Tag: John Wayne

John Wayne: The Forgotten History of “The Duke”


John Wayne is an American Hollywood icon every bit the equal of James Dean or Marilyn Monroe. He is also a man from another era, a man whose conservatism came as naturally as walking down the street. Affectionately known as “The Duke,” he spent three decades as a top box office draw with 179 film and television credits to his name

Before The Duke: Marion Robert Morrison

His story is as American as his values. Born Marion Robert Morrison in Iowa at a whopping 13 pounds, his family relocated to Southern California. His family first arrived in America from Ireland in 1799 and his grandfather was a Civil War veteran. His nickname was bestowed upon him in childhood (“Little Duke” at the time) by a milkman amused by the omnipresence of Wayne’s Airedale Terrier, Duke.

Great Character Actors: Ward Bond


There’s no real point to this post other than to briefly discuss and celebrate the career of one of the great character actors of all time — Ward Bond (1903-1960). First, I have to admit I don’t know much more about Bond’s life than that presented in his Wikipedia biography.

Let’s see … I did know that he’d played football at the University of Southern California along with John Wayne and that he and Wayne began their acting careers when they and other USC footballers were hired by director John Ford to appear in “Salute,” a 1929 movie about football. I also knew about the drinking and the conservative politics (among other things he was an early and proud member of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals). I didn’t know about the B.S. degree in engineering nor did I know that he suffered from epilepsy.

Bond and Wayne, who would remain lifelong friends, had somewhat similar career paths although with widely divergent trajectories. Wayne, after a decade or so, would rise to the peaks of stardom, while Bond, after a decade or so, would establish himself as a solid, highly sought-after character actor. Bond appeared in over 200 movies in his career, including some of the best ever made. It’s likely most moviegoers of the time would not have recognized his name although they would have recognized him as soon as he appeared on screen. In any event, Bond made every movie he was in just a little bit better than it otherwise would’ve been.

ACF #35: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance


The Great Western series continues. Prof. Marini and I move from the sacred law of the family–The Searchers–to the law of the city: Liberty Valance. We talk about love and law, nature and progress, the desert and the railroad, and the rest of the symbols and structures that stand out in John Ford’s best movie. Listen to our conversation, friends, and please share the podcast. If you prefer iTunes, go here, and please leave us a review/rating. You can also find us on stitcher and on pocketcasts.

ACF#34: The Searchers


Today, I am joined by Prof. John Marini for the first in a series of podcasts on Great Westerns. We start with The Searchers, John Ford’s thematic treatment of the sacred law of the family. American freedom out West and the nature-civilization conflict are treated in parallel in a story that blends comedy and tragedy with an eye to Homer. This is John Wayne’s greatest role and it is an education about human things wrapped into one. Listen and share, friends!

A Southern (Comfort) Christmas and Other Quirky Stories


So, my husband was given a gift basket and a very nice cash bonus by his boss this week. When he brought home the basket, I said “Boy! This is a real Southern Christmas basket!” His boss and my husband left one company and went out on their own almost three years ago and it has been a great success, well over a million dollars already and no corporate stress.

His boss is a no-nonsense, conservative young Southerner who loves his family and the benefits of working hard. In the basket were some hand-painted salt dough ornaments from his small children, local honey, handmade soap, various homemade sugary treats, a bottle of top-shelf Kentucky bourbon and a mason jar with some hooch – white lightning! Christmas in the South!

I recalled when we took up residence in my husband’s grandmother’s small, tin-roof cottage one year, located on a mountainside in northwest Georgia. We had just left Boston and I couldn’t get used to the hustle that Atlanta had become. I missed the quiet of a New England town. The little cottage, with a red smokehouse, needed some TLC – the water pump didn’t work, there was a rumor of snakes that had gotten into the damn oven, (I think my father-in-law made that up to get a rise out of me) and I was up for the challenge.

The Truth, I Speak It


The work is complete. It was a pain, but I persevered in surfing across the entirety of the web. After trekking through every virtual centimeter of the internet, through the hysteric shrieking of political message boards, the choking smog of social media narcissism, and enough Sonic the Hedgehog pornography to fill the craters of Ganymede, I can now say conclusively what I, and you, already suspected: every single person other than me is an idiot. Fortune smiles upon you, though, for I shall now impart shreds of my wisdom (otherwise they’ll metastasize and burst through my skull, releasing my precious cranial fluids and I’m not letting that happen again).

Today, our subject is politicians. Most people instinctively know these elected creatures are not to be trusted, but despite scientists devising the cockamamiest of theories, no one has figured out why. Well, your figuring is done. Behold the proof.

Save or Kill – Ricochet Edition


save or killThis past weekend, I did a pop-culture post based on a game Collider uses on its website called “Save or Kill.” The premise is that you are presented with two icons, both threatened with being wiped from existence forever, and must choose which of the two to save; you cannot save both. The game works best when you really love both icons, so it becomes a real Sophie’s Choice.

That first post didn’t get as many responses as I’d hoped — though my thanks to those who did participate, and there’s still time to jump in! — so I’m tailoring the game in this post with options better-suited to the interests of the Ricochetti.

So, read the list of the choices below and — in the comments — post which of the two icons you’d save for each of the ten choices. There’s no obligation to explain your reasoning, but I think it’ll be more fun with it. The criteria you use for judging is entirely up to you: you can do this based exclusively on personal preference, or on which option you feel is more important to society. Also, if you’re not familiar with both options in a scenario, feel free to abstain from that particular scenario.