There's just something special about John Wayne

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  • Like many of us – for good or ill – a lot of what I know comes from watching television.

    Occasionally I learn something nice. On a recent episode of "Antiques Roadshow" there was this fellow who told of how his father was a crew member for many John Wayne movies. He said that on every movie, Wayne would give each member of the cast and crew a coffee mug on which was painted the name of the film, a scene from the film and an individual greeting, such as, "To Joe, from Duke."

    And then, there are those days when I kind of feel at loose ends. So, I turn on the TV, always first to channel 50.2 in hopes the movie station is showing a John Wayne film. Channel 50.2 airs a lot of Wayne movies. And when I light on one of those films I can feel my spirits go up and my blood pressure go down.

    All this for an actor who died on June 11, 1979.

    Though John Wayne has been dead for 38 years, he always is near the top of any poll of favorite actors. I'm not smart enough, or educated enough, to explain John Wayne's enduring popularity.

    I know he was a fine actor. I know he made some great films. I know he made some mediocre movies in which he was the only thing worth watching. And I know his political views cast him in the role of satan to many young people in 1960s. There was just something else about him that I leave to scholars, something about archetypes and symbolism and the American frontier myth and reality.

    Why am I writing about John Wayne?

    Perhaps it's the proximity of Father's Day. I'd be willing to bet that most fathers – yours, too – enjoy John Wayne movies. Maybe you could watch one together.

    John Wayne made more than 200 films, so there are a lot to choose from. As a card-carrying John Wayne admirer, I can recommend some of my favorite Wayne films:

    "The Searchers."

    "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."

    "Fort Apache."


    "True Grit," for which Wayne received a well-deserved Oscar.

    Gotta go.

    Just found out "True Grit" is starting on channel 50.2.

    Paul Sassone - Pioneer Press

    Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune
    Kevin - Moderator/Administrator
    Official JWMB online store

    2,821 times read

Replies 12

  • Hi Mark,
    I was wrong as to Emerald’s length. It is indeed only 7-8min (depending on your source) but all my other info is the same.
    He is seen throughout this shortie, it was fun to watch something new for the first time in a very long time.Its actually on the TCM app now, and you may watch it as many times as you wish.ards


    Rob Wentworth
  • Hello gettingold80.

    I'm sad to say that we lost Ethan last year to illness and he has been greatly missed.

    As to your Duke sighting in an old film, I wonder if you could elaborate on what you saw. I looked up the film you saw, and it is listed as a 1934 Traveltalks 8 minute film on IMDB. Is that the one you speak of? I looked it up on youtube as well, and they have a short titled "Ireland, the Melody Isle" that was also a 1934 Traveltalks film of 9 minutes. Was the one you saw in color? The one on youtube is black and white. I watched it and saw no sign of Duke in it. It would be really cool if you really did spot Duke. Never get enough!

  • Good Morning Ethan,
    Not sure why this sighting has not been listed in JW’s FILMOGRAPHY et al, but here goes.

    I was watching TCM this morning, and to my delight, found a new movie I had NOT seen before with Duke in it with a some larger than “Bit Part”.
    It may be under a different name, but since I have all available JW films, I thought I would advise you for advice and notification .

    The information on the film is as follows:

    “IRELAND, the Emerand Isle” 1934.
    Could you look into this for me, and advise if it might be under a duplicate name , unknown to many of us?
    I hope the excitement is not for naught!
    Probably so....
    Best, “Town Council”
  • Just re-watched The Sons of Katie Elder. Some quick thoughts: (1) First half of movie is a nice little the movie hands out little tidbits of information. (2) Wayne looks surprisingly fit...especially since filming was delayed for 4 months while he recovered from cancer treatments. (3) Movie is not nearly as impressive as Martin and Wayne's Rio Bravo....but it is still very enjoyable. (4) I bet Dean Martin thought he was doing a death scene when he falls down at the end....only saved by a throwaway line with Martin off camera at the Martha Hyer's character says..."Tom told the doctor it will take more than one bullet to kill him."

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