Category Archive 'John Wayne'

06 Oct 2019

Nothing Sacred

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Oregon Live reports that John Wayne has become the Left’s latest target, and at his alma mater no less!

John Wayne has been a hero at the University of Southern California for decades. But some students at the private Los Angeles school, the late movie star’s alma mater, now view him as a villain.

A group of USC students are demanding the removal of a long-time Wayne memorabilia exhibit at the university’s acclaimed film school. The reason the activists give, reports the student newspaper: the actor’s “legacy of endorsing white supremacy and the removal of indigenous people.”

This harsh interpretation of the iconic star chiefly comes from a 1971 interview Wayne gave to Playboy magazine. Quotes from the article, some of them chopped of their context, made the rounds on social media earlier this year, prompting articles in the Washington Post and other news outlets.

“Since the reemergence of [the Playboy interview] I have felt viscerally uncomfortable [with the exhibit] because of the promotion and glorification of a noted white supremacist and racist,” film student Reanna Cruz told the Daily Trojan.

Wayne, 63 years old in 1971 and a dedicated anti-communist who backed the Vietnam War, expressed views that were relatively common at the time, when the U.S. was in the midst of unprecedented cultural upheaval. …

Wayne attended USC in the late 1920s — he was then still known by his birth name, Marion Morrison — and played football for legendary coach Howard Jones, who helped him get work at Twentieth Century Fox as a set builder and extra.

The Daily Trojan found that student views on Wayne are mixed these days, with some calling for his name’s scrubbing from the campus and others saying he still should be a beloved star. “I think there are many positive elements of John Wayne,” one student said.

USC’s administration appears to be coming down on the side of the student protesters. Film school assistant dean Evan Hughes said Wednesday at a campus discussion that the school would decide by the end of the year whether to take down the Wayne exhibit.

“This has been an issue that [USC’s Council for Diversity and Inclusion] has debated over a long period of time,” Hughes said. “At the end of last semester, we were trying to figure out different options for paths to move forward with this particular exhibit because not only students, but faculty that have walked by the exhibit, said that we don’t think this accurately represents film history as it should probably be represented


30 Apr 2016

CA Assembly Refuses to Honor John Wayne

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Whiny-minority democrats in the California State Assembly rejected a holiday honoring John Wayne, because the actor (who died in 1979) had been conservative and had made a couple of un-pc comments (one of them probably a joke) decades and decades ago.

Fox 5:

What a California lawmaker intended as a benign resolution honoring a late, world-renowned movie icon exploded into an emotional debate over decades-old racist comments.

The state Assembly defeated the official ode to John Wayne Thursday after several legislators described statements he made about racial minorities and his support for the anti-communist House Un-American Activities Committee and John Birch Society.

Republican State Assemblyman Matthew Harper of Huntington Beach sought to declare May 26, 2016, as John Wayne Day to mark the day the actor was born.

“He had disturbing views towards race,” objected Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, leading off a 20-minute debate.

Alejo cited a 1971 interview with Playboy in which Wayne talked disparagingly about blacks.

“I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people,” he told the magazine.

Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Carson, who is black, said he found Wayne’s comments personally offensive.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, cited his comments defending white Europeans’ encroachment on American Indians who Wayne once said “were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.”

All of which proves that, back then, John Wayne was perfect right about their kind. You read this kind of thing and think: The sooner North Korea perfects delivery systems able to reach California the better. Cut the continent off at the Sierras and float those communists out to sea.

14 Sep 2015

John Wayne on Utopian Statism

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The Duke puts Claudette Colbert in her place in Without Reservations (1946).

24 Apr 2014

“The Scene Had a Problem, and the Problem Was the Gun.”

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Enter the Ringo Kid.

Scott Eyman, in his new biography, John Wayne, The Life the Legend, describes the historic source of the iconic gesture in the opening scene of John Ford‘s “Stagecoach” (1939), which ignited Wayne’s career and made him a major star.

The scene had a problem, and the problem was the gun.

Dudley Nichol’s script was specific. “There is the sharp report of a rifle and Curly jerks up his gun as Buck saws wildly at the ribbons.

“The stagecoach comes to a lurching stop before a young man who stands in the road beside his unsaddled horse. He has a saddle over one arm and a rifle carelessly swung in the other hand… It is Ringo…

    “RINGO? You might need me and this Winchester, I saw a couple ranches burnin’ last night.’

    “CURLY? I guess you don’t understand, kid. You’re under arrest.

