TAYLOR: Rory, you don’t have to explain a thing to me. I know that there is absolutely no way that you would be involved in something like that if it weren’t for that Sal Mineo wannabe, believe me. Chachi, and Chachi alone, will be held responsible for that incident, okay?
Salvatore “Sal” Mineo (1939-1976) [pictured], actor, singer, and director. He is best known for his role of John “Plato” Crawford, in the 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause, previously discussed. Like Jess, Plato was abandoned by his father and is neglected by his mother, and although treated as a juvenile delinquent, is a sad, lonely boy, desperate for love and affection, and the target of bullies. Plato has a tragic ending, perhaps a bit of wish fulfilment from Taylor.
The role of Plato was played as if the character was a gay teenager in love with James Dean’s character, Jim – the original script even had them sharing a kiss – and Plato is commonly identified as the first gay teen in cinema. Sal Mineo was himself openly bisexual, and unfortunately, like his character, Sal Mineo’s life had a violent ending, as he was murdered in an apparent random mugging.
One fan theory, possibly controversial, suggests that Jess too may be gay or bisexual, and that this is a hint of it – although there’s nothing to disprove that, it seems more likely that Taylor is simply clueless about gay subtext in films.
Chachi, character from television sitcoms Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi, previously discussed.