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Thu, 28 Apr 2022 10:00
Robert is joined again by Francesca Fiorentini for part two of our three part series on John Wayne.
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Yeah, talking about John Wayne, who is about to get his first. He's just had his first roll on screen. And he's about to get his first cowboy job. So he's he's he's he. He gets on a gig on a film as a as a prop boy yet again with this dude Raoul Walsh. This director and his apparently the thing that gets him his first cowboy job is Walsh catches a glimpse of Marion while he's carrying furniture across a soundstage. He's again, he's huge and very strong, so he has this, like reputation of just like pick up a couch when that needs to be moved and just like walk it. Is on his own, like across the stage or something. And so Raul sees this big ***** of a dude, just kind of manhandling furniture, and he feels that like the Marianne has a warm and wholesome expression on his face. Quote, I stopped and watched. I noticed the fine physique of the boy, his careless strength and the grace of his movement. Now, is this another Ford situation? No, this genuine. He's ogling for sure. But are we grooming? Hashtag Disney grooming? I mean, I think what you've got here is a dude whose job it is like any director. This obviously gets problematic a lot of the time, but as a director, you should be able to let you should be looking at appreciating the way people move and look. That is part of like, your gig is to be like, oh, I like the way that ************ moves. I just appreciate the human form. Yeah, there's a creepy way for that, but in this case it doesn't seem to be creepy. Although I should state, John Wayne's opinion is that this is not the first time Walsh saw him and decided like he looked good. John Wayne's later opinion is that Walsh saw him at a Fox Company picnic when he was super hungover and engaged in a walking contest which he barely won because everybody was still pretty drunk. Whatever the case, Raul Walsh, why did he always has to make these like back stories of like, no actually. I think I beat him at ARM wrestling. That's how we first met. I kicked his *** and then he gave me a part and I was like, this part sucks. It is one of those things. He's a liar, so I wouldn't be surprised about that. Although I don't feel like barely won a walking contest while drunk is particularly cool either. That's true, that's true. So who knows? Mary and his story is very much tall. Privilege. You can't be a 6-3. Brawny man hanging around a film set. Short King is not gonna get noticed doing any of the same stuff. No, no, he is. He is again. Like being a tall white guy is the easy mode of life it is. There's so many things you can you can get out of just by being a tall white dude. It's incredible. So Marion Walsh is like, I like to look at this kid. I wanna make him a cowboy star and he he puts Marion through screen testing, which is like where they put you on camera to decide if you actually do look good on camera. And he does. So they cast him as the star of a of an upcoming film which more than double s his pay overnight. But it's clear however that his he's going to need a new name. Marion Morrison. Definitely not a cowboy actor. Name Duke is better. Let name though, like, that's a ohh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Marion Morrison. Yeah. Absolutely. A great leading female man, but not not good for a cowboy actor in the 20s. You're still not cutting it. They decide not. They decide he needs an even better name, the Duke Morrison. And I'm going to quote from Scott Eyman here. Raoul Walsh claimed that he came up with the name Wayne and that Sheehan, who's another person involved in the films production, added John. But Duke said that the whole thing was. Freehands idea Sheehan was a fan of Mad Anthony Wayne, the Revolutionary War general. Because he had been tough and a non conformist, the John seems to have been an afterthought. But it worked gave the two halves of the name the equivalence of two blocks of granite that miraculously fit together. And one of the things Wayne will later say that I think is true is that it kind of works as a single thing. You call him like John Wayne is a single name on its own, like it's not something you split up in your head. And that's part of why it's so it became so iconic. So obviously they picked this name for him, which is I think objectively a good decision. You can't argue with the results. It's certainly. What about Wayne, John Wayne Johns? No, wait. You call him Wayne or John, but you wouldn't call him Wayne Johns. Yeah. Wayne. Wayne. John fails. Wayne, John can't lift a couch. Absolutely not. No, no. Wayne John is not a *****. John Wayne. ******** *****. I love, I love your interpret like your definition of ***** because it's very different. I think what my understanding of the word showed is, which is like a short, short, squat ****. I have, I have chosen, I have taken it from the show. I think you should leave. So OK as as I do every single thing I say. Yeah, well look, I love that. So Fox, you know, they they changed this guy's name and when they do their press releases and stuff for the movie, he's going to be in the big trail. They have to like, come up with a back story for him and they just lie all the time in these, right? Like they don't give a ****. Your actual back story is Fox is gonna make up whatever it seems best. So they decide to say that his birth name was Wayne Morrison, which for whatever reason sounded better for them than the truth. And John's fine with this. He doesn't fight back. His museum states, quote, it was OK with him if the people paying his salary wanted to spruce up his name, which is reasonable. As a poor kid, if somebody's like, hey, we can make you rich and famous, but you gotta pick a different **** it. I don't give a **** call me whatever you can call me ice TI don't care. Yeah. Yeah, so please take that name away from. She took the only good name I had. She gave the good name to my ******* brother. But that's crazy that you not only inventing like a stage name, but you're like even your given name is not tough enough. You can't let people know you were ever called Marion. You're not going to buy that. Absolutely not. So the big trail is not a good shoot. It it it's it's what you might call a problem. I don't know. You know you, you've you've been on some sets, Francesca. Probably more than me. Certainly more than me. I'm gonna guess. So you tell me how normal this all sounds. I mean, have ogled them. Yeah. Yeah. OK. I guess I've been on, like, upset or two. What's up? You? Yeah. So the cast and crew had to travel out to Yuma, AZ, and Duke. Now John Wayne shows up on set drunk, and he stays that way for days. He gets horrible diarrhea instantly. He gets sick from the water, and he can barely function. He's almost immediately like, both. So sick. That he can't walk and still drinking. So this is his first start. This is his first starring role. Shows up hammered and then start ******** himself. Amazing. Incredible, unbelievable. That where he gets his actual cowboy walk, not only the lean, but sort of the wide leg. Like, I just shot my pants. I don't wanna smear this too much. Yeah, I'm barely holding. It was like, yeah. So Ironized Cody, the Italian man who pretended to be a native. American person takes care of John Wayne during this. When he's got deadly diarrhea, and Jensen, the biographer claims quote, gave him various Indian remedies for diarrhea. Now, again, Ironized Cody's not an indigenous person, so God only knows just spoon feeding him bosta. No, it was just little jello, just a little Shelly. Monticello. Music, food of the plains. Grandpa settles the stomach. Every time. It's like, well, that's some anger. I don't understand your ancient magic, but thank you, Cody. He just smacked him. Yeah, he's literally just cooking a pizza in an oven and everybody is like, Oh my God, look at his, he is not eating. He wisdom. Whiskey is not a meal. So after in Cody's words quote puking and crapping blood for a week, the director of the film, Walsh, is forced to shoot the movie around his star, who is actively dying. At this point, he loses like 18 pounds in a couple of weeks. So again, despite the fact that he has pooping himself to death, he does not quit drinking all day every day. Jensen writes that this was partly a factor of him wanting to show up all of the other drunk people on set. Quote he had to show these self important actors that he was as manly as they were. He drank like crazy which prolonged his dysentery. Nothing more manly than ******** your pants on a set, that is. That is what shows you're tough, pooping yourself to death because you drink so much. I mean, that's how Johnny Depp got into character for Pirates of the Caribbean. That is actually accurate, yes. It is also how Johnny Depp got in the character for being Johnny Depp. Yes. Yeah. Every day it's just rings and ******** his pants. Yeah, exactly. That's that's really all he needs. So Ironized Cody recalled that one night. The drinking got completely out of hand. The Apaches hired to work on the film got really wasted and decided to attack the settlers. They raced into location set on their horses, drunkenly firing arrows into the wagons, the town set, and even the tents in which some of the cast and crew were sleeping. By the way, I have no idea if any of these guys were actually Apache or if they're just cast that way. It's probably a mix. Like a lot of them are probably like Cody. Just like Italian dude. Like who knows? It is Hollywood in the 20s, so Cody wakes. John Wayne up to warn him that like, hey, a bunch of the crew were shooting arrows at other people. Like it's kind of a big mess. As a heads up, there's like an arrow fight going on, on set. And he sees that Duke is, like, too drunk to, like, know what's going on. So Cody sees these, these actors on horses coming, and he decides, well, I might as well join them. So he gets on his horse and just starts shooting arrows at the set. And apparently Duke just keeps lying down and drinking the entire time. So that's fun. That's sounds like a fun filming set to do the golden years of Hollywood. Like, this guy can't even get up. No, he's not. No, like, totally useless. Half the set is like drunk and pretending to be indigenous and shooting arrows at the other half of the set. And then the star is drunk and ******** his pants on on the floor. So it's just grown up Cowboys and Indians? Yeah, we're like grown-ups. Seems like too strong a term. