Warner Brothers. I had seen a TV show the night before in which the life of “Billy The Kid” was portrayed. The second most important thing in the world for Jimmy was to do the life of “Billy The Kid.”
I think it’s sort of ironical that the two parts Jimmy wanted to do the most are both legendary. In a way “Billy The Kid” was a lot like Jimmy. They say the “Kid” was a slim, slight little fellow- didn’t look like much, but he never wasted a bullet- as Jimmy never wasted a minute. He always had a couple of dozen projects going. He was always searching. Jimmy always said that the ordinary human being has many basic needs. He feels them deep within himself. If any of these needs aren’t filled, the result is a longing, a restlessness, a disappointment and these can lead to illness.
Jimmy will never get to do the two parts he loved most. At least not in this world. But I have a feeling that somewhere, someplace, Jimmy is unsheathing his foil readying for the scene with Laertes.
James Dean was born on February 8th, 1931, and everyone who knew him agreed that there was no false pride or insecurity in Jimmy’s makeup. He was naturally simple, genuine, and humble. He was shy, too. He didn’t want to make any fuss about his success or fame.
The second time I saw Jimmy was while I was stationed in New London, Connecticut. His first Broadway play was being tried out in Hartford, and Jimmy sent me a ticket. We had corresponded a few times and he knew where I was stationed. After the curtain fell for the last time that evening I just sat bewildered and amazed how improved Jimmy had become since our TV commercial days.
I went backstage and congratulated him and then we went to a broken down coffee shop and sat and talked for about three hours until finally the owner threw us out. I learned a lot that night and because of many of the things that Jimmy told me, I built more confidence in myself and my work.” (End of Nick Adams passage from “The James Dean I Knew.”)
In another article my father wrote, he tells the story of being in New York with Natalie Wood the day James Dean crashed. Nick heard the news and had to hide Jimmy’s death from her all night so she could get some sleep for her filming the next day. Nick had a long night wrestling with his own grief and wrote a tribute to his friend, which was later published. Then in the morning, Nick broke the sad news to the shocked starlet.
Nick Adams’ death and friendships are more famous than his movies. Nick and Dennis Hopper were roommates and stole each other’s clean socks.I feel like I found a buried treasure with all these stories swiriling about with the ghosts of James Dean, Natalie Wood, Dennis Hopper, Elvis and my father. I love this stuff.
Please join me and Michael Gregg Michaud to hear us discuss the Rebel cultural icons of our time this Saturday Nov. 2 at 4pm at Larry Edmunds Bookshop,
It’s a Rebel weekend with LACMA premiering the new restored Rebel Without a Cause, the release of Sal, the new James Franco movie based on Sal Mineo by Michael Gregg Michaud and a book signing at Larry Edmunds Bookshop featuring Sal Mineo author Michael Gregg Michaud and me, The Rebel & The King. Come on down if you are in Hollywood…there’s no business like SALacious stars and their stories.
The Rebel & The King by Nick Adams consists of an original manuscript by my Dad that details his close relationship with Elvis Presley during the famous singer’s Tupelo homecoming concert in 1956. Nick Adams became Presley’s best friend when Elvis came to Hollywood after they met on the set of Love Me Tender. Both were young actors and Elvis was a huge James Dean fan and knew struggling actor Nick Adams was one of Dean’s close friends before his death. Daddy gives a behind-the-scenes look at Elvis as a young artist with aspirations of being a great actor even as his musical career soars.
Nick Adams was an Academy Award nominated film and television actor noted for his appearance in film classics Rebel Without a Cause, Mister Roberts, Picnic, Pillow Talk and No Time for Sergeants. He lived a short and fast-paced life in Hollywood only to die young, and somewhat mysteriously. His friendships with James Dean, Natalie Wood, Dennis Hopper and Elvis Presley are legendary. Nick starred in and co-created the iconic western television series, The Rebel, with the famous song by Johnny Cash in 1959-61. Then after his Twilight of Honor Academy Award nomination, he made cult, sci-fi Godzilla movies, Monster Zero, Frankenstein Meets the Outer Space Monster, and Boris Karloff’s last horror movie, Die Monster Die. Nick Adams died tragically of an overdose at 36.
“Nobody knows Nick Adams better than me, and Nick was E.P.’s best friend in Hollywood.”
Robert Conrad, Award winning actor and International Radio Host.
“The Rebel & The King” is a sweetly naïve account by the late actor Nick Adams about his friendship with a young Elvis Presley.” Susan King, Los Angeles Times.
“This is one of the most honest, touching and truthful books I’ve read about Elvis. I had no idea the extent of Nick’s connection to Elvis’ family and hometown. We never hear much about his mother and father. Nick brings them to life. It’s fascinating stuff.” Tom Brown, VP Turner Classic Movies.
