Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Today is John Wayne's Birthday

Today is John Wayne's birthday. He would have been 102-years old today. I have been a fan of The Duke since I can remember. Even at my advanced age of 55, I still look at him as an icon; a true American; a man to which every red-blooded American male should strive to be. I have pictures of him up in my classroom along with quotes from some of his movies. Everyone who knows me knows how I feel about John Wayne.

The Duke was a conservative Republican and was not shy of expressing his conservative views and ideals. Below are some of the views, ideals, and causes he supported:

1. He took part in creating the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals in 1943 and was elected president of that organization in 1947.

2. He was an ardent anti-communist, and vocal supporter of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

3. He was a supporter of then Vice President Richard Nixon's bid for the White House, he famously expressed his vision of patriotism when John F. Kennedy won the election: "I didn't vote for him but he's my president, and I hope he does a good job."

4. Wayne used his iconic status to support conservative causes, including rallying support for the Vietnam War by producing, co-directing, and starring in the critically panned
The Green Berets (1968).

5. Due to his enormous popularity, and his status as the most famous Republican star in Hollywood, wealthy Texas Republican Party backers asked Wayne to run for national office in 1968, as had his friend and fellow actor, Senator George Murphy. He declined, joking that he did not believe the public would seriously consider an actor in the White House.

6. He supported his friend Ronald Reagan's runs for Governor of California in 1966 and 1970.

7. Wayne was asked to be the running mate for Democratic Alabama Governor George Wallace in 1968. Wayne vehemently rejected the offer.

8. He actively campaigned for Richard Nixon and addressed the Republican National Convention on its opening day in August 1968.

9. He was a member of the conservative and anti-communist John Birch Society.

Today, John Wayne is on my mind. I never had the pleasure of meeting him in my lifetime, but I was fortunate to visit his birthplace in Winterset, Iowa (photo left). It is a quaint little home and museum; a must see for any fan of The Duke. Thirty years after his death, he is still an icon of the American cinema. There is even a website dedicated to him. You can view it by clicking here.


"Sure I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure I love my country with all her faults. I'm not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be. I was proud when President Nixon ordered the mining of Haiphong Harbor, which we should have done long ago, because I think we're helping a brave little country defend herself against Communist invasion. That's what I tried to show in The Green Berets and I took plenty of abuse from the critics." - John Wayne quote from Playboy Magazine, Volume 18, issue #5 entitled "John Wayne: The Playboy Interview" by Richard Warren Lewis p. 77, May 1971.


The Vegas Art Guy said...

I too am a huge John Wayne fan. If I ever get to Iowa I will visit his house.

Texas Truth said...

The Vegas Art Guy: It is small but nice. I hope you get to go sometime.