May 22, 2007

John Wayne; 100th Birthday.

When the Morrison family left the small Iowa town of Winterset in 1911 and moved to California with their 4 year old son Marion the stage was set for their son to to become more than just an actor. He would one day be an American icon.

Now at the 100th anniversary of his birth for many Wayne still exemplifies the rugged individualist persona of America. Writer Joan Didion writes in ‘‘John Wayne: A Love Song,’’ ‘‘when John Wayne rode through my childhood, and perhaps through yours, he determined forever the shape of certain of our dreams.’’
Through his movies and his personal life he taught generations that you did not start a fight but you also never ran away from one or that you stood up and protected the weak. From the "Flying Tigers" to the "Sands of Iwo Jima" duty and honor matter. That "Truth is the measure of a man." (Hondo) and in "Big Jake" he showed that you don't negotiate with the bad guys. At a time when patriotism was in disdain Wayne, a staunch anti-communist, stood behind the cause in Vietnam and made the movie the "Green Berets". Long time friend and costarMaureen O'hara said of him "It is every person's dream that the United States will be like John Wayne and always like him."

"If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?" he said and I am certain that many of the things in life that I see as black and white were influenced by that tough straight shooter known and admired the world over as the Duke.

Iowa Destinations : Winterset. On the occasion of his 100th Birhday the town of Winterset is hosting a 3 day celebration and is set to begin construction of the "John Wayne Museum." Link Here.

On Cable: TCM is showing several days of the Duke's movies. Some Personal Favorites: "The Quiet Man" with Maureen O'hara, "Big Jake" again with O'hara and his sons Patrick and Ethan.

Wayne Quote: "We must always look to the future. Tomorrow--the time that gives a man just one more chance--is one of the many things that I feel are wonderful in life. So's a good horse under you. Or the only campfire for miles around. Or a quiet night and a nice soft hunk of ground to sleep on. A mother meeting her first-born. The sound of a kid calling you dad for the first time. There's a lot of things great about life. But I think tomorrow is the most important thing. Comes in to us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday."
John Wayne

O'hara, Maureen. Statement before the U.S Congress in support of John Wayne to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. Link Here.

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