Monday, May 28, 2007

Duke

100 years ago this past Saturday my childhood hero was born in Nowheresville, Iowa. Marion Michael Morrison would later be known as John Wayne; actor and patriot. He epitomized what I believe to be a real man. In real life he was the same person as the characters that he portrayed in the movies. A movie critic once said that John Wayne never acted, that he just played John Wayne.

This past weekend there has been a barrage of his movies on several of the Cable Networks. I enjoyed watching five of my favorites; The Man who Shot Liberty Valance, The Sons of Katie Elder, The Sands of Iwo Jima, Rio Bravo and Donovan’s Reef. I cannot recall ever seeing a John Wayne movie that I didn’t enjoy.


An article in the Chicago Tribune stated "Particularly for people overseas, John Wayne is America and the values America stands for: independent, responsible for his actions, loyal—almost to a fault—and somebody who won't take a lot of guff, somebody who believes in what's right."

This is a very good assessment of my childhood hero. This is why I admired John Wayne; the person, not the actor.

When I was in the Army and taking Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood (41 years ago) a member of the Cadre on the Grenade Range told us to just pretend that we were John Wayne when we were tossing a grenade. I did and I scored well.

John Wayne was a die hard Republican. He even supported Richard Nixon (the President that I dislike the most). He would have made a much better President than “Tricky Dick”. But, at that time, it was unheard of for an actor to run for public office. Boy, have times changed.

God Bless you Duke and Happy Belated Birthday!

The Beach Bum

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