Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Duke

Rough, tough/Didn't take no stuff. A hard man [is good to find? No thanks, Sophie Tucker. No nasty business here.] he was in so many of his multitude of movies. Stern without, gentle within: So seemed John Wayne and I don't know so much about him as to differ with that assessment. Of course I was knocked out by his young glory - that face of his as "Ringo," filling the screen when he first appears in Stagecoach, 1939. Then again in The Shootist, 1976, three years before his death. No John Wayne fan ever was I, but oh baybee. I was touched by his bone-weariness, set against my memory of all those earlier notions, those earlier pictures of him in my mind, when he was a young man. I'm thinking that as I get older, not having been a film star, I'll take to wearing a picture of my younger self in my lapel so folks will know that was not always as I appear.
So, I bring up the Duke, as he was known, because it's his birthday. May 26, 1907/Winterset, Iowa. AND get a load of this swell quotation attributed to him: "Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid." Man oh man oh man - carve those words in stone. Write them in fire across the sky. John Wayne shares a birthday with Al Jolson, (1886) a whole 'nother story that guy was and so much for astrology, I say.

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