FRIDAY-08-08-08(AT 8:08 AM)The Curse of The Little Bastard

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FRIDAY-08-08-08(AT 8:08 AM)The Curse of The Little Bastard

Post by AutumnSims on 8th August 2008, 12:12 pm

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LIL' BASTARD
The Curse of The Little Bastard

Was James Dean's Porche Spyder, which he nicknamed "The Little Bastard," cursed? Not only did the car carry James Dean to an early grave, but it was also responsible for several accidents and fatalities after Dean's death.

James Dean was driving west on U.S. Highway 466 (later California State Route 46) near Cholame, California when a Ford Tudor driven from the opposite direction by 23-year-old Cal Poly student Donald Turnupseed attempted to take the fork onto California State Route 41 and crossed into Dean's lane without seeing him. The two cars hit almost head on.

Dean's last known words, uttered right before impact, are said to have been: "That guy's got to stop... He'll see us."

After the tragedy, master car customizer George Barris bought the wreck for $2,500. When the wreck arrived at Barris' garage, the Porsche slipped and fell on one of the mechanics unloading it. The accident broke both of his legs.

While Barris had bad feelings about the car when he first saw it, his suspicions were confirmed during a race at the Pomona Fair Grounds on October 24, 1956. Two physicians, Troy McHenry and William Eschrid, were both racing cars that had parts from the "Little Bastard." McHenry died when his car, which had the Porsche's engine installed, went out of control and hit a tree. Eschrid's car flipped over. Eschrid, who survived despite serious injuries, later said that the car suddenly locked up when he went into a curve.

The car's malevolent influence continued after the race: one kid trying to steal the Porsche's steering wheel slipped and gashed his arm. Barris reluctantly sold two of the car's tires to a young man; within a week, the man was nearly involved in a wreck when the two tires blew out simultaneously.

Feeling that the Porsche could be put to good use, Barris loaned the wrecked car to the California Highway Patrol for a touring display to illustrate the importance of automobile safety. Within days, the garage housing the Spyder burnt to the ground. With the exception of the "Little Bastard," every vehicle parked inside the garage was destroyed. When the car was put on exhibit in Sacramento, it fell from its display and broke a teenager's hip. George Barkuis, who was hauling the Spyder on a flatbed truck, was killed instantly when the Porsche fell on him after he was thrown from his truck in an accident.

The mishaps surrounding the car continued until 1960, when the Porsche was loaned out for a safety exhibit in Miami, Florida. When the exhibit was over, the wreckage, en route to Los Angeles on a truck, mysteriously vanished along with the driver and truck. To this day, the "Little Bastard's" whereabouts are unknown.
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Re: FRIDAY-08-08-08(AT 8:08 AM)The Curse of The Little Bastard

Post by AutumnSims on 8th August 2008, 12:16 pm

I remember falling in love with this car(I was 7) and telling my parents I wanted a "lil' Bastard" when i was 16. my brother was a James Dean buff when I was little in the 80's
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Re: FRIDAY-08-08-08(AT 8:08 AM)The Curse of The Little Bastard

Post by HauntedHRM on 8th August 2008, 2:20 pm

Great post, very interesting!! I wonder where the car is?
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Re: FRIDAY-08-08-08(AT 8:08 AM)The Curse of The Little Bastard

Post by AutumnSims on 8th August 2008, 2:40 pm

Dean's Cursed Car
Doesn't really say about the whereabouts but more about the curse
Where is it?
In 2005 the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois offered $1million for the missing car--although George Barris would have to authenticate the wreck. Their money was safe, though because the death car will never re-surface, and the answer to the mystery most likely was reduced to a cube of mangled aluminum by a salvage yard crusher.

Some stories have the Porsche Spyders created from the cursed crushed metal of the Dusenberg in which Archduke and Duchess Franz Ferdinand was killed in Sarajevo. Some Dean friends claim to have predicted Dean's death to the actor himself when Dean was showing off the car in the parking lot of the Villa Capri restaurant shortly after he bought it.

Dean's acquaintance with spooky horror movie hostess Maila Nurmi of Vampira fame and a low budget Ed Wood production, Plan 9 From Outer Space recognition ended before his death but the relationship was rekindled when she was refashioned as Dean's Black Madonna in tabloid articles published posthumously. Pictured in front of an open grave at Santa Monica's Woodlawn Cemetery, she reportedly had sent the image to Jimmy as a joke with the invitation to "Come Join Me." The spin was that she had been spurned and had placed a curse on Jimmy (several people who had annoyed her reportedly died unnatural or premature deaths--Tomata du Plenty for one).

Dean's own unverified interest in the occult, and his definite morbid bent--underlining passages of death and degradation in his copy of Hemingway's Death In The Afternoon--attached his memory to the bizarre and the macabre in the wake of his death. But the marriage of the beautiful and meteoric young actor with his automotive anima--the sleek and curvaceous Porsche 550 Spyder--was a match made in tabloid heaven. "His Love Destroyed him", wrote author William F. Nolan in an article chronicling Dean's love affair with speed.

Wrote the notorious Kenneth Anger in an essay "Kar Krash Karma" in Brottman's Car Crash Culture, "Votive lights glowed in front of my very best James Dean photo, autographed--eat your heart out Marlon-- to me, and I carried my car-death compulsion to the point of aquiring for three-hundred-bucks--a twisted shard of Jimmy's beloved Porsche. It is safe to say he never loved a dude or a chick as much as he was totally taken with the romance of that new Porsche. At twenty-four, Jimmy went out with a CRRUUNNCH-BBAANNGG!!! And died doing what he loved doing sliding directly into legend.

The car is the belle dame sans merci in the Dean saga and functions as the Lady in Red in the Dillinger saga. Her feminine lines and Dean endearments ("My Baby") cast her in the popular unconscious as the missing element--a fatal lady love who seduces him to doom--and makes his death a love affair gone bad. Had Ursula Andress rather than Rolf Wuetherich been in the seat next to Jimmy on the fatal day (unfortunate for Ursula) the romance of the last day would be much more satisfying.

The feminization of the Spyder fills a dramatic void and also reassures us against the uncomfortable homoeroticism of the death-intimacy of Dean and Rolf. Especially after the traditional scene where Jimmy gives Rolf a love plight--a ring--at the diner as they embark on the last leg of their death drive. The fan magazine reports have Rolf hunkered down under windscreen lighting and passing cigarettes to Jimmy as if he pas Paul Henried to Jimmy's Betty Davis.

Howard Lake wrote in the context of car crash songs but that could equally be applied to car and driver in the case, "Like Jamespuean, these lovers punctuate memory with their youthful beauty, suspended forever in a coital imminence, dead long before the consumation of their relationships." (Howard Lake, Violence and Vinyl, reprinted in Car Crash Culture, Brottman ed. PALGRAVE 2001).

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