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's a bunch of seven-year olds with access to liquor and real arrows. Yeah, yeah. So the studio is not psyched with their big star. This is not a great first performance. You know, even in the 30s you you wanted a guy who, for example, could hold off on the being an alcoholic long enough to make the movie. Wayne does eventually dry out enough to become functional, and it's because another actor sits down to drink with him and instead of giving him normal whiskey, gives him what moonshine? Basically pure Everclear. And so John Wayne drinks like essentially 180 proof Everclear with a stomach bug which makes him so sick that he stops drinking for a while. God, is there anything alcohol can't do? You just have to jangle keys in front of his face? But like, yeah, like worse alcohol for him, yeah. So the big trail flops not a it doesn't do super well and although people today will claim it was a really good movie, it just isn't like a huge hit at the time. Kind of is. It is not seen as very successful, but it's people will argue it's it's a pretty good movie. Those people are ******* lying. Like, I don't know, it seems maybe it was good like who knows? I would watch the behind the scenes once again, sure, but I would much, yeah like like the documentary about the making of the Isle of Doctor Moreau. Like. Haven't seen it, but believe it's it's the the director. Initial director of the film was a wizard who went crazy and got fired and decided to live in the jungle and sneak on to set in costume every day while they were trying to make the movie. Oh, that's it's it's ******* awesome. It's such a fun story. OK, can I just **** in and say that Ironized Cody's real name was espera Oscar de Corti? He would also like a really effeminate name Espada. Especially, really affected. Yeah. So no wonder he and Mary Ann got along. Yeah, no, it's it's very funny. I do like the image of him, like, feeding lasagna to John Wayne and pretending it's like an ancient Apache remedy for diarrhea. I can't figure out what he's doing. And all of the other Italians in costume are like, yeah, no, that's an ancient remedy. Ohh, Hollywood was pretty racist. Still is. So the big trail, you know it. It doesn't kill his career entirely because a lot of people do see it as a pretty decent movie, but it doesn't. It does like poorly enough that he spends most of the next decade kind of just hanging in there as an actor. He's he's he's moved up solidly from Prop boy, but he's also kind of a side character. He's like Ronald Reagan, right? He's not unknown, but nobody in this. Really considers themselves a John Wayne fan. You know, like they've got a career, they're doing OK, but they're also not like, they're never like top. Build usually, right? They're not. They're not gonna move a lot of butts into seats. And Westerns are pretty much all this out there, correct? There's no there's a lot of gangster movies, there's a lot of romance flicks. There's some like war pictures and stuff like, but Westerns are they're like the Marvel movies of the day, broadly speaking, right? Like, they're the most number one. What tends to get like, not like they're kind of the most consistent way people are making a bunch of money. They're like superhero films broader than Marvel because there's cheap ones, too, because you can make them pretty cheap sometimes, and this is the fast and the furious. Franchise, yeah. There's there's elements of that entity. I don't know, right. Like in Mission Impossible. These are a lot of your action films, right? This is what puts butts in seats. These are the popcorn flicks, right? And John Wayne kind of for a decade is sort of a side character and those sort of movies, right. He's rarely going to be particularly big because he's not a big draw. You know? This changes in 1939 when John gets finally cast in a John Ford cowboy film called Stagecoach. If you have ever whenever you are watching like a movie or a TV show that mentions John Wayne or cowboy movies, you will see the same clip from the movie Stagecoach and it is John Wayne with a lever action gun that he flips over and over in his hand as he fires while walking onto screen and it like slowly zooms on in his face. It is one of the most iconic scenes in Western cinema. Among other things, it's entirely why Terminator 2 the action. Means initially or shot the way. It's why, uh, Arnold in that movie gets a lever action shotgun that he can flip around and fire. It's this really iconic moment that makes its way into a bunch of modern pop culture, right? And that is the moment, that moment when John Wayne walks on scene in Stagecoach that makes him as a a star. And I'm going to quote from a BuzzFeed write up by Anna Helen Peterson. Stagecoach was intended as an ensemble picture. Wayne doesn't even show up until 15 minutes into the film, but when he does, it's with the heroes intro. Wayne twirls his what rifle as if it were a pistol. As the camera zooms into a glorious close up of Wayne's face, it's become one of the most iconic scenes in Classic Cinema and Wayne's way out of quickie western purgatory. Gradually, Wayne became something of a leading man. He was in Ford's next picture, the Long voyage home as a Swedish fisherman and played a Navy officer opposite Marlene Dietrich in seven centers, Wayne's Westernesse. Is treated as a matter of fact. He was, in photoplay's words, the typical Western American open faced and open minded. But the press also emphasized that he enjoyed the finer things. Wayne, dressed with meticulous care like any well capped businessman, looks divine and tucks her tails and doesn't want a guitar or sing sad pieces about western skies either. He lived in an exquisitely furnished home in the swankiest section of Hollywood and has no yin for horses off screen. So he becomes huge after this right Stagecoach makes him into a leading man, and he kind of immediately takes off in Hollywood. Part of it is that he's been in film 20 years. At this point, he's in his he's like 40, he's old enough to get. He's one of these guys who doesn't look right until he gets kind of grizzled. And so he gets very popular for that and he doesn't just get caught cast as the stead in Westerns. And he's kind of the first cowboy actor who's more actor than cowboy because the the the previous generation guys like John Mix are real Cowboys, you know, like that's how they learned the **** that this is the real deal. Wayne isn't really like he's he's got some of that in his background, right. Like he has some claim to it, but it's he's kind of a, you know, he he's a fancy dandy boy, you know, he wants to he's he's. Just having a good time being a rich guy. Yeah, and Annie grew up poor. So it's like, yeah, he's gonna want to not ride a horse to and from set, right? Right. It's often framed as like, he hated horses and was like, no, he just had to do that as a kid. He probably doesn't want to do it anymore. Like he's read too many horses. But that's really interesting that like, it takes, especially in the Westerns and maybe in this time that, like, having an older hero was much more compelling than like, you know, you know, the Tom Hollands of today like a little baby face Spiderman, and you're like, no. Yeah, the grizzled guy killed many, many, many people. You want a guy who's like, looks like he's kind of seen some ****. Who can, who can play that off a little bit? And he doesn't even. This isn't really the height of his career because he's still kind of young at this point. But yeah, this is the first time he gets his big break. He's old enough to, you know, to look like he's been through some stuff. Yeah. Yeah. There's one last postscript to the story of Stagecoach while it ignited John Wayne's career by 1939. Tom Fix was largely out of work and desperate for a good job. He asked John Ford for a part on Stagecoach and Mix would allege until his death that John Wayne begged Ford not to give mix the part sabotaged the guy who got him his first job right. Real ***** ** **** you know? I know. You're gonna get like, Oh my God, that's crazy. Yeah, because it was supposed to be an ensemble cast or an ensemble cast. There's room for everybody, yeah, but you know, if if mix is in there, maybe that's going to take some shine away from John Wayne. He's not gonna because mix is a better cowboy actor. Maybe that's gonna **** with John Wayne's ability to. You know, shine on set right now, dizzy. Learn anything is in this in these years. Like, is he a better alcoholic? #1? He's an incredible alcohol. OK, you gotta give him credit for that. The king. Like, really, honestly, this is a separate story, but when I do my podcast on the Heroes of Drunk driving, he's one of the most influential drunk drivers there ever. Really invented a lot of modern drunk driving techniques. Holding a beer in between his legs, screaming at his wife. Drunkenly from in the back seat while he drives like all of those John Wayne originals peeing in the closet when you think of the bathroom. Nobody could **** in a closet like John Wayne's. Absolutely not. Hell yeah. You know what else is Oscar Worthy? These 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 bill to find all these nuts fees. 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My name is Erica Kelly and I am the host and creator of Southern Freight true crime. 