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Photoplay (April 1958)

"Why I Quit School"

“No, I’m not going back to school.” James MacArthur’s words fell upon shocked silence. “Now, don’t get me wrong,” he said quickly. “I’m not quitting for good. I will go back to Harvard. I will finish school. But not this year ...” Why stop now, if that was the case? Didn’t he like school? “Oh, sure I like it. But -- well, it’s kind of hard to explain.” Had the acting bug bitten so hard that he was thinking of concentrating on a fulltime career? “Well, I like acting fine. Yeah, I’d like to go on making pictures.” He grinned, “That is, if they want me.” It was clear that, though he’s just finished The Light in the Forest for Walt Disney and critics see a brilliant career bursting before him, modest young Mr. MacArthur can’t see it, himself. “But that doesn’t have anything to do with it,” he said earnestly, groping to find words for his feelings. “It’s like this. I just came to a point where I realized that there I was, studying away, but I wasn’t going anywhere. I wasn’t studying in any direction. I was majoring in history. An interesting subject. But I thought, ‘What’s all this going to mean to me in the future?’ And I didn’t know.” He frowned, and explained, “That’s why I’m taking a year off. To do some thinking. To find out what I really want to get out of school. I’m going to look around -- work, travel a lot.” He chuckled, “Right now, I want to go to Mexico -- if I can talk my uncle into taking me along.” Another big travel opportunity is coming up, too -- a trip to Switzerland, for another Disney film, Banner in the Sky, in June. The whole point, Jim thinks, is that it’s wrong for a teenager to waste his time and his parents’ money, just for the sake of “going to college.” At the end of a year, he feels he’ll be a lot wiser, and able to make that education worthwhile. We’d say he’s pretty wise already.

James MacArthur

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