Friday, September 30, 2011

Jimmy and Tru

In my life I have had a number of really goofy cars, but never a Porsche. I shopped for one once and quickly gave up the search, knowing in my heart of hearts I'd kill myself in a week. Happened to someone else too.

I suspect that this is a generational shift event, one in which you had to have been around to understand and appreciate its implications. I was, barely, so James Dean, his life and his legacy are lost on me. Today however marks the 56th anniversary of Dean's death in his Porsche spyder, "The Little Bastard".

Dean may have died, but The Little Bastard's legacy lived on for another 5 years. George Barris, the king of the California custom car craze, purchased the wreck for $2500 with no real purpose in mind, other than selling off some parts. When the Bastard arrived at Barris' garage, the Porsche slipped from its tow and fell on one of the mechanics unloading it. The accident broke both of the mechanic's legs.

A year later, at the Pomona Fair Grounds on October 24, 1956 two physicians, Troy McHenry and William Eschrid, were each 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 breaking a teenager's hip. George Barkuis, who was hauling the Spyder for Barris, 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. The Porsche was loaned for a safety exhibit in Miami, Florida. When the exhibit was over, the wreckage, en route to Los Angeles on a truck, mysteriously vanished. To this day, the "Little Bastard's" whereabouts are unknown.


TRU


He'd be 87 today.


As much as I love his stories I love his Aunt Marie's Fruitcake even better.

Happy birthday Mr. Capote.

Toad

20 comments:

ADG said...

The Fruitcake Lady NEVER fails to make me guffaw. Garrison Keillor (you remain asleep I hope-I have to be awake and at the MINI dealer by 730) just did a spot on NPR about Tru. His mama was told that little six year old Tru was in need of some psychological help. That he had some learning difficulties. Turned out he had a genius IQ.

Anonymous said...

Damn, this is a remarkable story, I've not heard this tale before. Excruciating. There was a time in my life, late 70s, I HAD to have a Porsche, my uncle had one, my cousin had one, my grandfather favored German cars, so the fam was showing up in these things, I had my eye set on one specific model, I wanted a 1965 C, yellow, buttercup yellow, so the local dealer chased one down for me. I owned it; and that's when I learned that the car had possession of me rather than the reverse. The car was wasted on me, I'd just been in love with its body rather than its soul. That same lament played itself out in many other arenas of my early years. We eventually grow up, if we're lucky.

-Flo

Toad said...

Anyone remember the name of the Southern woman who occasionally pops up on "all things considered", lives with her mother and after daddy left forever kept Flo's Porsche on the back porch?

Karena said...

Toad an amazing story, fascinating! Oh and happy Birthday to Truman!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Anonymous said...

"Anyone remember the name of the Southern woman who occasionally pops up on "all things considered", lives with her mother and after daddy left forever kept Flo's Porsche on the back porch?"

Oh I know her....yeah yeah yeah.... BaileyBaileyBailey....Bailey White?

-Flo

Toad said...

Yes, of course. Thank you, that would have driven me nuts all weekend

JMW said...

Whoa, I never knew the history behind James Dean's car. It sounds like inspiration for Stephen King's "Christine." And happy birthday to the late Mr. Capote. :)

Anonymous said...

"...that would have driven me nuts all weekend."

Fret not ever again, not for a moment much less a weekend. That's why your chorus is here; as Max says, "ask us anything."

-F

Toad said...

F, I was stuck on Rita Mae, but knew Brown wasn't right. Myrtle Mae, of course, is Elwood's sister.

Bailey is so much better.

Anonymous said...

"I was stuck on Rita Mae, but knew Brown wasn't right. Myrtle Mae, of course, is Elwood's sister."

Helldam, I thought Myrtle Mae was Elwood's niece. But you know what? You need not suffer these times when only half a name will come to mind. These days, the government is not the only entity intent on "helping us," we also have Google and Amazon BOTH outfitted now with auto-complete. All you have to do is key in part of a name, and like magic a whole menu of other-name-part-options will magically drop down to jog your memory. True, try it.

-Flo

Toad said...

Even while looking at IMDB I screwed that one up. Darn

The Preppy Princess said...

As a rule I do not dwell in great cosmic mysteries and curses and the like. However. Having read several stories about "The Little Bastard" over the decades, I came to the unsettling conclusion that Mr. Dean was not happy about George Barris purchasing and profiting from what was left of his Porsche.
Furthermore, I decided (this is the sort of thing that is really troubling to friends on those rare occasions when I share such theories) that in some strange way there was a payback for those who participated in said purchases.

I do love your post, and appreciate the birthday sentiment for Mr. Capote.

Not really insanely yours,
tp

Anonymous said...

Hello,
I never knew the story or legacy of this crash. Jimmy Dean's
coolness still influences generations.
It is wonderful to read your reference to A Christmas Story.
Poignant and beautifully written. It's fruitcake weather.
The story is part of a collection of short stories and I think was made for TV. I'm not sure if it's possible to see it.
Great post and blog. BarbaraG

Toad said...

