Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part One: John Wayne: A Dude Who Sucked

Part One: John Wayne: A Dude Who Sucked

Tue, 26 Apr 2022 10:00

Robert is joined by Francesca Fiorentini to discuss John Wayne.

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All other podcasts have been banned by the new regime, which is why I'm here to talk with my guests today. Francesca Fiorentini. Francesca, how are we doing? Any. I'm good. I'm very, very good. There is another podcast, Robert. Ohh ****. It's the only other one that is allowed by the new regime, and that is mine. That's right. That's right. I remember that coming in the bulletin from the state Security Service. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You want you wanna plug your podcast even though there's only two there? Yeah. Well, yeah. I mean, you know, once you get tired of bTB, you go over to TBR, the Situation Room podcast. And yeah, check it out. Situation room. What? What blessings that the regime has showered upon us that we get a podcast like the situation room to choose to watch or listen to because you can watch it too. It's not just an audio podcast. No, it is a great blessing upon YouTube and Twitch. Hmm. Now, Francesca, how are you doing today? I don't know. I'm scared. OK, that's already scared because we got a 3 parter and you said, Oh my God, is this going to be about, like, Hitler or someone? And no, Francesca, we're talking about someone much worse than Hitler. Much, much today. Our ******* is John Wayne. I was like, gonna go with Attila the Hun, but, hell yeah, John Wayne just as bad. Fair to say John Wayne was responsible for more Vietnamese deaths than Attila the Hun or Hitler. That that's probably fair to say. Less deaths elsewhere, like, but you know. So what do you know? What do you know about Mr. J Dubs? John Wayne? Francesca's spaghetti. Westerns. Or whatever those are, right. He was definitely a lot of why I'm not an expert enough on Westerns because this were the ones that were like filled. It filmed in Italy, right? We keep coming back to Italy. I think that's why there's spaghetti, right? Yes. Which is racist, by the way. Super racist. I mean, now that, yeah, we have other foods. Exactly. Why can't it be a ravioli western? Aw, Avioli Western on a ravioli western? Why not a one of those with the fish dishes that they cook on the coast? You know, we got stuff. To be totally honest with you, I've never seen a single John Wayne film. However, the thing that I know about him and the thing that I repeat on some sort of Snopes, whatever BS that I'm on or like, is, is that he, when he died, had something like £50. Of meat removed from his gut that there was like an undigested amount of beef in his bowels, probably because the man ate a tremendous quantity of meat, but but I think that's that's more of a an apocryphal tale. But like, the thing about John Wayne that's interesting is that he's whether or not you've seen any of his movies. And I think today a lot of most people probably haven't, or at least haven't seen many. Maybe you've caught like. True Grit. The original True Grit, or something like the shootist. So there's a couple of movies that are still in circulation. For the most part, he's just like. A meme that has implanted itself in the background of our cultural consciousness. He is this kind of like ideal of hyper masculinity, of like white Christian masculinity that's still very pervasive in US culture. And that's kind of who John Wayne is. And that matters more at this point than what he actually did in any of his films because. And it's interesting because we have a lot of, there's a lot of other stars from that era like Gary Cooper or whatever that were huge in their day. And now a lot of most people on the street aren't couldn't really think of anything about them. You know, maybe you've heard the name Gary Cooper, but could you pick him out of a lineup? Not unless you're really into old films. But if you see John Wayne's face somewhere, most people are going to be like, Oh yeah, that's. That's ******* John Wayne, right. Like. He's just, he's just an icon of American manhood, you know, he also has like sort of a. He's got a classic ******* face. Like, yeah, very punchable. And or you're gonna get punched when you see that face. Yeah, he's got this. He he was this. He was this kind of stereo, even stereotypically because the stereotype exists because of him. But he will talk about this later. He didn't really get famous until he was like a middle-aged, surly looking ************. Sure. And a lot of his fame came from that. You know that that's part of why he remains so popular with like, dads and grandpas for forever is he was this, this kind of Archon of the old guy who will beat your *** which they all want to believe they are. You know, he's just like us. Yeah, it's like, you know? You know, nowadays we get our movies, like, you know, the equalizer from a few years back. With Denzel, you always want every couple of years, have a movie with like a 60 year old man who beats the **** out of a bunch of 20 year olds. Clint Eastwood used to do these. John Wayne was like the mother. ******* the, the, the, the Jesus Christ of that and and all later middle-aged actors who beat up 20 year olds or his apostles. But you know, we're getting ahead of ourselves here. The thing that he had a very long career and it was primarily, as you said, cowboy movies that made him famous. And in fact, as Charles Silver of the Museum of Modern Art observed, Wayne made Westerns for twice as long as it took to fight the Indian Wars. He made westerns for about as long as it actually took to settle the continent West of the Missouri. My God. So for an idea like this. He's part of why this Western. Is still so like central to the American ideals or I I like idea, particularly the right wing idea of how this country was quote UN quote founded. And it's because he was in movies romanticizing that. For longer than it was ever real. Which is neat. Yes, but always showed like the Native American perspective, right? Ohh for sure, no, that was one of the things they were famous of. That's why one of his chief costars, Ironized Cody, was absolutely a real indigenous person and not an Italian pretending to be Native American. Hey, I'll have none of that in this three parter. No anti Italian slander. We will play whatever roles we want. That's right. I mean, we sure did. We absolutely did. I will. I will say that this, this. There's going to be a couple cases of white dudes playing whatever the **** roles they want in these episodes. So this is the thing that sort of indoctrinated our parents into the idea that, like, you know, manifest destiny. And that ******** idea was always righteous, always justified. Because, like, for us, I feel like when I grew up, it was more just like you watched a schoolhouse rocks and there was a song called Elbow Room, which was basically this explanation of, like, the. Like the settling of the West and the colonization of the West, that was just like, we just needed more room, elbow room, and was like, what the ****? It's still again, very, very, very rose colored glasses. Yeah, that's like the sanitized version of the story that John Wayne told. And and that, like was kind of being told through his body, which is a big part of the role he has here. So this is going to be an interesting *******. Now that said, when we're talking about the things that are terrible that resulted from John Wayne, we are talking. Big picture stuff. Like how what his image has done. But as a person, don't worry, he was really unpleasant. So what? We'll get plenty of stories of a dude being ****** and old timey Hollywood and I you know, no one was ever quite as good at being ****** as dudes in old timey Hollywood. It was really like it was like the Renaissance for being an ******* in America. Like you, you you just can't hit those heights anymore. As much as Harvey tried. Yeah, as much as Harvey tried. He was never but a pale imitation of his of his ancestors. So yeah, one of the things that's interesting about John Wayne is that, you know, he's he's the image of manhood that he crafted in his films has proved to be so durable that, like if you go to gun shows and kind of like big right wing events today, you'll see his face all over **** still, because that ideal hasn't really changed in any way since his death. Now the story of John Wayne is more than anything the story of American Christian masculinity, which he embodied. So for the 1st, I'm going to talk a little bit about that. History. For the 1st 130 or so years of the United States as a nation, most men in the country made their living one way or the other through hard physical labor. We're talking, of course, about men who were free, although men who were enslaved also made their existed through hard physical labor. Pretty much everybody was like working physically, like doing something that was difficult. Either they're farming or they're in a factory or they're shooting people who were standing where they wanted to build a farm or a factory. And so masculinity like you didn't have to be super performative. About your masculinity, then, it was pretty simple. You you worked hard. Ideally, you made enough money to start a small business. That was kind of like the goal for every man wanting to take care of his family. Broadly speaking, if you were white, if you were a white dude, if you were not a white dude, then you you just worked without pay for that guy. And you were like a mascular like, my, the other side of my relatives were Chinese. So, you know, building the railroads, like, what a feminine activity? Well, yeah, that's exactly. That's exactly right. And again, we are talking. John Wayne is the the the avatar of White Christian manhood, right? We're not OK. We're talking about masculinity in a narrow context, but in the one that is sort of societally dominant in the United States. Because, you know, I've heard of this. I've heard of white Christian masculinity. Yeah, yeah, he helped invent it. So by the turn of the 20th century, things had started to change rapidly. For one thing, the frontier didn't exist anymore. You know, white people had made it all the way across. There was no longer these kind of open spaces. On the map, so to speak, the economy was increasingly dominated by consumer goods, and now most people were working jobs that didn't require them to go out and farm in the middle of nowhere or cut down trees or, you know, get into gunfights. They were living in cities, they were working in offices. Toughness didn't really matter as much as, like being able to sit in an office for the right amount of hours while you slowly went mad from syphilis. So this creates kind of like a a psychological. Uh, what's the word? I'm