Because They're Young

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Because They're Young
Because They're Young.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Wendkos
Produced byJerry Bresler
Written byJames Gunn
Based onHarrison High
by John Farris
StarringDick Clark
Music byJohn Williams
CinematographyWilfred M. Cline
Edited byChester W. Schaeffer
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • April 1960 (1960-04)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States

Because They're Young is a 1960 film from Columbia Pictures, starring Dick Clark as Neil Hendry, an American high school teacher who tries to make a difference in the lives of his students. The film co-starred Tuesday Weld, Michael Callan, Warren Berlinger, Roberta Shore, Doug McClure, and Victoria Shaw. It was directed by Paul Wendkos. The screenplay was based on Harrison High, a novel by John Farris.

Musicians Duane Eddy and James Darren had cameo roles in the movie, whose title song became the biggest hit record of Eddy's career. Though not appearing himself, Bobby Rydell's "Swingin' School" was featured prominently in the movie's soundtrack.


A crusading high school teacher tries to help his troubled students.



The novel Harrison High was published in 1959 when John Farris, the author, was 22.[1] He wrote it when 20 while a student at the University of Missouri; it was based on his high school experiences in Memphis, Tennessee. ("Harrison High" though was fictional.)[2] The New York Times book reviewer said it was like "an interminable adolescent bull session."[3]

Film rights were bought by the Drexel Film Corporation, who arranged to make the film through Columbia. Dick Clark signed to play the lead.[4] Jerry Bresler who had a multi-picture deal with Columbia, was assigned to produce and he hired James Gunn to write a script.[5]

"The script is fairly true to life," said Clark. "Most teenagers are normal."[6]

The campus and classroom scenes were shot at Hoover High School in Glendale, California; most of that school's buildings were later torn down and replaced with a more contemporary look in the mid-1960s to comply with California's building codes for schools.


  1. ^ Sullivan, R. (1959, Mar 15). Grubby paths thru sensation. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  2. ^ By, L. N. (1959, Apr 19). IN AND OUT OF BOOKS. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  3. ^ Levin, M. (1959, Apr 26). Dating and mating. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  4. ^ Dick clark to make film debut; cannes festival entries listed. (1959, Apr 29). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  5. ^ Scheuer, P. K. (1959, May 28). Yvette ideal girl of distant future. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  6. ^ Thomas, B. (1959, Oct 18). Potentate of the clark cult. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from

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