Rebel Without Applause

Rebel Without a Cause, Eden Cried, James Dean, me (the resemblance is uncanny, right?)

My Real Memoir

I’d just graduated from 8th Grade. My teacher Mrs. Chamberlain had written in my yearbook, “Dear Mitch, take advantage of your ability and you will go far.” And Ginny E, whose lush waterfall of ginger hair nightly haunted my dreams, had written, “To a real tuff guy! Miss you next year (she would be attending a different high school). Love ya!” With bona fides like that, how could I fail?

Still, I had to strike while the iron was hot.

The moment I saw the announcement for a movie being shot in our area, special effects clouds parted and Charlton Heston called down to me: “This is your moment, real tuff guy, take advantage of your ability and you will go far!”

Eden Cried was the first movie I starred in. And by starred in I mean, of course, that I was an extra. I’d just turned 14, but looked older, so I was cast as various teenagers and 20-somethings. After my stage debut the previous year, I was hooked on applause. If I could just get a close-up, I was certain I’d have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame by Christmas!

We were filming at a SoCal beach when the director announced, “I need a close-up of a couple making out.” I lurched forward and smiled rakishly. Amazingly, he pointed at me and a big-chested teeny-bikinied blonde and said, “Those two.” We were hurried into position on a beach blanket and told to “get passionate.” I was excited. And a little freaked-out. So I whispered in the blonde’s ear,

“This is only my second time, actually.”

“Doing a close-up?” she asked.

“No, kissing,” I replied.

She jerked away as if suddenly realizing I was made out of jellied eels. “Wait. How old are you?”

I whispered the answer in her ear.

“Ew!” she shrieked as she jumped to her feet. “I’m 25!”

“So what?” the director shouted, annoyed at the interruption.

“He’s 13!” she screamed.

“No, I’m not!” I snorted dismissively. “I turned 14 last week!” And in one swell foop, installation of my star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame…

Was indefinitely delayed.

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

Eden Cried, a cheesy low-budget Rebel Without a Cause knock-off, was released 2 ½ years later with the inscrutable ad line, “Free admission to anyone born married or divorced.” (Which either means no one who’s ever lived or, if you insert commas, everyone who’s ever lived.) At the bottom of the poster, the unattributed quote (from the director himself, no doubt) praised the film as “A combination of The Graduate and Love Story!”

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, Movies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Rebel Without Applause

  1. Pingback: The Year I Invented Myself | Mitch Teemley

  2. rwfrohlich says:

    James Dean was an icon during my teen years, I was deeply affected by Rebel without a Cause. In some ways, I identified with the anger and angst. Also, FYI, I looked a lot more like James Dean than you did, although, apart from a couple of plays at church, my participation in the arts was not as extensive as yours turned out to be.
    These days I look more like the picture of Dorian Gray.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. marthadilo3 says:

    Omg hilarious! Thanks for the smile!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Rebel Without Applause — Mitch Teemley – Robert Frohlich

  5. Great story, Mitch. God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ew, thirteen-year-old boy!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. C.A. Post says:

    Hmm, you know you two look so alike, are you sure it wasn’t you who died and James lived? Just wondering, how would you know? 😁

    Liked by 2 people

  8. #hood says:

    you left he is 11


  9. The blonde in the teeny weeny bikini was wise to rat you out, but what a fun story!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Badfinger (Max) says:

    Did you ever see it? Could you pick yourself out?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. gpavants says:


    Wow, we all have had our start. That had to be embarrassing to face. But you survived.

    Thanks, Gary

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ann Coleman says:

    That’s hilarious! Although I know it didn’t seem that way to you at the time….

    Liked by 1 person

  13. As usual, your memoirs crack me up! I’m sorry that 25 year old ruined your chance at a star on the walk.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. mitchteemley says:

    No, I never did, Max. I’d love to, but haven’t found the actual film (streaming or DVD) online, only mentions of it in IMDb, etc. The guy who wrote and directed it has no other credits, and the producer made a bunch of low budget exploitation movies in the 60s and 70s, including that timeless classic ‘Blood Orgy of the She-Devils’ (gotta love that title).


  15. Pingback: The Most Memorable Year of My Life | Mitch Teemley

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