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 is just such a gift. I believe it was 18 months after I got on with Spreaker 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 spreaker, 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 spreaker.com. That's SP. RE aker.com, get paid to talk about the things you love with spreaker from iheart. And we're back and the Oscar for best ad goes to. The one about how mattresses no longer. Uses rare earth minerals mined by slave labor in the Congo to make their beds. Not anymore. Not anymore. Yeah, yeah, that was back in the 1700s. That was back in the 1700s when Mattress was better known as the East India Trading Company. They've moved on. Now they just ship people mattresses. It's fine. We've forgiven them. Yeah, you need to forgive them too. That's the message of our Oscar winning mattress ad. So in the Ford Film 7 centers, John Wayne played opposite Marlena Dietrich, and she's the real actress who inspired the fictional Bridget von Hammermark in Inglorious ********. So in that movie, she is the German actress that Quentin Tarantino insisted on strangling on camera for very unclear reasons. Or maybe not so unclear reasons. I don't. I'm not enough of an expert on that, but it's weird, right? We can all agree it's weird. It's kind of uncomfortable that he did that. Yeah, yeah, I'm remembering that. That's in the yes, yes, yes. It's like the yeah, it's if he wanted it to be his hands on on camera that strangled her. Very weird, but real ****** your feet. God, not before you see your face, Strangler ******* Quentin Tarantino. Such a weirdo. So she's the real actress that that lady's based off of. She's quite a star. One of the most famous leading ladies ever. And certainly in this. Kind of, top of the. ******* female, you know, actor, food chain now in real life, Wayne and Dietrich started hooking up immediately. Sure, she is way more experienced than him. She Oh yeah, yeah, she is Marlena Dietrich. And he is is an awkward boy who spends most of his time drunk with a bunch of dudes on a yacht. So one of the things that, like he obviously he gets super into this thing, he's also kind of insecure with her and around her because she's more experienced than him and more famous than him. So a few things are going on here. This is kind of a complex relationship, although I think from Arlene, she just likes ******* hot actors, you know, he's he's the one who starts developing some complexes around this. Hey boy, boy, lift that couch over there. Yeah, absolutely. Hang on. Let me pour some oil on your back. Keep doing that. No, no, I didn't say come yet. So obviously he's still married to Josie at this point. His his wife, of course. Good old Josie. When they get married, when he and his wife get married, like, their friends from the beginning are like, well, this isn't going to last. He is incapable of not cheating on you constantly, and you are super Catholic now. Heartbreakingly, Josie adores her husband. John mostly seems to be distracted and frustrated by her. She feels like his acting, like her attitude is. I just got to put up with this for a little while. Nobody is enacting very long. Eventually it'll it'll get too old, it'll be a short fling for him, and then he'll figure out something more serious to do with his life. John Wayne kind of used his wife and children the same way, right? This ain't even my whole thing, you know? So he would later complain to friends that he and Josie only had sex four times during their marriage. Yo. ******* probably a lie, but like a gross one. Yeah. So mean. Yeah, the **** dude. He's just so angry that, like, what does that say about you too? Like, that's obviously doesn't look good on you, bro. Maybe she would want to **** you more if she didn't feel like you were ******* every single other person in town because she's not into that ****. Like, maybe maybe your behavior is having an impact on the things you don't like. About your marriage, John Wayne. No, I'm not. He's not going into my wife. You know, I'm saying, like, those kids. Four nuts. Honestly, that was it. That was it. In and out. Five pumps, 4 nuts. I mean, really? She's like, not even that hot like my wife. Like, not as hot as Marlene. Wow. You are just quoting directly from his autobiography, the story of a ***** the tale of John Wayne. So he's initially, some people will say was kind of morally conflicted about all the sleeping around he was doing, but by the time he's an actual star, it becomes just like, totally. He he it it becomes just like so routine to him that he stops trying to hide it. So everyone in Hollywood knows that John Wayne and Marlene Dietrich are sleeping with each other. They do not even like they they're out in public together at events while Josie is 8 months pregnant, which. It doesn't do. She's not happy, you know. That's not great. That's not a great position to put someone in. So she confronts him over it, but she's also too Catholic to divorce him, right? Like you don't do that. So she's yeah, it's it's grody. Parents got divorced? Yeah, because and and he it's interest 20 years earlier or whatever that he doesn't push for divorce because he could have. And Jensen, one of his biographers, suspects that this is because he's still too possessive and insecure about her. And I'm going to actually the ***** ** **** in the relationship. Oh, for sure, absolutely. He's the ***** ** **** in this relationship. I don't know much about Josie, but I know that John Wayne is the bad guy in this relationship. I'm going to read a quote about him as a. As a husband and a father from a from Jensen's book, he demanded his children profess their love to him on a daily basis. Barely able to sleep, Duke awoke every day before dawn and demanded the entire house rise with him, even if it was a day off for family and friends. He had a litany of rules based upon superstitions which were a result of a childhood of poverty and emotional abuse by his mother. Ever convinced that he was destined for ruin, Duke insisted that the superstitions be followed or his life would collapse into abject failure. So he. He he makes bizarre rules for his family. He screams at them if they put hats on beds. Can't do that around John. If you if you spill salt, you have to toss it over your shoulder, which is not an uncommon thing. In this day, umbrellas can only be opened outside. No one can hand him a salt shaker. You don't hand John Wayne a salt shaker. You know what's really funny about that is that. I, like I lived in Latin America for a while. And same thing like, I mean, just the superstition. You put the salt on the table, then you can pick it up. Yeah. There's like a lot like this is not. He didn't invent this. It's not like only to him. Maybe the no hats on beds thing. I haven't heard that before. That's kind of weird. But is he like, you know, look me in the eyes when we tell us otherwise. Seven years, bad luck of, you know, someone is true. That one's true. Like 7 years of bad sex or whatever it is, even though I've only done it with your mom. 4 * 4 times, yes, he says at the dinner table after screaming about salt. But he doesn't mean profess your love like just every day. Yeah, you gotta tell Dad that he's a good dad before he goes out to **** Marlena Dietrich. Yeah, on Rodeo drive out in public. But he doesn't start it. Like it can't be him to say I love you first. That is unclear. But I he does not strike me as a say. I love you first kind of dude. I don't know. Maybe. So he's also like this around his friends. He's got these card playing buddies that he plays cards with and if somebody sets a card on the table. Face up by accident. They have to get up and circle their chair three times in order to avoid bad luck. So he's, you know, again, this is not, I think people might be want to say this is like OCD. I don't know, maybe I'm not going to diagnose him, but these are all like superstitions that exist at the time and he's just this is not an uncommon thing with people who like grow up in desperate situations where they get super paranoid about not wanting to do anything that could make **** go wrong for them because they understand how fragile successes. And how ****** it is when you're dirt poor. I get it, you know, not that it's good, but I understand what's going on in his head here. I think. So. While he's keeping a tight eye on his wife and kids, he escalates his relationship with Dietrich. She later claimed that she more or less directed their affair as the more experienced partner quote. What pleased me most was he wasn't vain or arrogant, far from it. He was insecure as an actor, worried about his talent or what he felt was a lack of it. As a man, he was a little insecure and vulnerable. I was able to help in both. Respects. We had a small affair, a small friendship, which we both enjoyed. Now that's to her again. Marlena Dietrich, huge star. Yeah. He it's a bigger thing for him and it's definitely a bigger thing for his wife, for whom this is devastating. Right. Religious. Like, yeah, you know, is this. He was he was young. He needed somebody to show him the ropes and, like, make him feel better about himself. I did that. It's whatever. And then I went on and fun. Yeah, I like that. Yeah, I enjoyed that. He didn't know how to talk back to me. Yeah, I was poor. Little wife. How cute. Yeah. Months pregnant. She's fat. Four children? Yes. Well, that's really interesting that. I mean, it might. I'm. I'm curious how this ends because I feel like. It's foreboding, like she clearly he was clearly obsessed with it. There's something going on well. That's an interesting part here. So John Wayne was actually in Mexico partying with Dietrich while his wife Josie delivers their fourth child and second daughter, Melinda. So their relationship continued for some time, and while Wayne definitely got along better with Dietrich than he did with his