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Natalie Wood, Rebel Without a Cause and one Yorker’s connection

Compact from Rebel Without a Cause
This is the compact in David Spangler's collection that matches the one in the 1955 Natalie Wood/James Dean movie Rebel Without a Cause.

Today’s letter is just plain fun. It comes from David F. Spangler of York Township and it’s pretty awesome.

David writes, “To all Natalie Wood fans in the York area, remember the scene from the movie “Rebel Without A Cause.” Judy, played by Natalie, having a conversation with Jim, played by James Dean. Judy is holding a compact in her hand.”

Compact from Rebel Without a Cause close upWell, he continues, “I have in my possession an identical one, as shown in this photo. The compact is from the early 1950s and is by Richard Hudnut cosmetics company. The outer dimensions are 2 3/4″ by 2 1/4″. The cover is enameled with white lilies and green leaves with a black background. The outer surface of the back is black enamel, with gold trim around the sides and spring catch. The interior contains a mirror 2 3/8″ by 1 3/4″ and two covered compartments, lip rouge and the other powder with applicator. The cover over the powder compartment has a recessed area 1 5/16″ by 1 5/8″. The edge of the cover is marked Elgin American. This may have held a thin cased watch by Elgin. The compact I have has a crack mirror but it’s still nice to have.”

He concludes, “Every time I watch Rebel on TV, I get the compact out to compare it with the one shown in the movie.”

David, how fun – thanks for sharing! And if you want to catch the movie yourself, I hope you’re up for a late night; it’s on TCM at 2 a.m. EST Saturday, Jan. 28! I might have to rent it…

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