James Darren was another teen idol, an actor of considerable talent as well as a singer with a great voice. He came to the attention of Screen Gems Pictures when he was studying acting with Stella Adler, and was first cast in the lead role in 1956’s Rumble On The Docks. He found his greatest fame, however, as Moondoggie in the Gidget film series. He sang the theme song for the movie, which fell just short of the Top 40, coming in at #41.
His highest-charting single was “Goodbye, Cruel World” in 1961, which reached #3 on the Hot 100. There was evidently a version of this song where the singer runs off to join the Army. (Years later, I came up with a version for a friend of mine where he runs off to join the priesthood. He was less than amused….)
James was cast in The Guns of Navarrone in 1961 in an effort to change his teen idol image. He’s appeared on The Donna Reed Show several times (the teen stars of which, Shelley Fabares and Paul Petersen, have been profiled in an earlier Two for Tuesday), The Flintstones as James Darrock, and got his first credit in a TV starring role in The Time Tunnel (1966-1967).
James Darren, your Two for Tuesday, May 1, 2018.