looking for? Emergency for American white men, right? Like the fact that all this changes suddenly they're like, well what am I? How what am I supposed to be doing? This doesn't feel right. And rather than I'm, I'm still. Yeah. And and rather than being like maybe we are in the process of building a system that is like an anti human nightmare that forces people to labor in little boxes for like piddling. And like everything, everything that we have been working towards is horribly wrong and we need to go back to. A much earlier period in our development of what a society should be in your lifestyle. An easier lifestyle, Robert. It is. It's a lot lazier for for at least. Well, I mean in some ways. But like also rather than, you know, as many people kind of living a rural life and working on farms, a lot of them are like in coal mines, choking to death, which is worse than farming. True, true, true, true. A lot of these guys are trying to figure out, like what does it mean to be a man anymore now that, you know, we're in the modern era. And while white men are kind of feeling increasingly domesticated by this office work, **** immigration from Eastern Europe is starting to search. And so also there's all this racism against, like, you know, Italians and slobs and and folks who were like, not yet quite white. In the eyes of the people who are at the time, definitely quite white, so all of this stuff is making men feel like edged in. You know, we've got these immigrants coming in to take our jobs. Our jobs aren't that great anyway. And then suddenly women start asking for a lot of wild things like the right to vote and bicycles. Bicycles. It's gonna only if you ride them side saddle. Hmm. The moral panic over bicycles is still one of my favorite little history gyms. They were so scared of bicycles, we should bring that back. Well, you know, because it breaks the hymen. Yeah. I mean, we kind of have that. America has never gotten over its hatred of bicycles. Now we just build trucks big enough to crush them. You know, when you, I was like, you know, you're like 12. You do. You are like, yeah, but like, riding a bike could, like, break your hymen. There's a lot of weird, like, I read it in Cosmo or like, why am? Which was an old girls magazine about, like, the sanctity of anyway? We don't have to get into it. I mean, I don't know, because that was not a part of my. Education on the bicycle. Well, suffice to say I still don't know how to ride a bicycle. So ohh it's I don't trust. Well, I think people were meant to travel on 2 feet or four wheels and nothing in between, so you're not missing anything. They're devil machines. I agree. Yeah, I'm I'm I'm on board with white people in the early 1900s with the hatred of bicycles, mines, just not a hatred of bicycles for sexist reasons. I just don't think they're natural. OK, so basically the walls are. When have the walls not been closing in on the perception of white Christian masculinity? Like basically forever? And let me just a quick check in with a with a white man, although not in that time. But Robert, are you OK? Are you guys honestly? Well, actually, no, because everything's bad, but not for that reason. Everything's bad because of these people and their continual needs to preserve their power relations relative to everyone else. Like this idea of, like, white whiteness and this this patriarchal kind of white Christian society. People come up with it over the course of a century or two and then have this kind of brief golden era where they feel like it's not a threat for like 5 years, and then up until the present day are actively trying to kill the entire planet in order to maintain it, even though they've been winning for so for forever. Basically, it's safe to say that this is a moment like if you were to actually pinpoint when America. Was quote UN quote great in the minds of a lot of these Trumpers. Is that the John Wayne era? Yeah, that. I mean, that's a little later than where we are right now. But yeah, it's like the 1930s through the 19, late 60s, early 60s before like the Vietnam protest **** really got out of hand and you were in a hippie, spitting Rambo space. That's right. That's right. So yeah. And and again, like that, that's the, the golden era that our white Christian nationalists look back to the white Christian nationalists and like 1900, the 1890s to 1900, they're looking back at like. 30 years earlier, too, or 50 years earlier, too, for a period that barely ever existed, right? So white Christian men are feeling emasculated by modernity, and they start grappling for a new totem of manhood, like someone to kind of hang their images of masculinity on, and they find Teddy Roosevelt now. Not a bad pick, although kind of a surprising one, given his background in in the book Jesus and John Wayne, Kristen Cobbs Dumez writes. As a young man, Roosevelt had been ridiculed for his high voice, tight pants, and fancy clothing, and to write it as a weakling and a pumpkin Lily. But Roosevelt wanted power. Determined to reinvent himself, he went W Rechristening himself the cowboy of the Dakotas. It was on the frontier that a new masculinity would be forged, a place where white men brought order to savagery, where men served as armed protectors and providers. Where violence achieved a greater good. If the Wild West could mold the exquisite Mr Roosevelt into a rugged masculine specimen, perhaps it could do the same for American manhood generally. So the thinking went. Or just shave your mustache, bro. Like, no, they're never gonna do that. That's that mustache is how they keep, you know, the the Mexicans away or whatever, you're gonna have a can we just go back to pumpkin Lily? That right there is a pumpkin Lily. It's not just a pumpkin Old West insult, like what happens. Lily grows on top of a pumpkin. Yes, when you gotta cut that pumpkin down before it grows a Lily. Yeah, you don't wanna grow. That's why we don't have pumpkins, because then we'd have lilies. Which came first? The pumpkin of the Lily. I think it's just cause it's fragile and pretty. And he was a fragile pretty boy by the standards of the time. So even as Roosevelt is kind of like out in the Dakotas doing outdoor **** and getting getting big and strong, the the fact that they're like the idea of a W at all is like starting to end. And so again, like, this is he Roosevelt, who kind of comes into prominence as this modern era is beginning, is a product of the era before. And everything that's kind of held up as an ideal about him as masculine is a thing that's no longer possible for a lot of men to do. So one of the things Roosevelt's trying to figure out as he starts to become a prominent figure, and one of the things a lot of white dudes are trying to figure out is where are we going to make more hard white men, you know? Yeah. How we're gonna get war next. Yeah. Well, yeah, exactly. That's exactly what they're talking about. And Teddy decides, you know, who would be good to have a war with? Spain. And in fairness. It's a pretty good time to have a war with Spain. They don't do good in this war. It it doesn't it does not go well for Spain as wars go that the US has gotten involved in pretty pretty easy fight. Not for like a lot of people in the Philippines, but for the US as a nation it goes a lot better than, for example, Vietnam. So Teddy win, the war happens, and he's like a huge backer. We'll talk about the Spanish American war and war and more detail one of these days, but he's a part of why we get into it. And he volunteers to lead a cavalry unit when it starts. And he actually fights in Cuba. He does a bunch of. He has his charge up San Juan Hill. He gets in all of the newspapers. He's this big national hero, Teddy Roosevelt, the brave, you know, Imperial War leader and all of these kind of soldiers who who fight with him and and become construct their own masculinity. On the battlefields of Cuba, you know, Umm. And it goes good under the guise of like, hey, we wanna pillage that island over there. Well, and they blew up our boat. They blew up our boat. We gotta pillage that island. And also several others. Got it. Yeah, I forgot about that boat. Yeah, there's that boat that blows up sometimes. It's, you know, that was the 9/11 of the late 1800s. The one that exploded. I've I have forgotten as we will 9/11 1 day so. Teddy Roosevelt. Uh, you know, we this goes good for everybody and it's so popular going to war with Spain, Teddy Roosevelt's part in it that in 1901 he gets elected president and he's, he's he's an interesting guy as president. Obviously a big part of him. There's an element that's very Trumpian because he has to show himself as this ultra potent and tough man and and he's got to like kind of he's, he's constantly sort of showing himself as this, like outdoorsy. Rough writing, *** ** * *****. But also a lot of that's true about Teddy Roosevelt. To his like credit, unlike Trump, the the the potency stuff isn't entirely constructed. He is a dude who spends a lot of time outdoors. He famously gets shot once while giving a speech and just like keeps right on doing the thing. So he's not it. You can see why people latch on to this dude, and some of the **** he does as president is pretty dope. He establishes the National Park system, although that's also tied into white supremacy, because a big part of the idea of national parks and this idea of the wilderness that Roosevelt establishes is these very white attitudes towards wildlife recreation, which are rooted in somewhat mythic ideas of wild and untamed lands, which of course we're not wild or untamed and had been in most cases heavily, heavily influenced. Basically, gardened by indigenous people who have to be excised from the the topic because these lands can't have indigenous people on them. They have to stay empty so white folks can hike in them, right? Sure. Like, so there's problematic aspects, even though there's also positive aspects of the National Park system, which is that we didn't turn all of those parks in the factories. I just love the images from Yellowstone from like the 50s when it's just like families feeding entire picnic baskets. Like actual picnic baskets too. Yeah, they're feeding picnic baskets to bears and they're like, I wonder why the bears are getting so uppity and crazy, like because you're feeding him Twinkies straight up. I think that's something we. I think one of the big places we went wrong in this country, Francesca, is we got rid of all the apex predators. I think we should never have made it legal to hunt them, and we should always have fed them random foods so they associated humans with food. And then we'd be getting cold regularly by wolves and bears in the like. It would be a better like if every week everybody can. Santa Monica killed cold. Yeah, yeah, yeah. If