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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.
(From the epilogue by Allyson Adams in The Rebel & The King by Nick Adams and excerpts from “The James Dean I Knew” by Nick Adams.)
The Rebel & The King has been my introduction to the 50’s and I am intrigued when I find more stories my father wrote 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.
Nick writes of Dean, “There was an intensity, an eagerness for life in Jimmy…It would burst out in sudden whims for scuffling and horseplay…”
In “The James Dean I Knew” by Nick Adams, Daddy writes…
“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.
I have no idea what awaits me. All I know is that I am returning to smack dab in the center of the storm I remember, Hollywood, USA. I load up my 4-Runner and head south to Los Angeles with the Daddy Box safely within my possession. Why do I feel like I am carrying my father’s life? Besides the fact that I am – in a banker’s box. What am I doing? Maybe I need a shaman, probably a shrink. I guess I need to remember Elvis’ heartfelt words to my father, “If you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can move a mountain.” So I take a deep breath and head down the road.
(Excerpt from The Rebel & The King epilogue by Allyson Adams.)
Please join Allyson Adams and Michael Gregg Michaud to hear them discuss the Rebel cultural icons of our time this Saturday Nov. 2 at 4pm at Larry Edmunds Bookshop,
6644 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90028. http://www.Larryedmundsbookshop.com
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!