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Following the Final Route of James Dean

September 22, 1997

Near sunset on Sept. 30, 1955, actor James Dean was killed when the two-seat Porsche Spyder he was driving slammed into a Ford sedan on Route 41 near Paso Robles. The death launched a Hollywood legend. To commemorate that fateful day--as well as publicize a new movie based on Dean's life--a 50-car caravan will depart Bob's Big Boy restaurant in Burbank this Saturday morning. George Barris, a famous Hollywood car customizer and a friend of Dean's, will lead the procession as it makes its way north along the same route the actor took in the final hours of his life. "We'll stop in Bakersfield, where he got a ticket; stop in Blackwells Corner, where he got a Coke and an apple, and then drive right on up to where he was actually hit," Barris said. "We'll try to get up there at approximately 5:20 p.m., when the sun comes down. The road, of course, has been changed, but we'll try and simulate the same ride and feeling." Barris, who once owned the car that Dean died in, said he will go to Dean's hometown of Fairmount, Ind., for the Sept. 30 premiere of "James Dean: Race With Destiny" featuring Casper Van Dien as Dean and the late Robert Mitchum as director George Stevens. A source close to the production said Mitchum, who died July 1, appeared ill at times during the shoot a year ago but was a pro. "He got up and went to his marks and didn't make one mistake," the source said.

'Candle' Looks Like It Will Top All Records Few pop singles in history have been more eagerly anticipated than Elton John's reworked "Candle in the Wind," the tribute to Princess Diana he sang at her funeral. A&M Records, which is releasing "Candle" Tuesday in the United States as a charity single, has taken orders for more than 7 million copies from U.S. retailers, an astounding figure considering that the year's biggest-selling single so far, Puff Daddy's "I'll Be Missing You," has sold about 2.8 million copies, according to SoundScan. Does the new John release, dubbed "Candle in the Wind 1997," stand poised to become the industry's all-time No. 1 single? It depends on how you determine what's No. 1. The Guinness Book of Records lists Bing Crosby's 1942 recording of "White Christmas" as the biggest-selling record ever, with sales of more than 170 million copies as of 1987. Top rock record: Bill Haley & the Comets' 1954 hit, "Rock Around the Clock" (25 million). But there was no independent way of measuring sales until SoundScan's electronic monitoring system began in 1991. Retailers think "Candle," with reworked lyrics by Bernie Taupin, may emerge as the king of post-SoundScan era, though. They say they've never seen anything like the demand for the new version of the 1973 song. Meanwhile, the version sung by John at the funeral will be available Sept. 30 on a BBC recording of the Westminster Abbey service.

Getty to Begin Taking Parking Reservations Next Sunday is a long-awaited day for those who are dying to visit the new Getty Center in Brentwood. The $1-billion arts complex won't open until Dec. 16, but the first advance parking reservations for the general public will be taken Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m., by calling (310) 440-7300. (Reservation hours will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week.) At that point, callers will be informed of a little-known fact: While admission to the Getty Center is free, there will be a parking fee of $5 per car. Say what? The unfathomably rich J. Paul Getty Trust--which has an endowment of $4.2 billion--is charging the public to park? A statement released by the trust's public affairs office explains: "The Getty trustees, as part of their fiduciary responsibility, are charged with generating revenue opportunities at the Getty Center, including the operation of a restaurant, two cafes, a museum bookstore and a parking fee." Visitors arriving by taxi or public bus don't need a reservation and, of course, will not be subject to the parking fee.

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