From 1964 onwards, Jan and Dean are shown wearing '70s-era feathered shag hairstyles. In reality, the duo donned brushed-back "dry" pompadours. See more »
I want to sing about what it feels like to drive 150 miles per hour.
We'll have a sound for summer. The surf, the girls, the cars, and at the center of it - at the center of it, the music of Jan and Dean.
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I vividly remember watching "Deadman's Curve" the night it aired on CBS in February 1978, and feeling both emotionally devastated and incredibly curious by the end of the film about the subject matter. I did not learn until much later (this was pre-Internet, remember) how much of an overnight impact this movie would have on people. DMC quietly changed two aspects of the music industry.
The movie itself, about the lives of Jan Berry and Dean Torrence between 1958 and 1973, is well-acted and deeply touching. Even now, after numerous viewings, I get a lump in my throat at the end of the film. I've learned over the years of the movie's flaws. It is not entirely accurate regarding the history of Jan & Dean, and the film is choppily edited in places. The movie was originally conceived as a mini-series (although I don't know how much was actually filmed), and the actual script is much longer. There are references in DMC to subjects that are not elaborated on, and someone unfamiliar with the story will wonder what the characters are talking about. The actual script goes into details about these subjects. And the film ends in 1973, with no explanation of what happened to the characters after that.
But the importance of DMC goes beyond just being one of the better TV movies of the 70s. This was the first of many such films made for TV in the past two decades that are biographies of rock and pop stars. There hadn't been any made prior to that, and "Deadman's Curve"'s unexpected popularity probably was the impetus for this new genre of telemovies.
More importantly, the movie reawakened an interest in Jan & Dean themselves, literally overnight, as radio stations that hadn't played their music for years got calls all night from viewers wanting to hear their tunes again. This little movie created such a "buzz" that the Beach Boys invited Jan & Dean to join them on tour, despite the fact that Jan was then, and still is, seriously disabled. I believe that Jan Berry was the first public person who was disabled to regularly make personal appearances (with the exception of FDR, and hardly anyone knew about his polio). Jan & Dean may have decided to tour again anyway, even if the movie had never been created, but the publicity about them would have been much less, and they might never have had the chance to make the dramatic comeback that they did, because of "Deadman's Curve."
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