Well read on. This is about the making of the film and a boy who met James Dean.
East of Eden was filmed in 1954 in Mendocino, CA. In 1994 when the gentleman who compiled this magazine style book was visiting Mendocino, recording memories of the locals who could recall that time long ago when that Warner Brothers bus rolled into town. Often a local would tell him, “You should contact Professor Silva at the University of Alaska. He spent a lot of time with James Dean.”
And, so contact him he did. Professor Silva was able to provided many never before seen photographs. Pictures taken by his mother or himself using her camera. He also provided lots of color into James Dean when he was away from the camera. Eventually Ron Silva was asked to provide a short story to be included in the book. It is a 12 page, 2 column short story. Thus I have provide only some snippets of interest.
Ron and his cousin are the 2 boys riding their bicycles in the movies opening scene. (Netflix, Prime et al have a habit of cutting that out. You’ll need to find an unedited version). It was an exciting time for the 15 year old Ron and the townspeople to watch that Warner Brothers bus roll into town.
The wild, unkept young man encouraged Ron to hang out with him. Eventually the boy from Portigee Flat befriended the young, up and coming movie star.
Ron was an extra in the movie, as were many of his relatives, friends and neighbors. In fact both Ron and his brother Lee got thier Social Security cards thanks to Warner Brothers. Standing next to each other in the line, their SS# are 1 digit apart. Ron was in the gym scene and was very excited when told to report to wardrobe to get a military uniform to be in the battle scene.
James Dean didn’t care to spend time with the “suits” and other Hollywood types. So, Ron took him fishing.
They would often eat lunch at Ron’s Grandmother’s house on Portigee Flat.
The book James Dean in Mendocino goes in and out of print. If you’re in the area, Mendosa’s store (the same store Gram would send Ron to for an onion and cigarettes) usually has the book available.