Did this movie predict Trump's rise?

Story highlights

  • Lewis Beale: Donald Trump's campaign uncannily recalls rise of fictional character Lonesome Rhodes in 1957 film "A Face in the Crowd"
  • He says insulting voters was Rhodes' undoing; it's frightening that Trump's popularity continues when he does the same

Lewis Beale writes about culture and film for the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and other publications. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)Donald Trump certainly isn't the first media personality to have political ambitions -- lest we forget, Ronald Reagan was initially a film star. But thanks to his bombast and apparent megalomania, Trump is certainly the first such personality to eerily echo Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes, the character played by Andy Griffith in the 1957 film "A Face in the Crowd." Watch it and you'll be amazed.

Lewis Beale
Director Elia Kazan's picture is one of the first to trace the relationship between TV stardom and politics.
It features Griffith, best known for his TV role as Mayberry sheriff Andy Taylor, as a drunken drifter plucked out of an Arkansas jail to sing on a local radio program. Folksy and charismatic, playing his straight-talking, good-old-boy shtick to the hilt, Rhodes soon lands his own Memphis TV show and then works his way up the ladder to a nationally syndicated program based in New York.