Thursday, June 7, 2012

Robert Walker, teen idol?

As I briefly mentioned yesterday, TCM is spotlighting teen idols instead of a regular Star of the Month this June. Every Thursday night, TCM is running films starring actors who were obviously there for the young generation. TCM is only highlighting the first three in its online schedule, although I think that's almost standard practice: I could swear when they've had a Star of the Month whose movies continue into the morning, the later films don't get shown as being part of a Star of the Month salute. (Also, TCM doesn't highlight any morning themes, such as today's birthday salute to Virginia McKenna.)

The first three stars are Elvis Presely in Jailhouse Rock at 8:00 PM (an obvious choice), followed by Pat Boone in what I think is the TCM premiere of All Hands on Deck at 10:00 PM. Was Boone really a teen idol? Having been born in 1972, I tend to think of Boone as one of the older generation, even though he was in his early 20s when he had his first big hits in the 1950s. Still, his singing style sounds more like a Perry Como instead of the "rebellious" Elvis or the other early rock and roll types. Third is obvious teen idol James Dean in the overrated Rebel Without a Cause at midnight. I'd think that the fourth movie, even though not highlighted by TCM's online schedule, still stars a teen idol, that being Tab Hunter in The Girl He Left Behind at 2:00 AM. He still would have been in his mid-20s at the time the movie was made, and I think was put in a lot of his movies for the teenage girls (and, I suppose the gay guys).

But the last choice is one I'm not sure whether it fits the bill or whether it's just there to fill a two-hour slot in the schedule: Robert Walker in See Here, Private Hargrove. Walker would have been in his early 20s when he made this service comedy during World War II, but my knowledge of the teen idols of the 1940s is even less than my knowledge of the 1950s teen idols, who seem far more prominent thanks to being part of the Boomer generation's culture more or less (even if none of them were actually born after 1945). Would there even have been teen idols while there was a war on?

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