Dean barely spoke to Natalie that morning, but trailed her out the door during the lunch break, inviting her on his motorcycle. “I was thrilled. We went speeding off to some greasy spoon.” When Dean turned on a portable radio, Natalie expected to hear bongo drums. Instead, “he played beautiful classical music.” Dean chatted with Natalie about the script at lunch, relaxing her. Suddenly, he put down his sandwich. “I know you,” he said challengingly. “You’re a child actor.” Natalie, who sensed he was testing her, responded, “That’s true. But it’s better than acting like a child.” Dean “didn’t get it for a moment,” she later recalled. “Then he started to laugh. Then I started to laugh, and that’s how our wonderful friendship began.”
-Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood by Suzanne Finstad
Before Rebel Without a Cause Natalie Wood and James Dean first appeared together in the tv episode “I’m a Fool”.
Natalie saw Dean for the first time when he rode up (late) on his motorbike and climbed into the rehearsal studio through an open window instead of entering by the door. He wore horn-rimmed glasses and a pair of scruffy old jeans held up by a safety pin, and Natalie’s first impression was of someone “totally weird”, but after they began working together, she found him totally fascinating.