like every week in Santa Monica family got eaten by a bobcat, you know? Oh yeah, yeah. Think about how much lower rent would be. You'd be like, absolutely. I got a great deal on an apartment because this big cat broke in and ate a family. I mean, remember Hank the tank? And. Exactly. I think it was, it was just a couple of weeks ago. Yeah, Hank the tank, you know, rummaging through people's trash and, like, terrorizing people. It's like, hell yeah, stay, stay in line. Then a fox was in the Capitol building or around. It was nipping the heels of Congress doing Lords work. They euthanized it anyway. It's a tragedy. What we should have done is release more foxes into the halls of Congress with more rabies, a lot more rabies. I mean the filibuster people, and immediately. There were a lot of things would end. A lot of things would end that needed to end. And maybe we would get to see Mitch McConnell tried to tear out the throat of Ted Cruz as he's mad with rabies, which would have been pretty funny. Pretty good time since that. Senators. Republican senators don't already have rabies. Yeah, that's probably fair, although kind of unfair to rabies. What did it ever do to you, Francesca? Very true. Try and save democracy. That's that's all that's right. Rabies came to save us and we we spurned it. So by the early 1900s, Christian dudes, white Christian dudes in the United States had become enamored with a sort of performative masculinity, which is the kind of like as as as many of the things that Roosevelt did as he did. He was also very much like a performer, right? He's a he's a dude who is very like media trained. He's a dude who's consciously manipulating his image. And so that becomes that kind of performative masculinity becomes dominant in the United States and it probably would have looked pretty weird to the actual. Guys, they were imitating the dudes on the frontier who more than anything probably would have been like, boy, it would be nice to have a desk job rather than freezing to death in the middle of Iowa alone. Like. Yeah, just get back there for everyone's **** sake, yeah. So yeah, this is the these earlier kind of Victorian attitudes towards Christianity that had been dominant in that. Start to feel effeminate. To a lot of men in this. There's derision at the womanly virtues they felt had dominated their religion. There's this idea that the dominant image of Christ was, like, feminine because he wanted to feed people and, like, help them and heal them. And that's like, girl ****. Rather than like going out and kicking in heads and and punching people like that's the Jesus that people want. That white dudes want in this. Is like a liar. Heal lepers as some pumpkin Lily ********. That is some pumpkin Lily ******** you need to get yourself A6 gun. Jesus Christ. So Kristen Cobbs Dumez argues that to do this, in order to like remake Christianity in a militant warlike image, they had to revive old pre war Southern ideals about what white Christian masculinity represented. And so they kind of go back to the South Pre civil War to this idea that the man's job is that of sanctified aggression in order to maintain order. So men in the pre war S existed to protect white men, existed to protect white women and children from the danger of slave uprisings. Which they did with guns, right? That's the idea that gets kind of reincorporated into the American mainstream in the early 1900s. And this new kind of much more aggressive strain of Christian masculinity becomes known as muscular Christianity. It's Jesus on HGH, basically, you know? Hell yeah, yeah. Joe Rogan up that Christ a little bit, you know, which is like, not the hot Jesus that we all know and love, you know, hot Jesus is hot because he's just like. A hipster, you know, who took off his skinny jeans and you're like, Oh my God, you should eat more. But he only can afford ramen because he's, you know, just as a podcast or whatever. Oh, Jesus would absolutely have a podcast today. And it would be this one. No, OK, a little bit. So him, Jesus, he going. This is where I announced to the listeners that I am the son of God. It's a 3 parter about how Robert is. Jesus. Yeah, that that's that's that's Sophie's just not even listening. So we're going to get away with a lot here. So as this is all happening, this is all been a lot of scene setting in Winterset, IA. On May 26th, 1907, Mary and Clyde Morrison had a baby. They named this baby Marion Robert Morrison. And this is the kid that's going to grow up to be John Wayne. Marion. Marion. Oh yeah. Wow. You think that's going to go good for him in in in elementary school? I'm not a very masculine name. Not a very masculine name. Look, you go into first grade as a boy with the first name Marian. Today you're gonna take some **** right? You are in 1907. You're going to take a lot more. It's going to be a lot rougher. This is that is part of the story that we're building to. Umm. So Marion Morrison is born in a house in Winterset, IA. The house is a museum today, although we don't 100%. Know that it was the house he was actually born in. Our entire source that it was is like an old dude who told a biography or he remembered hearing about a baby being born there. So maybe not. Yeah, around here, anyway, that'll be $50.00. Yeah, it that that's like a lot of John Wayne's legacy where they're like, look, it might have been this house, so we're gonna put a museum up here with pictures of Trump in it, too. **** you. It's Winterset IA we have done nothing else, you know? Now we do know he was born in Winterset, so at least there's that. We have a birth announcement from the local paper which read a 13 pound son arrived at the home of Missus Clyde Morrison Monday. Yeah, 13, that's a that's two babies. That is 2 babies and one baby. Oh my God. How she must have ripped. I'm sorry. That's my mind. Like my heart goes out to you, herennium. Yeah, me too, girl. Me too. That's that's that's yeah, that's that couldn't have been easy. That's way too big for a baby. That's a massive baby. Massive baby. 1907, eat two other babies is my. She might have eaten a couple of babies in there. Yeah, they they were triplets and he ate the other two. Ate the **** has to be. That's such a big baby. And he will he will grow up. He's a huge guy. Like he. As an adult, he's about, he's 63, so he's like 6-3 and half an inch or something like that. So he's about my height, but he's also like really, really broad. I think he weighs probably like 250, something like that is like, he's just a huge ************. It's a door. He yeah, he's a door. And he, he comes out as a certified showed, you know, just just ******** Brandon. Yeah, right on that shoulder. So winners set was a small city of less than 3000 people. In many ways it would have resembled at the time Marion was born the current right wing vision of like Paradise, Soda pop cost, $0.15. The only religions represented in town were Methodist, Catholic, and Baptist. Basically everybody was white. There were two black citizens who had names and were on the city country or the city rolls. There was a third black man who lived in the city, but everyone just called him inward, John, only they did not use. Inward, they abused the, you know, uh, he lived in a shack and was not included in the town census. So that is, that is the kind of town the John Wayne sported this Christ. Existence of that man, yeah. Oh, boy. Yeah. I I don't know what was going on with that dude, but it can't have been easy. Like, how do you not avoid dying every single day as the only black man in that town? Yeah, I mean, I have, you have to assume living kind of on the outskirts of town, but not being represented in the census. He had some role he played that was like picking up scrap or something where as long as he stuck to his area, it was, you know, that that would be my assumption, but I don't really know. Found him from another town. Brought him there to just make them feel superior. To have somebody to do a slur at, just to have someone to look down their nose, yeah. Yeah, it's it's it can't be a good story, right. Whatever. The truth is, it cannot possibly be good. We need that John story later on. But anyway, this is about this is about Marian. So yeah, that dude earned the name John. At least that has to have been his name. So one pretty good BuzzFeed article that I found on John Wayne describes Marion's parents as quote, an implacable woman married to a sweet Nair do. Well now that's a little bit too friendly that that's broadly in line. So biographer Scott. Payment kind of describes her similarly, biographer Richard Douglas Jensen describes Mary's mother as straight up abusive, probably physically abusive, and definitely mentally abusive. I that does seem to be pretty accurate. Both Morrisons were part of what biographer Scott Eyman describes as a nervous middle class of early early 20th century America. These are the people we were talking about earlier on in the episode. These like folks who they're now doing these kind of more emasculating jobs they're they're potentially having. More like kind of wealth than Americans had had before. But also there's this endless series of recessions and great depressions and **** that occurs in the late 1800s and early 1900s, right? So this sort of prosperity and this kind of easier life is married to the fact that, like, everything can fall out from under you at any time because there's a run on the bank or whatever. So they're they're nervous, right? They're they're on paper doing better than their ancestors, but they feel no sense of actual security. So she's there just kind of like whittling her husband. Down to a little nub about, like, how come you ain't got no more calluses on your hands, huh? Yes, that's exactly what's happening. Pumpkin Lily ***** like that? Yeah. Yeah, I think you've got her voice. Exactly. I mean, I like, I just like blaming the woman in this Case No, but it's look, we need some female villains, and for every male villain, you know, there's some of them have a lot of mom issues, and I think those moms deserve credit. What? What's very progressive about this story, Francesca, is that normally when we have a ******* and you go into their upbringing, it's like Mom was super sweet and supportive, but then she, like, dies suddenly and, like, their dad's beating the **** out of them. Or like Hitler's dad, where he beats the **** out of him, but then he dies and it throws the family and the chaos. Here, Clyde, he's he's kind of an alcoholic, but he's a sweet dude. Nobody ever says anything bad about Clyde. He's a nice guy, Clyde. Mama is is a terrible person. It sounds like we're building to what a bad mom she is. Deserve that 13 pound baby. Like, yeah, maybe she was just angry at how big he was. She can't poop, right? I mean, let's like that. Absolutely not. Never the same. Never the same. So you have. Never the same. It's time for the first. You know who else can't poop, right? Francesca? I was hoping you would do that one. The products and services that support this podcast? Not. Not a single one of them all. Horrible. Horrible stomach problems. Potentially fatal. That's everyone we let sponsor our podcasts. Are you actively dying? If not you? Can't sponsor this show. That's that's the rule. That way, if you don't like an advertiser on the show, you'll know they're not long for this world, and that's the behind the ******** guarantee. So they gotta support him now. That's why you got you gotta buy now, you gotta buy now. You gotta give. Alright, here's ads. