William Jan Berry and Dean Ormsby Torrence Struggle Against Odds
Harry Smith narrates this account of the lives and careers of popular 1960's recording artist duo Jan & Dean, who form a songwriting and performing career during their college years, with Jan's majoring in Music and Science at UCLA, before entering Medical School, and Dean's majoring in Advertising Design in the USC School of Architecture.
Together, the duo forms and records as "The Barons" with their early attempts at releasing songs about the southern California beach scene, before settling upon their duo name, and releasing a number of hit records between the late 1950's and mid-1960's, while Jan and Dean both hone their surfing skills, while working closely with Brian Wilson and his group, The Beach Boys in various collaborations.
But in 1965, while the pair prepares to star in a feature film, Jan Berry and several crew members receive injuries when equipment rolls from a railroad car, to injure Jan's leg, for which he needs a cast for an extensive period of time.
Then, in 1966, Jan Berry nearly loses his life in a vehicular accident near Dead Man's Curve in Los Angeles, California, of which the duo had sung two years prior. Jan would remain in a coma with partial paralysis, which would keep him from the studio for nearly a year.
Dean, in the meantime, opens his Graphic Arts studio, to design album covers for various recording artists, as well as remaining acting in the music recording industry.
This continues with Jan & Dean's ongoing struggle to survive, with Jan's long road to recovery, including Jan's appearing in reunion appearances and recording an album which requires ten years to produce, as he must record on a one-verse-per-session arrangement, as both face the stigma of images "frozen in time" amid an ever-changing Music industry and fan-base.
Interview Guests for this episode consist of Jan Berry, Dean Torrence, (Mother) Clara Berry, (Friend) Jill Gibson, Speech-Language Pathologist Vivian Sheehan, Radio and Television Presenter Richard Wagstaff "Dick" Clark, Beach Boy Brian Wilson, Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, Record Producer-Manager Lou Adler, Drummer Hal Blaine, Guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, Songwriter Donald J. Altfeld, Disc Jockey Jim Pewter, and Recording Engineer Dayton Burr "Bones" Howe.
Jan & Dean song performance features include "Surf City," "There in the Night," "Jennie Lee," "Dead Man's Curve," "The Little Old Lady (from Pasadena)," "Spring Break" and "Mother Earth."
Film and Television Clips include a glimpse of Jan & Dean through the years, in scenes from "TV Surf Scene," "The Sinatra Story," "Deadman's Curve" (1978), plus scenes from non-aired television pilots, "Surf Scene" (1963) and "On the Run" (1966), an unfinished film, "Easy Come, Easy Go," and concert footage of Jan & Dean performances.
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