wife, it was also a tempestuous relationship. And I'm going to read a real rough quote from the true life of John Wayne here. Duke handled her the way he handled every woman in his life. When she provoked him, he punched her, and it didn't matter if it was in public on location. For the spoilers in Lake Arrowhead, CA, Duke and Marlene were rehearsing a scene for the film. Duke suggested one way to play. The scene and Marlene suggested another. Duke pressed his point, and Marlene finally shot back. That's a dumb idea. Duke's face turned to stone and his eyes burned with suppressed rage. As the camera was about to roll, Duke angrily retied his bandana, which he'd loosened between takes. Duke tied a bigger than normal knot, and Marlene saw it and told him you don't even know how to tie a bandana. Suddenly, Duke exploded. He swung a huge fist in a Roundhouse right, and hit Marlene right in the face. She went flying, landing. Hard in the rough dirt, Marlene lay sprawled on the ground for a moment, gathering her senses. She didn't cry now. No, no, she was on the ground and straight up. When she came to, she lit a cigarette. That's well, it's actually more uncomfortable than that, Francesca, because according to Jensen, who's source here is the actress Margaret Lindsay, who is there on set. When this happens, she looks up at him with intense arousal, gets up, and gives him what his. Described by this other actress as a love punch. And then they start making out. So I don't know, I don't know. I don't know what you wanna do with this information. How you wanna parse that all out. But that's what someone else who was there says went down. I've been waiting for you to do that since the moment I met you. He he will he will be repeatedly physically abusive to people, to women, specifically throughout his life. It is unclear to me if that's what's going on here or if they just had kind of a thing where that I know. I really don't know. Like, I don't know what's going on with these two. I mean it's interesting though, because she as even though she did that, you got to think about. Being a star like her, in that time you're on set, this guy who you're sleeping with who's younger, more inexperienced, hits you. What are you gonna do, like, cry or be mad or whatever that shows so much vulnerability you're going to get up and be like, no, I liked it exactly. Whatever, you know? That is much more a position of strength when you've got to protect your image. That's right, right. And that's a huge probably part of what's like, I I mean, I don't know these people, obviously, but that seems really plausible to me. And I'll ******* embarrassing otherwise. And again, a number of people through the years and other circumstances see John Wayne hit women in public, like, with his fists. Not that like, a slap is OK either, but like, specifically, like punching them. It's just like a thing, John Wayne. Was like his like his like his mentor John Ford. Ohh yeah, cool dudes learned it from the best. So yeah, it is also, yeah, so Duke's relationship with Marlene fell apart for the same reason so many of his relationships did. He started ******* a teenage girl in Mexico. Yeah. So that's why this doesn't work out. She may have been working as a prostitute at the time. Her exact background is kind of unclear. Some sources will say her mother ran a brothel. That was very popular with the actors and that's where John Wayne meets her. But we know that he definitely, at age 34, I think starts ******* at at the oldest. She's like 17 at this point. Her name is Esperanza Bower. She goes by Chata. Biographer Randy Roberts writes in his book John Wayne American quote, Chad's life before 1941 is a mystery. She was never accepted in Hollywood and rumors circulated at the time that she met John Wayne that she was working as a high-priced call Girl and a bit actress in the Mexican film industry. Pilar Wayne later wrote that Chata was born in the slums of Mexico City and became a prostitute to escape poverty. Others said that when Chada and Duke met, she was married to a Mexican student named Eugenio Morrison. We really don't know. What her background is, but we know she is, uh, a teenager and possibly a sex worker. Hard to say. Roberts chata. Yeah, and maybe even the worst, which is not a sex worker, but the daughter of someone. Traffic was not actually working. And then it's hard. Yeah, preyed upon. We really do not know the precise details here. Other than that it's for sure. Gross, right? It's for sure. Gross, it's for sure bad stuff, it's just the exact dimensions of like what precisely was going on is kind of unclear, but it's for sure bad. And I should note here that like Roberts's book is way classier, and it's description of Chata than Jensen's book. What American? John Wayne American? Well, Gee, I mean, cause Jensen is like the most negative book about John Wayne, but it's also written by a dude who was writing, at least in a pretty gross time, and I think was kind of gross himself, because he describes chada as, quote, an underaged prostitute with a smoking body and amazing good looks. Oh my God, like all the **** Jensen. What the **** dude? And that's her biography. If you are describing someone as an underage prostitute, the whatever comes next should never include the phrase smoking body. Never. You have just stated you're talking about a child. Richard Jensen. God. What up? Again, John Wayne biography is probably only moderately less terrible than John Wayne. No, exactly. He's only a few gradations better on the me too creepy predator scale. And again, I I also I am unclear as to how much we should like. There's a lot of people who argue if someone's underage, you should always say sex trafficking victim rather than prostitute. But also this is a real different time and I don't know the extent to which. She has agency in her life, and 17 is means a different thing in 1939 than it does today. In some ways, like, I have no idea what's going on. I have no idea whether she's a victim of her mom or if she is pursuing a rich guy to get out of like Mexico and into the United States and like, like, who? I don't know what's happening from brothel to Hollywood. Like, yeah, I'll take the deal because she's also trying to get a career in Hollywood, which John Wayne attempts to help her with. So, like there's there's stuff going on here. It's certainly horrific behavior on John Wayne's part, but was there love? You know what I mean? John Wayne falls in love. He says he will for years call her his true love, even after they have split up and he punched punches. Ohh, he punches her a lot. He punches her a lot. So whatever is going on in her background, Wayne falls in love immediately. He moves her to California, where he has her tell people she's 24 years old. So he knows this is, again, we just said, like, these are somewhat different times and some of this stuff is viewed differently, but John Wayne knows this is gross enough that he has to age her up, you know? Like, so again, not that different. Yeah. Even for Hollywood people. Like, that's kind of young, John. Yeah. He starts trying because one of the things that's important to him, and again, we don't know how much it is that she wanted a career in movies. There's an argument to be made that he wanted her to be seen as having a career, so it doesn't look like he just trafficked a girl from Mexico into Hollywood. So whatever's going on here again, super messy, super messed up Marlena Dietrich, when she finds out that what he's doing, that he's that he's set this girl up with an apartment in Hollywood and brought her into the country, she dumps him. She's like, Oh no, no, no, like, that's that's ******* weird, John. So I don't know. Good for Marlene, I guess. Yeah, she's fine. He's still married to Josie at this point, though, and if she wasn't happy with Marlene Dietrich, she's really not happy with with this, not psyched about what what John is doing now. Her parents are both high society Catholics and so he's called upon regularly to show up at a Vincent functions and you know, he's surly because he'd rather be ******* someone who is at the oldest now, 19, right? They've been together a couple of points, so he just acts like * **** at all these. 30s he goes the events to cruise for. Like young Catholic girls, he goes to the event so that everyone knows how much he doesn't want to be there. Like. He sulks because he'd rather be with his, like, teenage mistress and the apartment that he makes the studio pay for her. In Hollywood, one of the family friends was like, and they did and they did. Yeah, so he's like, not only is he cheating on his wife with a teenager, but he has to, like, make sure everybody knows how unfair he thinks it is that he has to show up at parties where adults are. Cool guy, John Wayne. What a dude. So when Hollywood is helping bankroll, sort of the because he's too big of a cash cow for them to, like telling them a lot of money. Yeah, this is the early 40s. He he moves chada to Hollywood in the spring of 43. Some will argue that it was like part of what he was doing by having the studio pay for her apartment and pay for her to like. They they would give her, like, money every month that it was partly like a tax dodge. Like that's how he received some of his salary so that it wasn't taxed. I don't know how to evaluate the truth of that, but it does sound like some movie star ****. Like not only are you like keeping a secret teenage mistress, but you're doing it as a tax Dutch, you know, like everyone's on board. Yeah, that's that does sound very Hollywood and in the nows too. Like that's not just a 40s thing. So the two start seeing each other probably in 41. I think like 43 is when she moves to Hollywood. That's also the year 1941 that the United States helped along by our buddies in Japan. Decides to give this whole World War Two thing a try, right? So this is our big old patriotic war, right? Every everybody's