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the build to find all these nuts fees. 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There are so many people that just have no idea about some injustices in the world and if you can give a voice to them, you can create change to be able to do it within podcasting. It's just such a gift. I believe it was 18 months after I got on with speaker that I was making enough that I could quit my day job. It was incredible. I always feel like an ambassador for speaker, but that's because I'm passionate about podcasting. It's really easy to use. I always tell people I am so not tech. Took me 5 minutes to get comfortable with speaker, and when I find a new friend that has an incredible show, I want them to make money. I want them to be able to do what I did. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Get paid to talk about the things you love with spreaker from iheart. Ah, we're back. So we're talking about Clyde Morrison, John Wayne's dad. Although John Wayne is just Marion at this point. So Clyde ******* Clyde, you know, born too late to conquer the frontier. He's got a series of ****** desk jobs. He'd attended college on a football scholarship, but he didn't do great, and he wound up getting a job as a pharmacist. He's a really nice guy. He's known as. Like people will say, if he had four bits in his pocket, he'd buy a beer with one and give the rest to you. So that you could like, sit and talk. This guy, he's a nice guy. He's also kind of a pushover, and his wife is very ambitious and hard charging. She was, if not straight out, abusive, as Jensen claims. Then everyone seems to agree pretty casually. Kind of cruel. When his when Marian's younger brother was born, she decided, and his younger brother named Robert, he's born. When Mary's about three, she decided she likes his younger brother better and she gives him Mariano's name because Marion's middle name had initially been Robert. So she takes his his name and she gives it to his younger brother and she gives him a new middle name, Mitchell. In the book John Wayne, the life and legend Scott Eyman explains all of this. Sloppy switching happened in Earlham, where the family moved in 1910 and where Marion's younger brother Robert was born in December 1911. Using a child's name as the P in a now you see it, now you don't. Shell game was only the beginning of Mariano's. Ragged childhood would probably happened. Is that his mother? A formidably strong willed Reed, borderline unpleasant woman born. Larry Brown in 1885 in Lincoln NE simply appropriated the older boys middle name for the preferred new arrival. So she takes his name because she likes his little brother better, like which is the most redeeming part of his name. You're saying that? Yeah, yeah, it gives it. Mitchell. What a **** name. You're never gonna be nothing but an Eminem. Just a Marian, Marian Mitchell. Marion Mitchell, get down here. Mary and Mitchell Morrison. Mm-hmm. That's what it stands for. Now, Robert, you can come over here. You don't gotta do chores today. Yeah, that's more or less what goes on. So Molly Morrison was famed for her frequent rages, where, again, Clyde's pretty retiring. So as he grows up, Marion comes to vastly prefer hanging out with his dad while his brother Robert becomes a mama's boy, which suited Mama just fine because she only likes her little boy. So Winterset IA to this day has not really gotten over John Wayne, but he gets over his hometown basically immediately, right? The family moves to Nebraska. And he's like three or four. And he later tells an interviewer, just about all I remember about Winterset is riding horses, playing football and the time I thought I discovered electricity. And there's more to that quote, but I'm not gonna read it because it's funnier if I don't. So Mariano's really need to know more about when he thought he discovered electricity. It's not as funny as just letting your imagination go. She's like when I actively tried to kill myself because my mom was driving me nuts. Yeah, I mean, essentially, yes. And I stood out in a storm. I mean, you you have literally grasped it. Yes. OK, OK. I like it. I like it. In the interview, I was like, no more questions. Something out. Yeah. It's cute kid stuff, right? He's just a kid at this point, so his early life is very unstable. The family moves constantly. They moved like a bunch of times by the time he's 7 or 8, which is not super common for this. Right? You know, I my, I early life, we moved a bunch, but like, you had cars, you know, it wasn't hard, right? So he's moving in a period of time where that's a real trauma clydes bad with money. He declares bankruptcy, he loses his pharmacy. He's like, moving around, taking up **** jobs. This pattern repeats itself a couple of times until in 1913, when Marion is 6, the family moves to Des Moines, with Molly's fit to live with Molly's family, while Clyde tries to get back on his feet. So they're living in Des Moines. 1914 comes around, World War One kicks off, you know, over in Europe. Stan. Yes? Make more men. Make more men. Oh yeah. Well, that's gonna have an impact on the story. But if initially the US isn't involved in World War One, although guys like Teddy Roosevelt sure want us to be. And while this is all kind of building up Clyde's father, you know, Mariano's Grandpa buys a parcel of land in California and asks if his son wouldn't mind like working it. Like, hey, you guys want to. Nothing else has worked. Want to try farming in California so client has no experience. Doing this, he's not particularly APT for farm life, but he's like, sure, we'll give it a shot. So the family moves across the country to live with their grandparents and try to make it go with the farm. So here's the problem, Francesca. The place where Clyde senior purchases 80 acres is Palmdale, CA. You ever been to Palmdale? I don't think so, no. So it is right next to the Mojave. It gets about four inches of rain in a good year, which is slightly more than Portland got the day before I wrote this episode. So. Wow. Most things do not grow well in Palmdale. If you are able to divert tremendous water resources from elsewhere in the state, you can make a pretty good go of avocado farming there right now. That was not really happening at this point, and it's not it's not a good place for agriculture. And the specific thing they try to grow there initially is corn, which does not do well in a climate like this. No. Yeah, Palmdale is where I'm I'm looking at it all the poppies are. People, you know, there's definitely influencers go and take photos of themselves and the poppies, it's beautiful. It's a lovely part of the part of the state. So does opium grow there? Yeah, I think you could grow opium there if you wanted to. But, you know, it's not a great place to be a farmer unless you're being a very specific kind of farmer and they decide to grow corn. And again, like, Ukraine is one of the countries in the world that grows the most corn. Think of the climate of Ukraine versus there's a town right on the edge of the Mojave, you know? So the Morrisons start trying to grow **** and their whole plot is kind of a land scam. There was some rules with the government where if they could develop all 80 acres, the government would give them another 500 something acres. So it's they're they're trying to like game the government to to to make it rich, but they were are going to have to be better at farming than they wind up being to do that. So the only house on the property is what John Wayne later later called a glorified shack. It was unpowered, unheated, and it had no running water. But yeah, Marion later recalled the terrain as barren, deserted country, but he and his dad set to work trying to make the desert bloom. So while they're struggling to farm, muscular Christianity in the United States is reaching its apex. When World War One kicks off, Teddy Roosevelt himself repeatedly urged the US to get involved. Right? Like we're just being a bunch of bunch of girls if we don't get involved in this war and feed our sons to machine guns. And Woodrow Wilson, who gets to be the president, campaigns on not doing that. He's like, seems like a bad idea, World War One. Maybe we should stay out of that. Obviously, he's not going to stick to his guns. So Teddy Roosevelt and him are kind of having this big public spat over whether or not the US should get involved. And and and Teddy's not the only one really pushing the United States for involvement. There's a whole culture that grows up on the right wing urging intervention in World War One. And I'm going to read another quote from Jesus and John Wayne. Here, former professional baseball player Billy Sunday preached this new muscular Christianity with unrivaled zeal. Wanting nothing to do with the Sissy Lily Livered piety, Sunday preferred to pack his old muzzle loading gospel gun with ipecac, buttermilk, rough on rats, rock salt, and whatever else came in handy, and let it fly in the spring of 1917. With America's entry into the First World War, Sunday's militancy went beyond metaphor. He had no time for pacifists, or draft dodgers, God, forsaken mutts, or apparently, for nuance of any kind. And these days? All our Patriots are traitors to your country, and the cause of Jesus Christ, an evangelist for war Sunday, was known to leap atop his pulpit waving the American flag. Now, I read that quote because this is a guy who's prominence in the US right wing when John Wayne is a kid. Later on, our boy Marion is going to grow up to become this man. You know, essentially this is what he does during Vietnam. Yeah. Causes the problem when you conflate nation building with like, Jesus and religion. This is the problem. When you when you have like, Christian settler colonialism is when you've stopped settling, when you've stopped killing one set of people, you are existentially like in a crossroads. You're bankrupt. You're like, I don't know who I am anymore. Anything to do if we're not killing people, yeah. Right. And then you think, and then you think that