I launched the book during Elvis Week 2012, the 35th Anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, at Graceland last August to enthusiastic fans with the help of many people. I won’t name them here because they are in the book and my acknowledgments are longer than my foreword.
The Rebel & The King is available at Larry Edmunds Bookshop, at www.therebelandtheking.com and at www.amazon.com. The expanded E-Book edition includes 30 photos, essay by best-selling author Elaine Dundy, introduction by historian Roy Turner and epilogue by Allyson Adams is available on all E-book distributors.
In my epilogue I expressed the guilty pleasure of discovering these stories my Dad wrote about James Dean, Natalie Wood and Elvis Presley in my Daddy Box. Well the Daddy Box is open again so we’ll see what sweet trickery Halloween week brings. I will be sharing some juicy morsels with you this Rebel Week like the night James Dean died and other rebel stories. Be sure to catch Johnny Yuma when he rides again on Saturday mornings on METv at 11:00 a.m.
Thanks for checking in. Enjoy the ride,
Actor in the King’s Court Los Angeles Times by Susan King.
Me and Dad, 1960
‘The Rebel And The King’: Allyson Adams Finds Late Father’s Book About Elvis, Decides To Publish It
Ventura County Star | By Brett Johnson P
Thanks to Brett Johnson!
56 years ago on September 26, 1956, Elvis Presley performed at his Tupelo Homecoming Concert in Mississippi. Daddy was there to lend support and open Elvis’ concert doing comedic impersonations of Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney and Marlon Brando. Elvis wowed his hometown and this was to be one of the most important moments in his life.
“When Elvis came up on that stage I thought someone had just dropped an Atomic Bomb. They cheered so loud I thought I was going to lose an eardrum. Someone told me the population of Tupelo was 12,000. Well there were close to 50,000 people at Elvis’ Homecoming.” (The Rebel and the King excerpt by Nick Adams)
Elvis was about to give a show to many who had only thought of him as the poor boy with a bad Daddy. Elvis, ten years earlier, a gangly 11 year old with glasses and a dimestore guitar he bought at Tupelo Hardware, had won fifth place in a talent show singing Ole Shep.
“Elvis told everyone what a great thrill this was for so many reasons. One of them was because he used to sneak into this very same fair when he was younger because he didn’t have any money to buy a ticket. Elvis said, “Last time I was here, I didn’t even have a nickel.” (Excerpt by Nick Adams)
In honor of this anniversary, The Rebel & the King is now available on Amazon after a successful, pre-release tour surrounding Elvis Week at Graceland in August. The video “Walking in Memphis with The Rebel and the King” that Roy Turner put together of Maria Sanderson’s photos, Big Jim, Hal Lansky, all the interviews clips and his special archival collection of Elvis history- says it all. Marc Cohen’s “Walking in Memphis” seems to be written for my Elvis pilgrimage. But, in all honesty, TUPELO, MISSISSIPPI is the star of the trip because that’s where I met Roy Turner, which is kind of a strange story.
Right around the time I was publishing the book I went to my healer just after reading Elaine Dundy’s scathing portrayal of Nick Adams in her book, Elvis and Gladys. Little did I know, my healer was Elaine Dundy’s, New York socialite and famed writer of The Dud Avocado, best friend. During our session, my healer confessed that she never gives messages, but this one was so strong that she had to deliver it. Elaine Dundy was directing me to contact Roy Turner. OMG, I just read something she wrote about my father. How can I get a hold of her? She died four years ago. Okaaay…As fate would have it, I was too busy to contact Roy, so Roy contacted me. I went out on a limb and told him about my psychic, medium communication with Elaine. Roy assured me he knew Elaine Dundy’s spirit well and he and I were soul mates from then on.
Roy brought me into the soul of Elvis by introducing me to Elvis Presley’s birthplace in Tupelo. Dragging me and 800 books (I had delivered to his driveway right before a rain storm), Roy was my ambassador to all the warm (Tupelo in August everybody is warm) friendly Elvis fans with stories to tell and pictures to share. Here I was in the midst of a true American tale of rags to riches where Elvis with the faith of a mustard seed became the entertainer of his dreams. And it is Elaine Dundy’s writings that gave me the greatest insight into the boy Elvis. I hit the motherlode in Tupelo and will never be the same.
Coming soon is an essay “Elvis and The Mississippi-Alabama Fair” written by Elaine Dundy on April 17, 2005 before her death when she was practically blind from a degenerative disease and still writing with a special keyboard. This never before published essay is a key insight into the significance of the Tupelo Homecoming on Elvis. Stay tuned and go to http://www.Amazon.com to order The Rebel and the King. Feel free to write a review if you have read the book. Thank you to everybody who keeps making this journey an adventure.
If you are looking to pick up a copy of The Rebel and the King, you can get it now for $19.95!
They are autographed, and even come with a free 8×10 photograph (until September 25)!