gotta go volunteer to fight. It is all but unthinkable for young leading men in the prime of their life action movie stars, right? You've got this war where absolutely every man who can is doing something. It's considered obscene by a lot of people that somebody capable of doing action and like in the film, somebody like being a war hero in movies wouldn't go volunteer to fight to serve in some way, right? Jimmy Stewart tries to join the army. He gets rejected as being under. He is just one like I think an Academy Award. This is right after it's a wonderful life. He he's one of the biggest stars in the world. He gets rejected for being underweight, so he hires a personal trainer so he can bulk up and he joins the Army Air Corps and he's he flies 20 bomber missions over Europe like the most one of the most dangerous jobs of the entire war, Jimmy Stewart. He retires as a general, like, yeah. Jimmy, Jimmy Stewart bombs like Europe, repeatedly like he is. He has an incredibly dangerous job. They didn't need all those bombs. Some of them, yes. But yeah. But it's also, like, undeniably, as one of the biggest stars in the world, he takes a job where, like a huge percentage of men who do that job die doing it. Yeah, like, it is incredibly dangerous. And there's a lot of famous actors who do similar things. Clark Gable, who was over 40 at the point and was old enough that he could have gotten out of serving. Joins the Air Force. Some will say he was suicidal because his wife had just died, but he flew. He also flies bomber missions as an aerial gunner. Clark Gable is like crammed into a gun in the belly of a bomber, like shooting at fighter planes. And so even though it's not like all these movie stars, you know, were once action heroes or the detectives or anyone who in real life, they become them because it's sort of still seen as, you know, you know, serving your country and your role model, even though, like some, a lot of these guys go on to be politically. Problematic. But they're all human enough to look at the Nazis and be like, I should probably do something about that, right, where we probably gotta do something about that. Right, right, right. Or just even even, like the idea that you would attempt to physically train to be able to like, like, Jimmy could have just like, you know, tried to put on like, I just can't do it, you know? He's got to take it off. Yeah. Yeah, he committed, huh? Oh my God, that yeah. All right. And so and so Henry Fonda, who could have gotten out of the service because he had three kids and initially they weren't drafting like fathers, right? They were trying to keep families together. They were mainly drafting single men. Fonda could have gotten the deferment. Instead, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and again, like serves his country at war. Now. A lot of big stars did not join the military. Gary Cooper doesn't join Bing Crosby, James Cagney, but they're also way over 40, I think. At this point, like, they're old enough that, like, well, I just can't, you know, I'm an old man. I'm just gonna slow everybody down, right? Which, fair enough, you probably shouldn't be getting into that stuff. If you're Bing Crosby and you have been chain smoking cigarettes since age 8, you might not be helpful. But John Wayne was young enough to serve. He's in his mid 30s at this point, right? He is the prime of his life. He is a big, strong man. Initially, though, he qualifies for a deferment. And he gets a deferment because he has a wife and kids, right? I got six kids, you know, I'm gonna keep saying good old, good old Josie. I gotta stay with Josie and the kids, you know? I gotta keep him. I gotta keep him, you know? I gotta. I I wanna go out there and fight the crowds, don't get me wrong, but, uh, this family, I'm so dedicated to my family. I've got a ******* teenager. Yeah, yeah. I've got a wife that sleep around on. I have kids to ignore. So he gets a deferment, and his studio uses his family as an excuse for the fact that he's not serving, but because the press asked. Right, John Wayne's a big star. He's not. What? What are you doing in the war, John Wayne that everyone else is a part of? This excerpt from an article in modern screen is a good example of how they justified this quote. A man of 35 heading to a family of six has to think twice before leaving just the same. Big John Wayne is restless because, like I said, he's a man's man who thinks straight and believes in action. It's a dilemma for a family man and an American gentleman who wants to make a personal appearance in the big scrap. So that's how they frame it is like, oh, you really wants to get in there. But ah, he's just got it. He's got his family. He loved to make a cameo, but he just, he's ******* a teenager that he traffics into the United States. You know, I'm not sure if you've heard of the Alcoholics Yacht Club. Very important work that they're doing out there in Mexico. Really. The most important branch of the Navy is the Alcoholic Yacht Club. Yeah. Yeah. So he would love to. Oh my God, he's so loved to be there to help your little war ever. Yeah. Now, it's very funny too, because while he's making these claims and 42 and 43, he has already moved Chata into Hollywood and asked his wife for a divorce. They are separated when all of that, when he's claiming all of this **** to the press. Now hang on. Not yet, not yet, honey, don't sign the papers. Don't. Not quite yet. Not quite yet, man. Now, although actually I should say he really does want it. She refuses to divorce him for a while because you know, she again, she's incredibly Catholic, and his mentor patron John Ford gives him hell too for trying to divorce her. Because he's Catholic, right? Ford, who again beats his wife relentlessly, believes that John Wayne should stay married because that's what God wants and just keep cheating on his wife. Oh yeah. I mean, like that's the job board way, but also trap them, that's what. John. Come on. Yeah. So that's what a ******* like so good on Clyde and Molly. I just want to say that, you know, early years, a lot of things trying to farm in the desert, but also getting a divorce and one of those two things was success, being abusive, really very revolutionary that Molly was the one doing the abusing 2A plus like incredible work. So it is worth emphasizing that John Wayne, while he dodged the draft in World War Two, justified it by needing to take care of his family. While he's doing this, he is living away from his wife in luxury at the Chateau Marmont and ******* a girl who is at most 19 who he possibly illegally trafficked into the United States. That part's questionable, but yeah, it's cool stuff. He's a cool dude. So on brand for very, very hollow Christian masculinity, like, you know, Emblem that he is. He doesn't actually. And and kind of the shift of like, Oh no, no, no. That's the old way, is to actually put your money where your mouth is or do something like be a hero. This is like, it's all just pretend. Yeah. Yeah. Matt Gaetz is playing from this playbook, you know? Exactly. I'm just like thinking like, what if, like, Jenna Bush was sent to Iraq? LOL. Like Jenna Bush, I mean, is Co hosting Good Morning America? You know, I'm saying, yeah, I I think we should send all of the children of elected leaders into war zones. I don't care which ones. They don't need to be supported or have. What? Just send them. Just mail them there. You know what, like in a shipping crate? It's the Today show. But yes, they should. And they should all be sent there. I mean, retroactively. You could still go to Iraq. I, like, help rebuild, bro. Well, I don't think I don't look. Think the Iraqis need Jenna Bush's help? Why not? You know, she could take somebody's place in a city getting shelled right now. Just move them into your house, Jenna, come on. Indeed, do something. So Ford chastises John Wayne for quote this is how he talks about John Wayne's teenage I don't know what term to use here, but he he says that children playing with Mexican jumping beans cause again, everyone's very racist, very like these are like, this is Fort 1943, you know, like. But he also calls him a damn fool for breaking up his marriage. According to biographer Roberts, Wayne wrote back that the marriage is over and he quote does not give a four letter word if I could see my kids. I'm gonna **** if she takes the kids. Awesome. What a hero. So there are several things John Ford never forgave John Wayne for, and this is one of them. When the war started. Ford to his credit. Well, I don't know if it's to his credit, but Ford joins the OSS, which is the precursor to the CIA, and he gets the rank of commander and he gets this to make like, propaganda movies, right? That's what Reagan does during the war, right? A lot of guys who don't wanna go fight because not everybody does the Jimmy Stewart thing. Still join the military. And they make propaganda reels about how not to get VD or whatever. John, so that's John Ford's job stuff in those days. There was some good stuff, some good DVD, you mean? Yeah. Oh my God, the old time. Syphilis. This new **** cannot compete. No, the itch isn't the same. Just yeah. No, the Bernie kid pee. It just doesn't hold a candle. You kids don't even know what it's like to have your pee burn. Unbelievable. Zoomers. Yeah, so biographer Scott Eyman basically said so again. Ford joins the OSS and starts calling John Wayne a coward for failing to serve and tries to push him to Join Now there's a couple of different versions of what Wayne wants to do in the OSS. Biographer Scott Eyman frames it as if John Wayne wanted to get like a special OPS gig suited for an action star. So an imans telling he crafts his application to the OS to make him look like an international man of mystery. Quote swimming above average, small boat sailing, average football played college ball at the University of Southern California Squash and Tennis Fair. Deep Sea fishing, 7 Marlin in