Jesus and your God just wants you to kill more people and that will then prove yourself. Yeah. It's like, it's like, you know, you, you, you know, you have these guys who, like, work their whole life at some sort of horrible financial industry job, and they're able to retire, which a lot of people don't get to do anymore. But then once they retire, one of two things happens. They either die immediately because they don't have anything to do or they get real into cryptocurrency. And we're in America's, like cryptocurrency phase, our first one right here, right, that that's what World War One is, is like board apes for for the United States. Sure. It's another way for us to chase those highs. Yeah, it's like our midlife crisis. Yeah. So, Umm, yeah, our boy Marian. At this point, he's a little kid with a girl's first name, which causes him a lot of problems, so he goes to a public school. There are no buses back then, so we asked to ride a horse miles every day to and from class, and today this would make you the toughest *** ** * ***** in second grade. But this is rural California in 1914, so it's not an uncommon thing to be doing. But he does get mocked constantly because, again, his name is Marian. Other kids asked him why his mom didn't send him to school in skirts, biographer Scott Eyman writes. Not surprisingly, in later years he didn't particularly like to talk about his childhood. His last wife said that the stories came out only in fragments during their 20 years together. Mainly, he felt unloved by his mother and was quietly distressed by his father's ineffectuality so kind of a sympathetic kid at this point. A little bit, yeah, a little bit of, you know, making of a mass. Louder, yeah. Yeah. You can see a few places this could go, right? Yes. So a lot of negative left wing coverage of John Wayne will note his upbringing in suburban Glendale, which is where he winds up after this and that. He's like a surf bum as a young man to kind of make the case that his cowboy mystique was all a lie. I don't really think that's fair because, again, he does spend years on a farm in the middle of nowhere in a pretty rugged terrain, like riding a horse to and from school. Every day one of his jobs on the farm is to stand in the field with a rifle. Looking for snakes while his dad works the field because like if his dad gets bitten by a snake out in the middle of the desert, he's going to die. So this is actually like the source of a lot of trauma for John Wayne because he's he's standing out there with a gun trying to shoot, spot and shoot snakes in time to stop his dad from getting bitten. And he just constantly has these ******* nightmares when he goes to sleep at night of like being too late and his dad getting bitten by a snake. That's a lot to put on. Like a 7 year old kid, his mom would never let him live. That went down. But like I'm also imagining a kid who's also bored to tears standing absolutely. And then just imagining, like, you know, you know, hordes of Indians on the plane, you know, just coming over the mountain and like just very in his imagination. He he definitely is. And he spends when he's like riding his horse to and from school and ****. He spends a lot of time imagining cowboy fights and being attacked by bandits and **** which you get very normal **** for a 7 year old or whatever in this situation. And he he notes that like. Even though he has all these nightmares, he he never talks about it. Like he's he's constantly dreaming about like thousands of snakes coming to attack him and his dad, but he he he doesn't feel like he can say anything. Like you're not allowed to talk about being afraid of things as a young man in this. So you just kind of keep it bottled up inside now being a kid. Yeah. Like I said, he's he he's got all these different fantasies and stuff. And it seems like some of the happier moments in his childhood at this. Are the time he spends on a horse, kind of lost in fantasies, riding to and from school. And at least according to Scott Eyman, he loves this horse. Jenny is her name, and she says she's his his, his his buddy out there. But she's also got some sort of chronic stomach illness that makes it impossible for her to put on weight. So no matter how well the Morrisons feed her, she looks like she's starving. Now, if, you know California's Francesca, you know, it's full of people who are bad at minding their own damn business, and a neighbor calls the Humane Society to claim that Marian is abusing this horse. Wow, that's like the next door of the early 1900s. Yes. Yeah. Just like it's always been the same skinny horse. This little kid in this little horse, I feel like he's not feeding it enough. Yep. Yeah. So Scott Eyman writes. Marian stoutly insisted he was always feeding his horse, that he carried oats for the horse, even on their daily commute to and from school. His teacher and his parents stood up for him. The county vet examined the horse and diagnosed the wasting disease, but a sense of outrage over being falsely accused never left him. I learned you can't. Is judge a person or a situation by the way it appears on the surface, he remembered. You have to look deeply into things before you're in a position to make a proper decision. So so they tried to cancel him or tried to cancel him. Cancel culture came from John Wayne. Is it his ragged *** horse? Some some nosy Lib was like that horse needs more food. Shut the **** **. Mm-hmm. And he does have his. He has his old yeller moment because this horse never gets better and they have to shoot it. *** **** it. Yeah, you know, it's what happens. You have to shoot his own horse. That I do not know. Possibly. Although I kind of. I would. I think maybe his dad would be the kind of dude to not put that on his kid. I don't really know, but it's maybe. If you're a real man horse, Marion, you're shooting your horse. You're shooting your best friend Jenny. Yeah, shoot your best friend Jenny. Then we're eating her cause we're poor as ****. So despite trying very hard, Clyde and Marian are terrible at farming, and the 118 degree summers very quickly forced Clyde's ailing parents to flee for the cooler climates of Los Angeles. When they leave, they tell their son, like, hey, we made a bad call with this farm. You guys should probably get the **** out of here, too, right? Like, doesn't seem like Palmdale. Go in anywhere. Good. Maybe move to LA. It's it seems like it'll always be affordable and a good place to live. Citrus trees at this point. But citrus trees at this point? Yeah, there's. People there so. Clyde tries for a little while more to farm this this plot of land, but when the horse dies, Marian has to walk or hitch my hike like an 8 mile round trip to school every day. God, it's just a brutal way for a kid to live. Like he's gotta get up hours before he starts this hike to do his chores because, you know, it's a farm. But he's also he does really well in school. Still, he's a good student, and he distracts himself from the realities of his life by obsessively reading and rereading catalogs. Particularly Sears catalogs. And just like underlining all the things he's gonna buy one day when he somehow gets money. Classic. Poor kid ****. Be pretty normal behavior. So after about two years, his parents can barely stand to be in the same room as each other. Farming kind of destroys the marriage. And they have no money. All of their crops keep getting eaten by Jack rabbits. So, like a lot of our meanwhile, what's Robert doing, Roberts? Just like, sitting there and like you? ******* useless ***** ** ****. Robert Morrison ************. Yeah, maybe we should call him John lame. So they decide farming's not going to work and like a whole bunch of Armenians are gonna do. A few years from this point, the Morrisons leave home and they move to Glendale, CA. Now, 18 year where I live. Well, yeah, I like Glendale. We got the brand mall over there. Hmm. You've got you. You have the Peet's coffee that sells what in every other city is the tantalizing Turkish coffee blend. But in Glendale, they they call it something else without the word. I think that's just the tantalizing blend, because you you don't want to have Turkish in the name of a coffee that you're selling in little Armenia. Not really a good call is that little Armenia? This is big Armenia out here. It's it is, it is. It is verging on the size of regular Armenia now. It's a big, big place. I love Glendale, actually. It's very pretty, very nice town and today it is like a a sizable, like it's not a small city. I mean obviously like all of Los Angeles is a bunch of separate cities but also kind of 1 big *** city. That's not really the case. When the Morrisons moved to Glendale, it is kind of like it's separate little town on the outskirts of Los Angeles. I think it's like 8000 people, which is way it's kind of like. Like Octuple in population in a couple of years after they moved there. Like it, it blows up big time, right? But at this point it's kind of a sleepy suburb. So Marion is 9 when they move to the Los Angeles burbs and you know, at this point he's just finally made it more or less to the city that's going to make him famous. So they move in, they get used to LA life, they get a dog, an Airedale they name Big Duke. The name of this dog is borrowed from the movie dog of a fake cowboy named Tom Mix, who is like one of the most popular Cowboys of the day we'll be talking about in a bit. And Marion, he's like Mariano's Idol. So like, you know, obviously as a little kid in this. He's watching cowboy movies every chance he gets. And Tom Mix is the big cowboy. And so his Tom mix and then Duke was the name of the big dog of the dog in the Cowboy movie. And then Duke becomes John Wayne's nickname. That's right. This is how this happens. So his dog, Big Duke, has a habit of chasing fire engines. Incredibly stereotypical upbringing this kid has. So Marian winds up chasing after his dog a lot and often to the fire station. And so local firefighters start to know this kid and his dog and they kind of adopt them. They realize like his family, super poor. So they'll give him milk and they'll say, like, oh, hey, this is for like your cat at home, but really it's for the family because they're too poor to buy milk. Very nice firefighters. And they'll, they'll hang out with Mary and. Has his dogs Big Duke and is apparently quite a personality as a dog. They just start calling both of them Duke and eventually start calling Mary and Little Duke. And that's how he gets his nickname. That's how he became becomes the Duke as these firefighters start nicknaming him based on his dog. Manly men, yeah. Renamed the manliest man they did Duke from Marion and he he. As soon as these firefighters give him a nickname, he stops going by Marian and starts going by Duke. And he will all his