James Dean warns teenagers to drive safely

In one of those stranger-than-fiction twists, Snopes has dug up this auto-safety PSA featuring James Dean — made shortly before the brilliant young actor died in a 1955 car crash. It’s a surreal bit, with Dean dressed in full cowboy regalia for Giant. In his signature half-awake delivery, Dean slouches and talks about how racing cured him of his speeding habit: “I used to fly around quite a bit, took a lot of unnecessary chances on the highways. I started racing, and now I drive on the highways extra-cautious, because no one knows what they’re doing half the time.” Of course, instead of being a poster boy for road safety, he became an icon of “live fast and die young” when his Porsche Spyder collided head-on with another car at speeds upward of 100 mph on Sept. 30, 1955.

—Posted by David Griner