Post Office Honors The Wrong James Dean
The U.S. Postal Service recently issued a James Dean postage stamp, thereby celebrating the enduring mystery of this Hollywood legend. The mystery to me is why the heck the guy is so popular 40 years after his death. He brooded his way through three over-rated movies, bathed infrequently (according to accounts) but died young, and that no doubt explains the mystique. I don't think there would be much of a James Dean cult if he had lived and ended up guest-starring on "Murder, She Wrote" as one of Jessica's old flames. I say it's high time we switched our adulation to another James Dean -- Jimmy Dean, that lanky, drawling singer and actor. If you dare to compare James Dean with Jimmy Dean, you'll find Jimmy finishes on top by a wide margin. Let us see how they stack up.PORK SAUSAGES NAMED AFTER HIM Jimmy Dean: Two. Original, or try delicious hot-and-spicy. Made with only the choicest cuts of pork, ham and pork loin. In your grocer's Pork Sausages Put Out by Lanky, Drawling Texans section. James Dean: 0. (Although to be fair, had he lived, James Dean might have come out with his own James Dean Brand Sausage --Extra Angst in Every Bite.)MUSICAL ABILITYJimmy Dean: Plenty. This feller can sure carry a tune. Plus, he was a musical pioneer in the early '60s with the first rap song for macho white guys, "Big John (Big Bad John)."James Dean: Zilch. Imagine if he had tried to mumble his way through the theme songs of his movies, such as "Giant (Big Bad Giant)"' or "He's a Rebel, and He's Never, Never, Never Gonna Find a Cause." It would have been painful to the ears.ACTING ABILITYJimmy Dean: Much underrated. He played a Howard Hughes type tycoon in a James Bond movie. He also was a regular on the old Daniel Boone TV series. When you are able to hold your own with Fess Parker and Roosevelt Grier, you are among the acting heavyweights.James Dean: Would he have done a credible job as Dan'l Boone's grinnin'-and-a-pickin' pardner Josh Clements? I doubt it, don't you?VERSATILITYJimmy Dean: He hosted his own variety series in the '60s, and was comfortable interacting with a wide range of guest stars and regulars, from Rowlf the Muppet to Homer and Jethro. James Dean: Would he have been good at bantering with the likes of Homer and Jethro? I don't think so. He'd probably say something moody like, "You hayseeds make a living doing this?"ALIVENESSJimmy Dean wins this category, hands-down.So it is evident that it is Jimmy Dean who truly deserves to be honored with a postage stamp. In this regard, Jimmy Dean clearly gives James Dean a good licking.