My Second Adoptee: James MacArthur

The Young Stranger had a terrific impact on me. I knew by my voracious reading of movie magazines that James MacArthur was adopted. When I saw the film, I was at the age where I was angry about a lot of stuff, including adoption, though I had yet to intellectualize much of it. I’d made a speciality of systematically rummaging through the house while my parents were away, looking for anything about my adoption. (It never seriously occurred to me to ask, since I was sure tears would ensue. They had a year earlier when I’d shouted “You can’t tell me what to do . You’re not my real mother.”) The Young Stranger had nothing to do with adoption, but it was about identify formation, hypocrisy, and crappy middle class status styles. And Hal Ditmar was portrayed by an adoptee. Was James MacArthur playing out adoption? I felt like he was playing out mine. Continue Reading →