life. That's what his friends call him is. Thank God. I mean, yeah, I mean, absolutely. You would pick Duke over Marriott. Yeah. This is like, ohh, you can just pick a name. You could just have a name, like you could make it anything you want, huh? Yeah. Welcome to Hollywood, kid. I I was kind of surprised because, you know, you hear his nickname as the Duke and you figure it's generally when someone has a nickname that's hyper masculine, you assume there's a very sad story about how they picked it for themselves. And no, this is actually kind of a sweet story. He would got adopted by firefighters. That's nice, yeah. No, and it's actually cute. I mean, the real Duke was the dog, but the real Duke was the dog. He is nickname. He is like Indiana Jones named for the dog. Little Duke. Little Duke. So, you know, the Morrisons bounce around a handful of small homes in their early years in LA. Clyde's never able to keep a job well enough to build up, you know, the kind of savings necessary to stay in a place for long. Like, because he keeps on giving people his money. They have a drink with him and drinking problem? I don't wanna go home to my wife. Yeah, that is a big part of it. So, and yeah, yeah, he he's from a pretty young age, like the time he's 9 his dad can't afford to buy. Clothes. So he has to get jobs in order to like, keep himself in clothing. Again, not an easy childhood, although not out of step with a lot of kids in this. Again, these are not like he's not like the only kid with this upbringing in the neighborhood, right? Everybody's kind of ******* poor, you know? So he's tinned by the time the United States makes the decision to get into WW1. Obviously Roosevelt, big advocate of World War One being a thing for the US to get involved in, everyone's very excited. Muscular Christianity side crowd is super into the war when it starts, but it does not go the way Americans had hoped. As Europe had already learned, Modern Warfare is a pretty nasty thing. Old West style heroism gets you moaned down in rows by machine gunfire. 116,000 Americans will die in the war in just like a year's time, and one of these Americans is Quentin Roosevelt, the president's son, which really ***** him up forever. Might have been a bad call, Teddy damn back then when presidents actually sent their kids to war. Three of his sons I think will fight in World War One. He was, he was not. He was a lot of things, but he was not about this at least. He was not a hypocrite like and he actually tries desperately to to fight himself. He attempts to like raise a volunteer regiment and go fight in World War One. But the president at the President Wilson is like Teddy, you are a former U.S. President. You are not going to go fight in World War One. Like absolutely not. I'm not going to let you do that. That's that's nuts. We'll send your kids. Yeah, we'll send you kids. And the fact that World War One is this, it just kind of ends as this horrible meat grinder as it began, does a lot of damage to the concepts of muscular Christianity. Just kind of like, you know, there's versions of this going on in Europe that get torn apart in the fields of Flanders and and whatnot. Christine Cobbs Dumez writes. When the war came to a close, no amount of patriotism could obscure the fact that it had been fought at great. Cost and with little apparent gain, Roosevelt's model of masculinity had been found wanting. The war, it seemed, had presented Americans with the horror of having myths about blood and fire, and mutilation and blindness come true. For liberal Protestant internationalists, the disillusionment was especially keen. Sherwood Eddy, a leading liberal Protestant proponent of the war, expressed dismay at his Pro War activism. I believed it was a war to end war, to protect womanhood, to destroy militarism and autocracy in Ameco New World fit for heroes to live in, he confessed. The carnage and horrors of warfare put an end to all that. So one of the things that happens here, this muscular Christian movement that gets us into World War One, splinters because a chunk of the US folks who want to get into World War One are liberals who are like, maybe if we do this war, it'll put an end to like these autocratic dictatorships that have been doing all this horrible **** around the world for years and engaging in constant brinksmanship with each other. And the other chunk of it is just dudes who are like, masculinity is all about fighting, and they kind of split. At this point. And one of those chunks is gonna become the conservatives we know and are actively preparing to fight today, you know? Good times. No, I was just gonna say, I mean, it's like, yeah, that's the part of going to war is the death part. Like, that's the part of the muscular we must always be fighting. God is on our side. Like, oh, maybe maybe God's not on our side. Maybe maybe he's not on any side. He's not real. Yeah, I know. But it's just like, what did you think was going to happen? I mean, it's it's a hard lesson. We never really learned the lesson. I guess it was learned for a while, and then there was, like, deep isolationism. In the in the country and yeah, World War Two, obviously it stalled our intervention there. We never learn any of the right lessons, which is like, don't don't trust anyone who tells you any of the don't trust anyone who makes violence seem like a way to learn anything. It's it's it's a it's an occasionally necessary thing, but it doesn't make you into anything other than a traumatized person. Yeah, **** **** will not grow. **** **** does not grow, but it might get blown off by shrapnel, like in the classic. Anti war song Luang Prabang which is about US involvement in Lao. Pretty good song anyway so you know what else will blow your testicles off. Oh wait, Sophie, are we? Is that good? Should we do that? Is that how we lead into an ad break? Alright, well, it's happening was one thing, but but blowing testicles off? If you want to get gelded by white hot shrapnel, listen to these ads. God, I hope it's a ******* Washington State Patrol ad by mistake. So do I, Sophie. *** **** it. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. 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Let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Get paid to talk about the things you love with spreaker from iheart. Ohh, we're back. So you know, all this, this, this kind of collapse of one of the things that happens. We've talked about how kind of the Christian muscular Christianity splinters after World War One. The one chunk of it kind of turns into super capitalist and business oriented, right being rah RAH imperialism and war didn't really work out for us. What if we make Jesus into a business man, you know like a like A2 fisted businessman and we've talked about this in a couple of episodes including our two parter and how they're all the rich 8. Christianity. And while this is worth noting because of what comes next, I don't know that any of this really, this is all happening in the background when Marian is a kid. I don't know that he. I think he certainly must be taking some of this in through osmosis, especially a lot of these more militant attitudes towards Christianity, which are reflected in the movies he's watching because he he he loves himself some cowboy movies, and he does grow up kind of obsessed with the nascent film industry in Los Angeles. There's only a couple of studios in Glendale. But they're shooting a bunch of cowboy movies where he lives because it's kind of the outskirts of town at this point. So he spends a lot of his childhood watching that ****. Yeah, exactly. He's way into this stuff. He's also super into sports, pretty normal stuff. His parents marriage gets worse and worse. His mother increasingly attacks and at least mentally abuses both him and his dad's biographer Richard Jensen, writes in when the legend became fact, the true life of John Wayne quote, Mariano's dysfunctional parents filled the Morrison home with strife. Marion became a neurotic kid. Unable to sleep normally, without nightmares, like all children growing up in a household filled with abuse, he internalized the strain of the abuse and blamed himself for their unhappiness. The movies were his respite from reality. Marion dreamed of being a cowboy, of being a sword wielding pirate, of being a movie star. So this all feels fairly. I mean, is is hard, but fairly normal. Fairly normal. Not an uncommon tale, right? Well, it it it's not like he's he's very much, much embodies. I think there's some degrees to which it's abnormal. I think like the kind of scale, like one of the things that's weird is shortly after this his parents divorce, which is abnormal, and his his mom takes Robert and he stays with his dad and that is kind of Robert was not pulling my ******* kid out of here. Molly is coming back around in the third installation. Mark my words, people. Robert knows, but I don't. Molly's going to come crawling back, asking for money. You just wait. I mean, probably, right? Definitely. When? When John Wayne gets rich, right? Exactly. Like, remember how good I was to you? I only dropped you a few times on purpose. I gave you that whole new name. Mitchell Marion spends as much time away from his house as he possibly can because it sucks there, Jensen continues. Duke was a rambunctious kid, athletic and imaginative. He was also restless. He stayed away from home as much as possible. He learned to be rough and tumble. He learned to smoke cigarettes and taste alcohol. Years later, when Duke was diagnosed with lung cancer, he admitted to his family he'd smoked since I was just a kid, so it was like a chain smoking 10 year old in Glendale, CA. You know, story as old as time. Watching the movie sets just just just pulling on a Marlboro. Watching people shoot a cowboy flick downtown. Yeah, I'm just the Duke over here with my trusty dog, so what's probably his dogs? Got a cigarette too, you have to assume. Now. Once he hits high school, Marion develops an interest in theater and drama. But his chief obsession is sports of all kinds. The broad gist of his next few years is that he gets a football scholarship to play for the University of Southern California. Most Wayne BIOS will claim that he was a star. Player who enjoyed body surfing. In his spare time he gets into surfing, but like poor people surfing where you're just kind of like throwing yourself into a wave and getting pushed to shore. Yeah, good old body surfing. Yeah, body surfing, which sounds fun. He's real into the ladies since he was very tall. He grows up again to be huge and he's muscular and athletic. As a young man, he's considered very handsome. This is also the period, you know, the time when he is a teenager and a young man is when like. You got your flapper era. Women are starting to