‘AND YOU WILL ATONE!’

REMEMBERING NED BEATTY

Actor Ned Beatty died in his sleep in his Los Angeles home Sunday surrounded by friends and family — his wife Sandra Johnson, eight children and grandchildren. He was 83.

He made his movie debut in the 1972 psycho adventure drama ‘Deliverance’ with Burt Reynolds, John Voight and Ronny Cox, Atlanta businessmen riding the rapids in backwoods Georgia.

RIDING THE RAPIDS

Beatty played the victim of a rape by mountain men in the hard-to-watch ‘Squeal like a pig’ scene.

The Kentucky-born actor appeared in more than 150 movies and TV shows, but the standout performance to me was in the 1976 box office hit ‘Network’ when he gave a thundering five-minute long monologue to convince madman news anchor Howard Beale,

MAD PROPHET

played by Peter Finch, to accept a major merger deal that would be bad for the public.

The performance as network head Arthur Jensen earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Academy Awards that year. The screenplay was written by Paddy Chayefsky and this scene was a powerhouse, as relevant today — even more so — as it was then. The message being that the world is controlled by corporations and the common man and woman have zero rights.


You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won’t have it! Is that clear?!

Do you think you’ve merely stopped a business deal? That is not the case. The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance!

You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West.

There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet.

That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and sub-atomic and galactic structure of things today! And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and YOU WILL ATONE!

You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.

What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state — Karl Marx?

They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do.

We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business.

The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.

And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.

Beale: “Why me?”

Jensen: Because you’re on television, dummy. Sixty million people watch you every night of the week, Monday through Friday.

Beale: “I have seen the face of God.”

Jensen: You just might be right, Mr. Beale.


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James Dean warned of death crash by Obi-Wan Kenobi

The collision heard around the world

British actor Alec Guinness was in a Hollywood restaurant with James Dean on September 23rd, 1955. Moments earlier, outside the restaurant, Dean had shown Guinness his new Porsche Spyder sports car.

Guinness, who went on to play the legendary Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, took hold of Dean’s arm and said, “Please do not get into that car, because if you do” —[he looked at his watch]— “it’s now Friday, 10 o’clock at night and by 10 o’clock at night next Friday, you’ll be dead if you get into that car.”

At 10 o’clock on that next Friday, James Dean was in a morgue in Paso Robles, California.

Do not get into that car.
Alec Guinness and the doomed legend

Friday, September 30, 1955, 5:45 p.m.

The brief spectacular life of legendary actor James Dean ended on a northern California road when a local boy, Donald Turnupseed, made an illegal left turn in front of Dean’s Porsche Spyder convertible. 

Dean’s German mechanic, Rolf Wütherich, was in the passenger seat.

Dean’s last words were, “That guy’s gotta see us.”

The collision mangled the sports car and killed James Dean on impact. He was 24.

Do not get into that car.

THE FATE OF THE OTHER TWO 

Wütherich, survived the crash and died in a drunk driving accident in 1981.

Turnupseed was only slightly injured when his Ford collided head-on with the Porsche. His offense of an illegal left turn was cancelled out by the fact that the Porsche was speeding. Dean had been stopped two hours earlier by a California Highway Patrolman and ticketed for speeding. Turnupseed died of lung cancer in 1995.


TV dramas

GOTTA START SOMEWHERE

James Dean’s career began in live TV dramas, like this one from the Campbells Soundstage in 1953. The show was broadcast live in front of an audience.

The performances on such live TV shows were often amateurish but this is how many future great actors got their start.


AND ON TO GREATER ROLES

Just three years later, James Dean’s acting had matured to what would have been superstar status in this classic scene from the 1956 movie Giant with Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor.


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