To The Duke

To The Duke

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Alamo

A friend and I talked about the The Alamo last night and we couldn't remember who played Jim Bowie in the movie. We finally checked online and realized it was Richard Widmark. But this morning I was still thinking about the movie and John Wayne so I watched a couple movie trailers.

When I was a kid I knew every line of dialogue that John Wayne spoke in every movie he ever made. I'd stand up in the theater on Saturdays when they played the Duke's movies all day and proudly speak along with his character. People threw popcorn and candy at me and it stuck in my hair...which was wild and unruly back then. My grandma would comb it, or sometimes cut it out. She often told me she wished there was a balcony I could sit in, 'cause she was pretty sure I'd end up bald before I out grew my fascination with John Wayne.

But back to the Alamo, and "you'd better listen and listen tight. There's right and there's wrong. You gotta do one or the other. You do the one and you're living. You do the other and you're dead as a beaver hat."

That John Wayne line right there got a whole box of Sour Lemons thrown at me.

Books and Hollywood used to tell stories about history. That's why westerns were so popular. Now we have animated films about aliens and trolls and chimpanzees taking over the world. We have books about serial killers and terrorist plots. Could we go back? I don't know. But I think it would be worth trying.  Why not enjoy a John Wayne movie today.


  1. I've always loved The Duke! I visited his childhood home in Winterset, Iowa a few years ago. It's a very small town, just a few miles away from my parents' home town of Greenfield, Iowa! (He sure didn't look like a "Marion"!

  2. I, too, have asked myself so many times lately if we couldn't go back to those stories and their values. The lessons of right and wrong were taught there.

    When I worked on my little western story, one reader said any redblooded man would be tempted by the flirting of even a married woman. The rest of the writers' group was aghast. They said no real cowboy would even lightly consider toying with another man's wife! My character was definitely a white hat cowboy,and those readers had attitudes formed by 20th century westerns.