get liberated, there's a lot more girls are willing to like, go out on dates, and casual sex starts to become a thing in mainstream American culture. In a way it really hadn't been for a while. And he he comes of age. During that period of time. He also becomes an alcoholic pretty early on. He's famous for drinking until he passes out at parties. He develops a passion for drag racing, and for the rest of his life he would drive so fast it frightened everyone in the car with him. And was usually drunk while driving. Yeah, this will forever. He's good enough to be like just an average college ****** ***. Just a normal dude in the 20s. Yeah, just drunk driving, puking at parties, hitting on girls, body surfing, which tragically, he has a body surfing accident that injured his shoulder and that cuts his football career short. That's at least the the the the traditional narrative of why his football career fails. It may not be entirely true. There are some prominent people who doubt that he failed at football because he hurt himself, and one of them was Woody strode. Uh, Woody was the first black action movie star in US film history. He was also a former professional football player with the Rams, which are a Los Angeles team at this point. And it was his opinion that Duke was always bad at football. He was not a good runner and he probably wouldn't have succeeded at football. Now there's some debate about whether or not strode is accurate, and this assessment because woody strode ******* hated. John Wayne and he had a good reason to hate John Wayne. The two starred in the man who shot Liberty Valance together in 1961, and Strode was apparently shocked by how much of a bully John Wayne was to the cast and crew. He claims that Wayne Wayne like made a particular show of mocking woody in front of everyone else for not being athletic. And again, Woody is a professional athlete, unlike John Way. It's very funny that he would choose to do this for the ramp. So yes. So it's clearly his own insecurity. Insecurity. Yeah. Or, like, maybe he just ran funny. Maybe he did run. He did run funny. Well, Jensen, his biographer, analyzes his running a bunch and is like, he did kind of run funny. I mean, yeah, you, you, you you were meant for a horse kid. Yeah. And part of it is like one of the things that this shoulder injury he has, he kind of winds up always stooped, a little bit forward to one side, which gives him this kind of off, this awkward, uneven gait. But that's part of what makes him so iconic is entertaining. Yeah. Yeah. This, like, gangster, sort of lean. And he kind of strides into these gunfights. It's it's a very distinctive walk, but body surfing accident? Yeah, it it's it's worth noting, probably a lot of racism is also involved, because I think John Wayne is insecure about the fact that Woody Strode is a real athlete and also is just a white supremacist. And apparently on the the man who shot Liberty Valance, Wayne's taunting of strode is bad enough that Jimmy Stewart has to take him aside and be like, dude, you gotta ******* cool off here or strode is gonna beat your *** like this isn't, OK? My money is on strode. My money's on the big fella. Yeah, you gotta cut that out. He's a real football player, you know? We're not in Palmdale anymore. Oh, Jimmy. But like, and. And also, he must have been older because this is, I don't know, when that movie came out. 61. Yeah. So it was like, yeah, he's like 50 something. Yeah. That is kind of like the height of his career. But yeah. Yeah, exactly. Come on, John Wayne. Anyway, so whatever. The truth is about why he gives up on his hoop dreams. That's what you call wanting to play football, right, Sophie? Yeah. She's saying yes. So Marion decides to look for work in the film industry, which is exploding in the 1920s. He gets a job with Fox Film working as a prop. And and this was the site of his first clearly documented example of being a **** **** *****? This is where we have our heel turn for John Wayne and he's firmly a bad in the on the props team, on the prop team. So. He gets his first gig in the film industry because of that famous cowboy actor Tom Mix. Now Tom is by, at this point in time, the late 20s. Tom is like the biggest star in the country. He is making as a cowboy movie star. He is making $17,000 a week. So that's like pretty damn good money today. You know? Like you're pretty rich if you're making that today. This is like 19 ******* 20, something like he is crazy. That is all of the money in the United States. Our mix is getting for being a cowboy, very handsome. Tom was a good looking guy. He was a real *** cowboy. Tom Mix had been not just like that. He had farmed and ****. He had been as a younger man, was a Marshall in the Old West who got into gunfights. So he was not like it was not acting for Tom Mix. He had done some stuff. Real deal. Yeah. And he's Marian. Like, obviously Marian idolizes this dude. So the two meet like they contrive a meeting and they hang out briefly while Duke is in college. And mix is impressed by Mary and enough that he calls George Marshall a film director and he gets Mary in that first prop job on his first movie. Wow, how did he how, how did he manufacture that meeting? That's so hard. It's not like it is like today celebrities, there's this wall between them and the rest of the world. For a bunch of back in those days, it was not uncommon. Like they just be walking around town filming like celebrity DM's. Kind of, yeah, just walked up to him and **** you know? Wasn't as hard. You might have seen him on set at this point. Yeah, and he's, he's, he's they're kind of in and around the same areas. And yeah, they they they wind up talking and mix does him a real. So, like, that's a pretty cool thing to do for a kid, is just to be like, you got some potential kid. Why not? I'll get you a prop job. Maybe that'll help you move into the industry. Now, most sources you will find, like casual sources will say, like, this is a job that didn't pay well. It was menial, ****** work. That is not true. Biographer Scott Eyman will point out that this was crucial and. Why he was successful later? Because he's a very diligent and skilled prop man. Working in Props teaches him how things look on screen. He learns how to like like because he thinks a lot about how does this. Not just like does this look right, but will this look right on camera, which is an important thing for an actor to be thinking about. If you're going to be a successful actor, you always need to be thinking about how does **** look when it's filmed, as opposed to, you know, how does it just like, look in the real world. And because of the skills he builds as a prop, man. Is gonna be a lot more successful as an actor and eventually a director in the future. And Jensen, his other biographer, points out that he was really well paid. He's getting $35 a week at a time when a lot of people didn't make that in a month as a college gig. So this is a really good job that Tom Nicks had set him up with. Most people would consider this a huge solid, but for the rest of his life, Duke would claim that Tom mixed promised him an on-screen job as a cowboy and then screwed him with the prop job. This is an obvious lie, for one thing. Tom Mix had a group of actual Cowboys that he had with him on the set and any given time to do stunts and **** people that like knew how to ride and knew how to rope and were real good at all the cowboy stuff. He was not known for just hiring random people to his crew because he had folks, he was, he was the top of the game. He didn't just pick up college kids, you know? Marion watched snakes. Robert, OK, That's real world experience it. He didn't know how to lasso, you know, he **** at it. Wow, that is, that is something people will point out. He sucked at lassoing, so he sucked at one of the main things that Cowboys have, one of the big right. And that's part of why Jensen will be like, there's no way Tom Mix wanted to give this kid a job as a major on-screen cowboy. He didn't know how to do any of that **** and Tom mix had a crew of people he'd been working with for years. It seems like entitlement and like also sort of like ego of a movie star in development. Yes, it seems like what has happened is that. Amex did this kid an incredible solid and got him a good paying industry job, and then Duke spent the rest of his life hating his hero for it. Why? Here's what Jensen theorizes. The story is interesting because it is the first glimpse into Duke's little known narcissistic streak and propensity for viewing himself as the victim. It is the first time we see Duke's propensity for viewing his glass as half empty rather than half full, his penchant for thinking himself as lucky, perhaps as unlucky, perhaps Duke believed after spending an entire year. Among the sons of privilege in college that he was entitled to special treatment. Perhaps it is a tale born of public relations. When Duke was cast in his first starring role in the Big Trail, he told every reporter who would listen that he'd beaten out Tom Mix for the role. Now this was again a lie, right? Mix wasn't even working with the same studio. And it said that when John, like when Marion got his first like on camera gigs, he winds up on set with Tom Mix and he, like confronts him about the fact that Mick screwed him out of a job. And mix, being an actual cowboy quote, stared at the ungrateful young Duke with a glare so cold that the chill was palpable. It's just like, the **** are you saying? I love that? Like, yeah, best response? The two never talk against. Yeah, that's what you did to your hero. This dude who does. Like, that's like, imagine that happening to anyone. Today. I celebrate getting you a gig in the industry just because of a casual conversation, like, but also like a little bit of respect, like like I would. I am such a like sort of like, grateful sycophant. I'd be like, Oh yes, give me and I'll take anything. I would never stop saying. Nice **** about Tom mix, you know? But not John Wayne. So he starts working as a prop boy, and he serves as an extra like for side cash and **** just because the film needs it and because he wants to get on screen. His first role on screen is probably an anonymous Yale football player. There's some debate about this. He's uncredited and at least 13 more roles over the next few years. During this period of time, while he's propping it up, he gets married to a young woman named Josephine Sands SAE NZ. She's the daughter of a Spanish diplomat, all of his wives. They're going to be Hispanic or Latin American. Hmm. Marion describes this as love at first sight, but he also slept around on her from the beginning. Sure. His justification before muscular Christianity kind of well, it's even it's shadier than that is that, like, she's Catholic, right? And