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Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)


Written by Tim Dirks

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Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)

In director Robert Altman's low-budget drama (an ensemble reunion film), a 1975 gathering of a James Dean fan club ("The Disciples of James Dean") occurred at the local Woolworth's 5 & Dime in a small Texas town, on the 20th anniversary of the screen legend's death. The play was written in 1976 by Ed Graczyk and became the basis for the 1982 Broadway stage play:

  • the innovative use of two-way mirrors for the flashback sequences
  • the six major characters, who revealed hidden secrets and lost innocence over 20 years, including:
    - Juanita (Sudie Bond), the Gospel music-loving manager of the store after the death of her husband
    - Sissy (Cher), a wisecracking cow-girl and bad-girl often bragging about the size of her boobs, but remaining a five-and-dime waitress for 20 years; she had undergone a double mastectomy which caused her town bully-husband to leave her
    - Mona (Sandy Dennis), a disturbed and unstable female who falsely boasted that she was an extra in the Dean movie Giant (1956) filmed closeby in Marfa, TX, and asserted that Dean fathered her now 20 year-old, simple-minded son (named Jimmy Dean after the star): ("I was chosen above all them thousands of others")
    - Joanne (Karen Black), well-dressed and Porsche-driving, also a trans-sexual who had a sex-change operation about 13 years earlier, and her revelation of a second major secret - she was the actual 'father' (as Joe, Mona's HS effeminate boyfriend who was raped by the town bully) of Mona's son Jimmy
    - Stella Mae (Kathy Bates), the chubby, well-to-do wife of a rich petroleum executive
    - Edna Louise (Marta Heflin), a shy, timid and withdrawn mother with many children (and again pregnant)
  • the re-enactment of the trio of MacGuire Sisters (Mona, Sissy, and Joe/Joanne) performing a singing-dancing number

Joanne (Karen Black)

Mona (Sandy Dennis)

Sissy (Cher)

Stella Mae (Kathy Bates)


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