two years. Hunting good field shot. Horseback riding have done falls and posse riding and pictures. Not as easy as it sounds. So that's that's the way like I'm in is like he wants to try to get a job doing like you know secret agent kind of **** squash and tennis. There. OK. It's basically throwing a grenade, you know? Fair. Yeah. So Ford introduces John Wayne to Wild Bill Donovan, who's the head of the OSS and, like, will become the founder of the CIA. And Donovan suggests that Wayne might be good for what they call small boat work, which is running the German blockade to deliver weapons to partisans, which would be a pretty cool thing to do in World War Two. OK? If he really wants to get him a bit role in the war, in the war, well. And, like, if he done this, that's dope. Like that's literally *******. What's his name's character in Casablanca? Ohh yeah, yeah yeah. Bogart, Bogart. That's what he's doing. He's like running guns to to rebels in, like, occupied Europe and ****. So Inman says, like, that's what John Wayne is trying to do. Wild bills. Like, Oh yeah, you'd be perfect for this. John Wayne's like, I would love to run guns past the Nazi blockade. I just got to finish three more movies. Like give me three more movies, but then I'm going to, I'm going to be ready to get in, you know, I'm ready to get in. And friends of his at the time will note that he kind of always tells people, I just got to do one more movie. I got to do 2 more movies. And then I'm getting into the war effort. Don't worry, guys. I'm. I'm almost there. I'll be right behind you. This is like Trump on January 6, just like you guys go. So I'll be right there. There are versions of this story. 1 version is that he films his three pictures, and he calls this officer at the OSS that Donovan had set him up with. And that guy was like, dude, we sent you a letter, you know? Did you not get it? We already filled that position. So John gets worried. He's like, Oh no, I'm going to miss my chance to be in the OSS. And he sends John Ford a letter. Which states, dear Papi, have you any suggestions on how I should get in? Can I get assigned to your outfit? And if I could, would you want me? How about the Marines? You have army and Navy men under you. Have you any Marines? Or how about a Seabee? Or what would you suggest? I just hate to ask favors, but for Christ's sake you can suggest, can't you? Now, Iman's take here seems to be that John Wayne was perhaps unwilling to fight but or willing to serve, but not as like a simple soldier. Whatever he was going to do, he wanted it to be like a special position. One that works matched his opinion of himself and something that would exclude him from the standard military chain of command. So like Jimmy Stewart, Gene Autry, Clark Gable, these guys are all fighting as normal soldiers, more or less. John Wayne does not want to do that, Scott Eyman writes. Quote it's probable that Wayne was emotionally committed to working under Ford's command, was embarrassed about Donovan shying away from him at the height of the war, and simply wasn't willing to enlist and take his chances. Certainly he had an image of himself as an officer under Ford, but as he would say. I would have had to go in as a private. I took a dim view of that so. The reality is unclear and again, some people will say initially John Wayne was trying to get this gig running guns. Others who say he only just wanted to be in Ford's unit, making movies like he never wanted to get close to the danger, hard to say. The author of the BuzzFeed right up I quoted earlier adds quote the truth of Wayne's hesitation was logical. If unspeakable. He'd worked for a decade to claw his way out of the quickies. If he left Hollywood, then even to serve his country, he might not ever regain his momentum. So he stayed put, made a dozen films, two of which dealt with the war. And allowed the press to rationalize his lack of service. Umm, he doesn't want to **** his career up right now or his hair or whatever his hair. And that's the dominant theory. Now Richard Jensen has a third theory which it list at least explains why Wayne was not accepted for the OSS. He argues that while John Ford was giving John Wayne **** for not serving and being like, why are you being a coward? Why aren't you willing to like man up and and take part in this war? While he's doing that, Ford is also telling Wild Bill Donovan don't hire. This guy, don't let him in. Don't, don't bring this guy like he done before. You know, he does this like about roles in Hollywood. So friends shreks. That's a totally attracts. That's absolutely the guy. John Ford is right. Because he's already fallen out with him by this point. So he, well, they're in and out a bunch. Like they they're close. Like Wayne will take care of him when he's sick and dying. They have a codependent kind of thing, right? Right. Like it's totally a codependent relationship because like, Ford will want nothing to do with him. And then one. Back and kind of like, yeah, they kiss that one time, but they were drunk and they were drunk. They were spooning. Hmm. But it was cold. So, you know, John Ford kind of ******* her. And he does this sit, like, when he's not, when he's like, **** shutting down Wayne's ability to get roles early on in his career. He's also constantly being like, no, you're not talented, so nobody's going to want you to act in their movies like you ****** at acting. You look like crap. You're fat, you know? He's like the worst person voice. Yeah, and of course John Wayne loves him forever and takes care of him when he's sick and dying. But yeah, so friends speculated like, this isn't Jensen who invents the speculation. People who are close to both of them speculate that Ford stops John Wayne from getting a job as the OSS. Some will say it's revenge for what he did with Chata that he, like, is divorcing his wife. You know that Ford is just angry that he's getting a divorce because he's super Catholic. Jensen notes that other speculated Ford didn't want John Wayne to get a chance to, quote, prove he was Ford's. Equal. So he just didn't want him to like. He wanted him to kind of look like **** for not being in the war, because otherwise he might look good. And then that's bad for Ford because it makes Ford less powerful in the relationship. I don't see why both can't be true. I think it seems like both are true anymore, Wayne to think he was. He wanted him in the war and Wayne didn't even want to go. He sure didn't. That seems really clear that John Wayne did not want to go to ******* war. And I I mean, look, I don't blame him, but yes, it is. I don't. I don't cling to this kind of masculinity. Yeah. So I don't have the same. But it does seem like a wiggle oversight for those who are waving Wayne flags at rallies. Still. Yeah. It it's it's that's exactly like, right. And it's going to get grosser later. Like, obviously, as a general rule, I am pro draft dodging. I will say World War Two is the one war where you're kind of. Questionable if you're dodging it because, like, some **** did need to get done, you know? Yeah, but generally speaking, I'm pro draft dodging. But not when you become like, Super Pro War forever after that. Then then you're being scummy. If you draft Dodge and you're like, nobody should have to fight in a war, that's fine. That's perfectly consistent. That is not where John Wayne's going to go, right? And your entire persona is crafted around sort of this American hero worship, and you rely on that and you're winning. These, you know, battles on the frontier, you're forming a nation. You are literally playing soldiers fighting in the battle of Iwo Jima. You know, that's like one of your iconic films. And like you, you didn't even wouldn't even make, didn't even find out a way to make movies for the government during the war. Like, right, let alone do the ****. And by the way, Jimmy Stewart, never a big action star, but ******* put up when it was time to put up, put his ******* money where his mouth was. Anyway, you know who else puts their money where their mouth is? Products and services who support this podcast who also helped carry out the bombing of Fortress Europe. Good on them. Hmm. That's the that's the one promise that our sponsors make is that they have bombed German cities. Absolutely. From it's the Italian cities they have problems with. You know what I mean? They were already. It was over, yeah, dropping pasta on them way too much bombing of Napoli. Yeah, it was. It was a lot of pretty cities get pretty ****** ** here. Look, it's it's a messy war. So 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. 