she can't **** until marriage, so he he decides it's OK for me to sleep around prior to marriage because she can't have sex with me prior to marriage. Obviously, I need to have sex. So this is fine. That's why he dated. Like Catholic, like Latinas. Well, I don't know about that. Yeah, so he, uh, he he does this. He he cheats around on her constantly and then when they get married, it turns out she doesn't have much of a sex drive. His words right, we don't know anything about her attitude towards this, but he decides that because she doesn't have much of a sex drive, it's again OK for him to cheat on her constantly, even while he makes four children with her. So John Wayne, you know, just John waiting it up. Although he's not John Wayne yet. He's about to become that though, because in 1927, Duke. Orison meets John Ford, the man who is gonna make his career now. Ford was and still is a legendary director. A lot of most film nerds will agree he was a genius, like just one of these guys who helps invent the language of cinema in a lot of ways. And Ford is also a hard *** ** * *****. His dad had been a rum runner and a saloon owner. He was a proud Irish Catholic and a violent, profoundly abusive man. John Wayne worked as his first worked as his prop man on a movie called Mother Mccree. And his primary job to was to wrangle geese. During one particularly difficult scene, Ford decided to break the tension by mocking his newest employee, Duke. He asked this new kid if it was true he played football at USC. Marion says yes. And then Ford asks him to show the crew his technique. So Marian crouches down into position and for kicks his hands out from under him. So he falls forward on his face. Wow, that's just like the ship that goes down on a John Ford set and Marion just, you know. Toxic Hollywood. Very much so. Dad is damn thing peak. And so, you know, Marian, this is actually a very John Wayne moment. Gets back in position and tells the director, why don't you try that again? And then when Ford tries it again, John Wayne kicks his boss in the chest and knocks him down. And this is apparently what starts their friendship now. Oh yeah. This may not be true. Jensen, his biographer, doubts this story is at least entirely true. For one thing, Ford and Wayne are the only people who ever. Told the story, despite there being other folks on the set. It's more likely that, like, Ford hit Wayne and maybe like, you know, something happened there. But but this is just a little bit too perfectly masculine of a Hollywood story to be real. Imagine him just like, covered with, like geese **** too. Trying to raise. Probably covered in gay ****. Not fun? Guess. Wriggling. So what they did to create it? If Ford is any good at creating stars, yeah, you have to build this kind of myth of these, of these guys and their relationship. Whatever. The truth is, shortly after this point, John Ford, who's a pretty powerful director at this point, brings unknown prop boy Duke Morrison into his inner circle. Now he doesn't put him in pictures. We'll talk about that in a second, but he brings him in socially and if the picture Jinsen paints. Is accurate. This group that Duke starts hanging out with are quite, quite a bunch of fellows. Quote, Duke insisted that he reveled in the masculine company of Ford's drinking buddies. They formed a group called the Young Men's Purity, Total Abstinence, and Yachting Association, whose goal was, in their words, the promulgation of the cause of alcoholism. They succeeded in their stated goal. Every member became a confirmed alcoholic of monumental proportions. The men often sailed on men's only cruises on Ford's yacht, the Erener to Mazatlán. And stayed in the Belmar Hotel, a brothel. The owner had a pet Python And whenever someone passed out from drink, the Python was placed on the supine drunkards chest. Henry Fonda once passed out on the floor and awoke screaming in terror as he realized the snake had him in his clutches. So they're like sailing to Mexico getting snake drunk like. I like, I love this for them. I do feel like everyone around them hated the **** out of them. This is just like have been insufferable all the me too stories like these guys show up at the brothel and everyone's like, oh ****. ****. Oh, they're already drunk. They might not make it to shore. ****. Well, I mean, that's. I guess that's an easy job, though, if they're already drunk and they're just kind of like, you know, I mean, you know, what are you going to do? Arrive limp **** with a Python? You're like, OK, they'll pay me anyway. They're Hollywood stars. Yeah. You just tell them you did it when they wake back up and they'll feel like it was great. Wow, you were incredible. Yeah, you lasted forever. Oh my God. The is it. This is so also. It's like, very. And this is this is later. But, like, it's very Kavanaugh. It's very, like little Brett Kavanaugh in his day. Yeah. This is like, this is what all of these guys want to be because, you know, we're talking about the, the first era here, you know, with these where, where yachting, Alcoholics Club, they're on yachts, they're Alcoholics. All of them become famous. You know, this is like the toxic masculine dream. Yeah, I hate all of these people. Like, yeah, they're all, they're all much not not nice people. Marino movie that I feel like Quentin Tarantino should have made in terms of like Once Upon a time in Holly needs to still be a movie. Yeah, Marino Harra, who was Ford's number one leading lady at this point. Very pop. Famous star claims that John Ford probably adopted Duke because he was hot and Ford was super bisexual. It is unclear if this was true also the term. Asexual gets used a lot by Jensen because his biography is pretty old and he's not up on his terms. Some people would just say that Ford was gay. It's really unclear what the truth is. Ford was married and he beat the **** out of his wife constantly and in public. That doesn't necessarily mean one thing or the other about his sexuality. You can abuse your wife and be bisexual, but it's worth noting that he pretty much exclusively hung out with hot dudes. Who knows what's going on there? Probably a few things are going on there, you know? Now, this definitely has to be a movie. And like, you know, of course anyone can beat their no, obviously that doesn't say anything about sexuality, but the performative Ness of hitting a woman in public, there's just a level of misogyny that you're like, who is this for? For the idea of how abusive Ford is? Men in the 20s are like that dude hits women a lot. That dude hits women a lot. It is the 20s, you know. Yeah, yeah. It would not be accurate to call John Ford a good friend to to Marion, the Duke in this. Jensen argues that he quote continuously held Duke back for years rather than casting him in any of his many films. He let Wayne struggle on as an extra and prop boy for almost a decade and it's alleged that he also slandered Marion to other directors when they considered casting him interest. So super controlling, very controlling. Very much like I want you around me, but I don't want to let you get successful enough that you can leave me, you know? Alright, right. Good stuff. Cool dude, cool guy. So after years of struggle, Marian Duke Morrison gets cast as a major character in his first movie for the first time. Now this is called words and music in 1939. It's a campus musical. It is not a good movie. Fox buries it with a one day opening run in New York alone. Very wisely. He goes by Marian, goes by. His nickname, Duke in Hollywood, like his his screen name is Duke Morrison rather than Marion. Certainly a good call. The film makes no impact. But afterwards he gets another prop job on another Ford film, born Reckless. And this is where he comes under the IMF. Raul Walsh, who is in the process of casting for a western. He had a clear idea of the kind of cowboy actor he wanted, quote, a true replica of the pioneer type, somewhat diffident, with women being unused to them. But a BearCat? Among the men of the planes. So this is like, it's important for him to be big and tough, but also awkward around women. Like, that's what you want in a male. Like, yeah, you don't want. The masculine ideal at this point is not a guy who's a player. It's a guy who's, like, attractive to women but kind of uncomfortable around them because he spends so much time in the woods, you know, doing manly stuff, right? Impenetrable. Yes. Yeah. And a little bit, you know, that a little bit unavailable, you know? Yeah, because that's hot. So, oddly enough, this fits Mary into a T he's a big guy, he's clearly physically competent. He can at least portray the image of hard won life experience, but he is awkward around women. John Wayne would claim later that he never chased women. This is a lie. But biographer Scott Eyman notes that his friends agree, quote, pushy Dames really scared him, which I think means like women who knew what they wanted. He he yes, he tends to go for inexperienced women. This is got a eventually lead to him marrying a teenager, so heads up to where things are headed. But you know who won't? Well, that's not pretty. Women slash women my age. Yeah. Yeah. You don't wanna you don't wanna marry people who can stand up for themselves because they're as old as you and have an understanding of what it means to an adult. Wouldn't want to get in on this, so, all right, you know, that's probably a good point to end in part one. We got a couple more to go. Francesca, what do you what do you what do you what you got to plug here? Yeah, everybody check out the Situation Room podcast on wherever you get your podcast and we stream on YouTube and Twitch and it's, you know, news, comedy, all the things. Not a lot of John Wayne. So if you need a break from one of the two podcasts aloud. Under the Biden administration? The Biden junta? Yeah, one of the two currently legal podcasts. So yeah, enjoy our new glorious Bidvest regime. And remember folks, if you hear about a podcast other than this one or the situation room, call the FBI. Immediately. Immediately. And and if people don't want to listen to a podcast, they can always read your book, Robert. Oh no, not under the new junta. That's very, very illegal. No more books are allowed to pre-order it from AK Press. None of that. No, they cannot. Into these two podcasts or they can watch reruns of Frasier. Everything else is illegal. Cheers is not legal. Absolutely not. No, no, Frasier still legal. Cheers very much banned. Alright, my God, I I don't want to live in this world. Biden hates Woody Harrelson. Behind the ******** is a production of cool zone media. For more from cool Zone Media, visit our website or check us out on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. 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