    “RINGO?(with charm) I ain’t arguing about that, Curly. I just hate to part with a gun like this.

    “Holding it by the lever, he gives it a jerk and it cocks with a click…”

John Ford loved the dialogue, which was in and of itself unusual, but the introduction of the Ringo Kid needed to be emphasized. Ford decided that the shot would begin with the actor doing something with the gun, then the camera would rapidly track in from a full-length shot to an extreme close-up — an unusually emphatic camera movement for Ford, who had grown to prefer a stable camera.

Since the actor was already coping with two large props, Ford decided to lose the horse. He told his young star what he was planning to do: “work out something with the rifle,” Ford sais. “Or maybe just a pistol.” He wasn’t sure.

And just like that the problem was dropped in the lap of his star, a young — but not all that young — actor named John Wayne., better known to Ford and everyone else as Duke.

Wayne ran through the possibilities. every actor in in westerns could twirl a pistol, so that was out. Besides, the script specified a rifle cocked quickly with one hand, but later in the scene than what Ford was planning. In addition, Ford wanted him to do something flashy, but it couldn’t happen too quickly for the audience to take it in. All the possibilities seemed to cancel each other out.

And then Yakima Canutt, Wayne’s friend and the stunt coordinator on the film offered an idea. When Canutt was a boy he had seen Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. As the overland stage raced around the arena, a messenger trailing behind the stagecoach had carried a rifle with a large ring loop which allowed him to spin the rifle in the air, cocking it with one hand. The crowd went wild. Canutt said that it had been done thirty years ago and he still remembered the moment. More to the point, he had never seen anybody else do it.

Wayne sparked to the idea, as did Ford, so they had to make it work. Ford instructed the prop department to manufacture a ring loop and install it on a standard issue 1892 Winchester carbine. After the rifle was modified, Wayne began experimenting with the twirl move as Canutt remembered it, but there was a problem — the barrel of the rifle was too long — it wouldn’t pass cleanly beneath Wayne’s arm.

The Winchester went back to the prop department, where they sawed an inch or so off the end, then soldered the sight back on the shortened barrel.

With that minor adjustment, the move was suddenly effortless. Wayne began rehearsing the twirling movement that would mark his appearance in the movie he had been waiting more than ten years to make — a film for John Ford, his friend, his mentor, his idol, the man he called “Coach” or, alternately — and more tellingly — “Pappy.”

With any luck at all, he’d never have to go back to B westerns as long as he lived.



Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World.

05 Oct 2011

John Wayne’s Favorite Actors & Films

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Heritage Auctions is selling some of the famous actor’s personal effects and papers in Los Angeles in a sale ending October 6-7th.

I have glanced through some of the catalogue, and there is some fascinating stuff: costumes, hats, and even scripts from famous movies, including his eye patch from True Grit, a tweed overcoat from The Quiet Man, a Marine Corps uniform from Sands of Iwo Jima . There are letters from Jimmy Stewart, Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan, and John F. Kennedy, and some very amusing letters from director John Ford, full of bawdy humor. They are even selling Wayne’s driver’s license and American Express card.

Lot 44129 is kind of interesting. It seems that, in 1977, just two years before his death, The People’s Almanac sent Wayne (along with other winners of the Academy Award) a poll questionnaire asking “who were and are the 5 best motion picture actors of all time…(and)…the 5 …best motion pictures of all time.”

John Wayne wrote down, as his list of actors: “1) Spencer Tracy 2) Elizabeth Taylor 3) Kathrine [sic] Hepburn 4) Laurence Olivier 5) Lionel Barrymore,” as his list of movies: “1) A Man for All Seasons 2) Gone with the Wind 3) The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse 4) The Searchers 5) The Quiet Man.”

The lot includes the actual handwritten lists, signed by John Wayne, and is currently bid at $800.

I thought it was odd that John Wayne shared the fashionable critics’ high regard for The Searchers, among his own films. I would argue strenuously myself that She Wore a Yellow Ribbon featured his most impressive all-time job of acting.

30 May 2007

Sailing With the Duke

photo:Al Satterwhite

In commemoration of John Wayne’s 100th birthday (May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979) last weekend, Iain Johnstone published an affectionate reminiscence in the Spectator.

When Duke showed Marcia and me to our cabin we were somewhat surprised to find it had only a double bed — we were not romantically involved — but I suppose he thought that all real men slept with their PAs [Personal Assistant]. He certainly did.

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