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Get paid to talk about the things you love. Spreaker from iheart. We're back. So, so good ****. It's good stuff. John Wayne does like volunteer, spends like three weeks visiting troops fighting in Guam. Like he does a little tour. He does some USO **** but not not much. Scott Eyman, who is like a very positive biographer, really likes John Wayne, even notes that, like, he didn't really do much in World War Two by the standards of other guys, even other guys who didn't join the military. He did less than them. He just visited troops and like flipped his pistol around a few times and he doesn't visit him much like Bob Hope, right? Who sucks bad person. There's a lot of, like, horrible regressive politics, but Bob Hope cannot serve in this. And like spends like his whole all of his time going to field hospitals and doing shows like there are guys who don't serve but still like put a huge amount of time into like, keeping morale up for troops. John Wayne does a bit of that, but he he doesn't really want to take a break from his career. To even do that. He would visit USO hospitals to talk to wounded soldiers who would often ask him, why aren't you in this war, Duke? And he would he would be like, I have an old football injury. Yeah, I just threw my back out. Boy. OHS, you know? You ever heard of body surfing? Yeah, like we used to do in the Old West. Like like every single soldier who landed at Normandy hadn't ****** themselves up playing football as a kid, right? Like they didn't have pads back then. All of them were dead shoulder and back injuries. No, you are cannon fodder. You need to go now. It's fine. If your back hurts, it'll be over soon. Yeah. God. So he. Yeah, he sometimes would say that President Roosevelt had asked him to keep morale up by making more movies. This is super untrue, but he doesn't make a lot of movies and obviously this works out great for him career wise because all of the other leading men who might take roles for him are off fighting and in some cases dying. You know that apparently brilliant strategy I love. Have you seen gone with the wind? I have. You know, the kid the like fresh faced young kid who like Mary Scarlett early in the movie and becomes. Like goes off to die and dies in the Confederate army? Yes, yes. He he actually dies fighting in World War Two. Ohh dear. Like he dies in combat. Yeah. So this is again, a lot of times you have like soldier, like, especially nowadays war. You're like hanging in like a glass cockpit on the bottom of a plane exposed to gunfire with no armor. And if you get shot, you just get the air sucked out of you and pulled to the ground. It's a horrible job Butler did that. **** yes, he he *******. Yeah, he he sure did. Look, he's not he's pretty right wing himself, but definitely hot like we could we could be fair about that, comparing pieces of trash. I mean, like, that's what this show is, is. It is, though, funny that Rhett Butler goes to war and, like, survives, and the kid who dies and gone with the wind also dies fighting the Nazis. Oops, little on the nose, Hollywood. So if you're surprised that the man who dodged the draft in World War Two, which is the only war in which that's arguably unethical, goes on to become a right wing icon, you should not be. What's interesting is that John Wayne himself would spend the rest of his life outraged by his own failure to serve. Whether it was venal, profit seeking, or simple cowardice, he saw it as the ultimate strike against his machismo, and Ford never lets him forget it. Oh God, perhaps the first expression of this comes in 1944. When he helps to create the Motion Picture Alliance for the preservation of American ideals or MPA. Now with a name like that, you know some ****** ** culture war ******** is about to drop and it sure did see brown people will be killed in the in these films. I mean it's more that like these guys are ******** anti communist, which if you're an anti communist in the US World War Two, you kind of got to sit out a little bit like you got to kind of keep quiet because the Soviet unions are ally. You can't, kind of. You cannot be as unhinged in your attacks against Communism for four years or so, right? Yeah, because we we kind of need them to do all of the hold. You put that on hold in the war because we need like 20 million of them or so to die fighting. So 1944 they start this anti Communist organization kind of near the end of the war. And John Wayne had not been political earlier in his career. He would later claim to have even had a socialist. I don't know how true I think that is. It's kind of a right wing thing to claim. He used to be a socialist in college. Then you saw the light. I think he's one of the first guys to do that. Absolutely. This is. Yeah, that is such a playbook. Yeah. His friend Henry Fonda later recalled, quote, the Duke couldn't even spell politics in the 30s. So I think it's probably he just did not give a ****. But in the early 40s, again, he's got to do something to feel like a man. He's got to do something to like shore up his credentials as a tough guy. And being anti communist seems like the best bet. So he gets elected head of the Screen Actors Guild in the early 40s and he claims that becoming the head of a union is the first time he starts to notice the deadly trend of on wrestling socialism once you. Yeah. Yeah. That's so perfect. That's also just so peak like right wing icon. Idiot. Oh yeah, it's it's beautiful. Thanks to this Union, I realize unions are terrible. Yeah. Like, except for this one. And the police. Once you get unions, once you get sensitized to it, he told an interviewer, you'd begin to be aware of cracks at our President, the flag, patriotism. He described the attitude of his colleagues towards traditional Americana as, quote, a kind of sneering. Now this is all I know, you ******* *******. This is all **** he would claim later, after he became a political figure. Film critic and historian Emanuel Levy believes that guilt. Over his failure to serve in World War Two drove Wayne to right wing politics. There's ample evidence to suggest this. Friends of his like Mary St. John, often gave telling anecdotes. Quote he was not the kind of man to dwell on it or talk about it, but you knew he did. You could see it in his face. Whenever anyone asked him about his war record, he wouldn't tell them that he had not served, and it made him feel like a hypocrite. So that's so perfect. Of course you're going to make up for your your feeling that you didn't defend your country by you utilizing the most ******** prop of so-called Americanism, which is defending yourself against communism. Yeah, and and oh, it's so. It is so perfect. And it is like the parallels again to today, to Trump's little bone spurs. I hate to bring his name up again, but just it's so clear and the people who are the most vitriolic. Are also folks who would never in their ******* lives fight for any cause? Yeah, it's the same **** with like George Bush, you know, getting, getting a cushy family excuse not to actually fight in Vietnam, right? You know, it's it's it's it's it's this. But like, super willing to send other people to fight. And then when matters is the image. It doesn't matter. Like what you do doesn't matter. It's just like why you can you can pay for your daughter to have an abortion and also support ending the right to to to reproductive choice because it's not what you do that matters. It's what you say you know in public. And it's whether or not you have the where the right hat. It's like Ben Shapiro with his cowboy hat and his big black truck. That's exactly what it is. You've never towed Ben Shapiro. You don't know. Outer toe, you know how to set a ******* toe hitch? Like, by God, you would panic if you had to change lanes with a trailer, like, but you're gonna you're gonna have a truck with this. Obviously, that characterization. Again, hall. Like a ******* tin foot, little bit little baby trailer. Just just once. Spin. Show me you know how to use a truck for literally anything. Tiny boat work. What is it? Small boat? Small boat work? Yeah, ******. Couldn't do small fishing for Marlin. *** **** it. Go run some guns, John Wayne. So. Levy Eugene Emmanuel. Levy the the ******* film criticism claims that, like this sort of shame is what drives Wayne to the MPA in 1944. Like his blockbuster war movies doing, this was a prominent and easily publicized way to frame himself as a warrior struggling against a great evil when he had actually failed to do anything about the real great evil of the time. He served as the President of the organization starting in 1949. Now, the year before, at age 41, John Wayne was cast in a film called. Red River this would be the first movie to feature Wayne as he is now most famous to millions of Americans as a gruff, hard edged, late middle-aged cowboy. Because again, he's aged like he looks like he's in his 50s in this because, but also kind of the perfect. Like American hero. Yes, sort of unwitting, like I don't wanna be here. Yeah, like protagonist, which is something that we love. We love a guy like about to retire, but he gets drawn out of retirement because he's got a ******* kick. Yes, yeah. It's like you're ******* John McLean. He's balding and divorced and he's like, exhausted. But then he's gotta go murder some Germans, you know? Right? We love that ****. Bruce Willis did this perfectly. Yeah, he really did. He did everything right in his in his career. Also terrible politics, probably. I've never wanted to know what Bruce Willis believes about politics. It seems like that wouldn't make me happy. It's also changed in the last like 10 years. I feel like we're whereas like right wingers, we would think we're more right wing in Hollywood like 10 years ago or just like, hey, that guy's pretty good, you know, he's fine. Yeah, it's it's it's the Arnold Schwarzenegger thing where it's like you've suddenly gone from being like an arch conservative to one of the least crazy people talking about politics in America because everything has lurched so far to the right. It's it's great, it's fine. It's not going to cause any problems. So it's this John Wayne, this kind of tough older cowboy, Umm, this old hand who he's like one of the terms. He's a begrudging tutor for younger Cowboys, right? That's a big part of his appeal in these movies is he's taken some fresh faced young book under his wing. This is the John Wayne. He's a star at this point. This is the John Wayne that becomes an icon, right? Like this is the John Wayne whose face is still plastered all over ******* merch tables at gun shows to this day. So his his career torpedoes. Forward at the same time as his anti Communist activism lurches forward, he serves three turns as president of the the the the MPA until 1952. Now, since this was the height of the second Red Scare, many of John Wayne's friends and many of the studio executives in particular warn him that, like, hey, you might not want to get into politics this much, it it could kill you at the box office. Americans, whatever we feel about communists, may not want to see John Wayne, Cowboy hero wearing a suit talking to Congress. About like your your colleagues being socialists. So John Wayne claim, like, it's