I chose three quotes from one of my favourite actors for the front of my next novel Natural Selection. That actor is John Wayne. He’s been a hero of mine since I was a kid. While he was several generations before my time, he was a mainstay on our black and white television set.
My dad also enjoyed his films. They were more of the same generation except Dad was born in 1922, and John Wayne, given name Marion Robert Morrison, was born in 1907. He was 60 when I was born, and he died when I was 18.
Wayne’s tough, shoot from the hip style was addictive. He was an honourable man who spoke his mind. Whether I agreed with him or not, it was something I admired. That honour is lost on most actors and television personalities today. The only one left from that era is Clint Eastwood.
John Wayne movies are still shown in this house, and my kids have seen many of his films. My youngest child’s favourite movie is Rio Bravo. He’s seen it at least 20 times. Another of his favourite actors stars in it: Dean Martin. There ain’t many 18 year olds who even know who these people are. Ricky Nelson and Walter Brennan also star in the film.
This short clip from the film on YouTube shows these four men in the jailhouse. Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson are singing Just My Rifle, My Pony and Me and Get Along Home, Cindy. The talent these men possess can’t be beat.
The three quotes I chose connect with the theme of the book. They speak about learning from history, courage and honourable men.
Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday.
Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyways.
I define manhood simply:
men should be tough, fair and courageous,
never petty, never looking for a fight
but never backing down from one either.
My father and John are long gone but when I watch a film like Rio Bravo, El Dorado, Rooster Cogburn or McLintock, I remember my dad. These two men shared a similar build, both were 6 foot, 2 inches tall, slim, had the same hair cut and a larger nose as they grew older. They were men of few words and when they spoke, I listened.