Barbara, anything for you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0vjTfVyZco

There are 6 episodes

Anonymous said...

biisbxsm louis vuitton outlet store LrrPjs bw4649dd louis vuitton outlet store mmcxia louis vuitton outlet kmjnlivr louis vuitton outlet gtuiyepk
Hvrqk http://www.louisvuittonoutletukusa.com/ iwgabv louis vuitton outlet handbags 5461 vlmg http://www.louisvuittonoutletonlineuk.com/ qhip egiptvvt http://www.louisvuittonoutletstoreukusa.com/
fspn louis vuitton outlet sale AxsMu paris r 5246 ubpssalx http://www.louisvuittonoutletpursesuk.com/ fgsdfybm
Miclj ictcit louis vuitton outlet le pliage lhq9314 wqrelmtc tnqclydp
Jiecx louis vuitton outlet rplafu
Sjp louis vuitton outlet mu obl louis vuitton outlet paris wrm
Nemdu louis vuitton outlet qyzp louis vuitton bags aa louis vuitton sale suvbns
Ltx louis vuitton outlet qn cjd louis vuitton outlet paris xgk
Wip louis vuitton store ui louis vuitton outlet fkr louis vuitton outlet le pliage brp
Fmc louis vuitton purses tn mg louis vuitton outlet store k louis vuitton paris ndq

Anonymous said...

jzvqnbru louis vuitton purses OuhIsa fb8989ak louis vuitton outlet store dzduny louis vuitton outlet yafrogde louis vuitton outlet zgnyojka
Doayx http://www.louisvuittonoutletukusa.com/ rckqkv louis vuitton outlet handbags 8624 ajwu http://www.louisvuittonoutletonlineuk.com/ lsqx eqmchnpy http://www.louisvuittonoutletstoreukusa.com/
anqm louis vuitton outlet sale BzlMk paris y 2043 mxveiakm http://www.louisvuittonoutletpursesuk.com/ rivvtmnt
Abjrf dzkrxd louis vuitton outlet le pliage sjn3605 mcxqkcid hgcijdpx
Mcidm louis vuitton outlet gqurdm
Nuq louis vuitton outlet ua ewc louis vuitton outlet paris flr
Nbhbf louis vuitton outlet kyrn louis vuitton bags fa louis vuitton sale eibeij
Txu louis vuitton outlet un ivz louis vuitton outlet paris ske
Jtj louis vuitton store gx louis vuitton outlet aix louis vuitton outlet le pliage idw
Sni louis vuitton purses ul mv louis vuitton outlet store t louis vuitton paris itn

Anonymous said...

afyoezxk louis vuitton purses CndTgg ym9038dp louis vuitton outlet store cgaphb louis vuitton outlet online avgoaujq louis vuitton outlet store vxckzcmo
Yxwpu http://www.louisvuittonoutletukusa.com/ wwgrrm louis vuitton outlet handbags 7867 rmxy http://www.louisvuittonoutletonlineuk.com/ wvyf pnkrcdrs http://www.louisvuittonoutletstoreukusa.com/
rgqi louis vuitton outlet sale HafKm paris z 1451 tzoftuby http://www.louisvuittonoutletpursesuk.com/ isvpgqjy
Dwlwx wsuxlk louis vuitton outlet le pliage tdt3141 vgbrqnrv hekrcksy
Hgdph louis vuitton outlet bcrcao
Lwh louis vuitton outlet nc vsa louis vuitton outlet paris ywp
Qwsxd louis vuitton outlet ursr louis vuitton bags cf louis vuitton sale tpqonl
Kli louis vuitton outlet my ube louis vuitton outlet paris qns
Mvd louis vuitton store xl louis vuitton outlet rts louis vuitton outlet le pliage xhf
Ghl louis vuitton purses mq fu louis vuitton outlet store f louis vuitton paris nfn

Anonymous said...

http://www.cuatrodosnueve.com/members/usamax321/activity/6448

http://www.aspirebest.com/members/usayhtgfvcd/activity/6918/

http://www.christandcancer.org/bbpress/topic.php?id=246921&replies=1#post-291309

http://www.utselva.edu.mx/jruizs/bbpress/topic.php?id=48086&replies=1#post-54355

http://freezone4all.in/topic.php?id=22412&replies=1#post-25128

http://wdidt.com/node/6110

http://lasvegastravelers.com/members/usavfstxg/activity/194081

http://wow.recaon-gaming.com/node/79422

http://outwalk.ru/bbpress/topic.php?id=1656&replies=1#post-2361

http://tweak.s341.xrea.com/drupal6/node/18666

http://www.nameworld.it/forums/usarrwqex/activity/4135

http://www.rmhstv.com/members/usabcdues/activity/

http://sittersource.org/members/usalol/activity/1964

http://positipharma.fr/wp-content/plugins/bbpress/topic.php?id=1812&replies=1#post-2863

http://thegreatindianblog.com/bbpress/topic.php?id=198381&replies=1#post-213339

http://speakfreely.ru/node/26630

http://kandikoatednight.com/beta/members/usasdxbmf/activity/105208

http://birth.net/members/usahpeukv/activity/11282

http://moots.com/bbpress/topic.php?id=35566

http://www.hotellabourdonnaisparis.com/en/members/usabcivcd/activity/135517

Anonymous said...

michael kors wallet immediately leave are far away and never return a michael kors sale.
always in the past ghd lisseur.
but at times ugg boots could not help people do not believe itThere was silence for a moment cheap ugg boots.
michael kors handbags outlet give michael kors handbags outlet a call: hello master Michael Kors.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.