Monday, March 2, 2015


With all the news and post regarding Leonard Nimoy, the passing of Richard 'Dick' Bakalyan over the weekend - one year older than Nimoy at 84 - has gone largely unnoticed, though it's a name that unfortunately would probably not have gained much ink space anyhow. But Dick Bakalyan was great as a tough-guy teenager in such 1950's juvenile delinquency films as THE DELINQUENTS, THE COOL & THE CRAZY, JUVENILE JUNGLE and more. He was also in lots of western and war TV shows, episodes of BATMAN and THE MOD SQUAD, the classic war actioner VON RYAN'S EXPRESS, the post-apocalyptic PANIC IN THE YEAR ZERO!, and played a cop in Polanski's CHINATOWN.

When I was writing a film screenplay on spec some years back, the female lead, Laura, was a platinum-blonde, leopard print wearing hellcat with a fixation for all things 1950's, especially Dick Bakalyan. This was an exchange I wrote between Laura and her boyfriend, Jake, taking place in a desert motel while Laura is watching television.
What’s on?
Not sure, but I think it stars Dick Bakalyan.
Who’s he?
(genuinely surprised)
You never heard of Dick Bakalyan?
Sorry. The real world always kept me too
busy to become much of a film buff.
Well, he was in stacks of these movies in
the fifties. Juvenile Jungle....The Cool
and the Crazy....Hot Car Girl, which I
think this is. He was like a role model for
a whole generation of rebel wannabes.
I thought that privilege belonged to
Mister James Dean?
Nah, I always thought Dean was a bit
overrated. Too much of a poser, even
though he did at least die young.
(after a beat)
I don’t know. Dean was okay, I guess.
But I always thought Dick Bakalyan was
it and a bit. He had the real thing. Just
like you.
Me? I’ve never watched one of those
films in my life.
I know. That’s what makes you so great.
You’re not trying to be some phony clone.
You just are who you are.