Wednesday 30th December 1953
The Wild One, an American film directed by László Benedek and produced by Stanley Kramer, was released in the US. It is most noted for the character of Johnny Strabler (Marlon Brando), whose persona became a cultural icon of the 1950s. The Wild One is considered to be the original outlaw biker film, and the first to examine American outlaw motorcycle gang violence.
The film’s screenplay was based on Frank Rooney’s short story “The Cyclists’ Raid”, published in the January 1951 Harper’s Magazine and anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 1952. Rooney’s story was inspired by sensationalistic media coverage of an American Motorcyclist Association motorcycle rally that got out of hand on the Fourth of July weekend in 1947 in Hollister, California. The overcrowding, drinking and street stunting were given national attention in the July 21, 1947, issue of Life, with a staged photograph of a wild drunken man on a motorcycle. The events, conflated with the newspaper and magazine reports, Rooney’s short story, and the film The Wild One are part of the legend of the Hollister riot.