one of those things the the idea that, like, this is probably not true. The idea that like, he got a lot of pushback saying he shouldn't get into right wing politics is probably a lie because John Wayne is the only one who claims it and he only ever brings this up to point out that. But even then I became the biggest box office draw in Hollywood after, you know, I started doing all this stuff. So like that's how he frames it as like they didn't want me to start being anti communist. But once I did, that just made me more. Popular. Yeah, it's once again trying to cancel me. Yeah, first they took Jenny and then they take my anti Communist activism. He is by the way, married to Chada and has divorced Ginny. At this point, whether or not like his kids today will claim I should note that he was a good dad and like stayed in their lives. I don't know what the case is. Some biographers have claimed other things, but his kids are pretty positive about it. Point they said that. I mean, maybe. I don't know. I'm not gonna tell them what their lives were like. He's certainly like, I don't think they they wanted for anything, right? Like he didn't like, like they benefited from the Wayne money. It seems like so true. So Eugene Levy describes how he generally framed this to the press. Wayne said that those who warned him must have meant it would ruin me with the Moscow fan clubs because when I became president of the Alliance, I was 30 seconds on the box office polls. But last year I'd skidded up near the top. This is very familiar, right? Thing framing, right? They tried to cancel me, but I just. It just made me more popular. All that ****. He's the perfect figurehead for not World War Two, arguably the most righteous American war, but the Cold War the most absolutely exactly like, unrighteous, like pillaging, you know, third world countries or global S countries under phantom threats. I'm not saying it didn't get real. It's at a certain point, but like it was such a propaganda war. We have this one war that is unquestionably necessary, and he's like, Nah, that ain't me. But then we start invading these tiny little countries. He's like, Oh yeah, yeah, **** him up, line me up. **** him up. Hmm. Yeah, it's cool. He he invents being James Woods in a way. So the part of the second Red Scare that John Wayne was personally involved in was the backlash to the Pro Soviet movies that he made in the early 1940s. Members of the House UN American Activities Committee, HUAC, were livid that studios like MGM had made films celebrating the Russian war effort. Suddenly Hollywood stars were being called up to inform on their fellow celebs for left wing sympathies. Leave you rights quote. It got to the point where Leela. Rogers, Ginger's mother and vice president at RKO, was asked to examine all screenplays for questionable content. She was proud to declare that she had found a lion in the tender comrade, which stated Sharon share alike. That's the meaning of democracy. Dalton Trumbo, who wrote the screenplay, later became one of the Hollywood Tin. The friendly witnesses of HUAC included many Hollywood celebrities, such as Gary Cooper, who reportedly condemned communism because it was not on the level, whatever that meant, or Adolph Menjou, whose credo. Is that communism could be expressed by players, by a look, by an inflection, by a change in voice. So what? That's what literally like, Trumbo gets cancelled for **** like that, for saying, like, democracy is about sharing. Like, that's like the most canceled culture America's ever gotten. Yes, is what does to *******. Yeah, exactly. On American activities, man. They want to bring that **** back, by the way. For sure. They're so ***** to do this. Ronald Reagan was one of the guys who named the most names. He loved getting up in front of Congress and informing on his colleagues. Now, to her, to their credit, there were some very base ******* actors and actresses, including Katherine Heppard. Refuses to talk to the community. She's like, what the ****? Like you can't make me do ****. I don't give a ****. I'm Katherine Hepburn. What are you gonna do? Cancel Katherine Hepburn? No, you're ******* not. Yeah, and they don't. John Wayne, who is an avowed anti Communist does nothing, so he does not get up in front of whack. This is not a principled stance. His biographer Ayman claims that this was in part that because like, well, he wasn't really that judgmental about people. He wouldn't have wanted to cancel his colleagues because if he liked you, he didn't care about your politics. You know, he's buddies with Orson Welles, who's pretty left wing. That's one justification for why he doesn't get up in front of HUAC. Blacklisted. Screenwriter Howard Koch, who's one of the people who gets caught up in this, theorizes that it was not John Wayne's decision to stay out, but instead studio meddling that kept him from testifying. In some cases, the heads of the studios made deals with the committee not to put a certain individual on the stand publicly. That was true not only of so-called suspects what they like to call the unfriendly witnesses, but also a friendly witnesses that the studio didn't want to have tainted by political publicity of any kind. Somebody like Wayne is a good example. How are you going to get? People rushing in to see him shooting down the Apaches when they start thinking of him as the guy wearing a suit and tie and saying what a great job all these 70 year old politicians with their glasses and bow ties are doing defending America's mixed message. So. I mean, money is #1 in his life at this point. And yeah, you know, and obviously cowardice. Not going into World War Two, but also potentially just wanting to keep making money. It is also. Here's the thing. And this is going to sound weird, but it's kind of also a condemnation of him that he doesn't testify in front of whack because it shows he doesn't really believe, doesn't believe in Cary Grant, who again goes and fights in World War Two. Also a right wing ******** Cary Grant studio goes, don't get up and testify in front of HUAC. It's going to be bad for your image. But Cary Grant, again, this is not a good thing to do, but he does believe it because he gets up and says **** you to the studio and testifies against his colleagues. Stuff, right? Which is it? And again, we're getting into like murky moral territory, but I guess I'm saying it's more respectable to be a right wing ******** who believes enough to hurt your career by it than it is to only be a right wing ******** when you think it's good for your career. I guess that too. Also a right wing ********. Cary Grant Studio goes, don't get up and testify in front of HUAC. It's going to be bad for your image. But Cary Grant, again, this is not a good thing to do, but he does believe it because he gets up and says **** you to the studio. And testifies against his colleagues and stuff, right? Which is it? And again, we're getting into like, murky moral territory, but I guess I'm saying it's more respectable to be a right wing ******** who believes enough to hurt your career by it than it is to only be a right wing ******** when you think it's good for your career. I guess that's where I'm landing here. I feel you landing there. Highland more in the like, I'm glad he didn't snitch and yeah, sure yes, you needed to communism to ******* booster your career, your speak at some brunches. But like for you, good and bad aren't as as meaningful here as just the state that, like, Cary Grant was a guy who believed in some things John Wayne didn't. Right that that's more because like, obviously, yes, it's good to not testify. It just is a note of like, how kind of empty he is. He's still punching women. Guys, don't don't worry. And I don't know Cary Grant probably, right? I don't know much about the guy. Everyone still punching women? Maybe not Jimmy Stewart. I don't. I wanna believe he wouldn't. But I don't know much about Jimmy Stewart. He did for a different show. Did was part of the bombing of Korea. So I don't know, some some mixed stuff there too. So yeah, it's weird. As Scott Eyman writes, being seen as anti communist had real benefits for John Wayne in the blacklist years that followed quote. And so the blacklist Arab began. There would be more hearings in 1950. The result was that dozens were jailed, hundreds lost their jobs, hundreds more left the country, some died. Every motion picture union from the Screen Actors Guild to the Screen Directors Guild ultimately capitulated to the blacklist. All this would be called by one writer, echoing Daniel Defoe. The plague years. Dalton Trumbo. But another name for it the time of the toad. During this. The right wing press regularly ganged up on performers who had committed the terrible sin of not serving in the military. During World War Two, the Hearst columnist Westbrook Pegler accused Danny Kay of not giving exactly his all during the war, and then added the seasoning of anti-Semitism by mentioning Kaya's real name, Kaminsky. Pegler neglected to mention that many conservatives hadn't served John Wayne among them. By the way, don't come for my boy, Danny K, don't you? ******* come from my boy. Danny K. Danny kale. **** you, pegler. What the? Why are you pulling? I love God pulling out the anti-Semitism. Ohh for sure. Peace for not going and fighting in World War Two. Like what do you what are you talking about here? Yeah. It's it's awesome. So again, and this is part of the point that people will make, is that by being Super Pro, anti Communist, very right wing, he deflects a lot of criticism for the fact that he doesn't do anything in the war, right? Yep. Well, he gets a pass because he's someone needs their Christian masculine identity. I mean, that's like, he's more of an emblem. He's a symbol. Yeah, yeah, he's like Batman, but worse. A lot worse than Batman sees the bad signals like. I gotta gotta seize the bat signal as he's like, cuddling with the teenager he trafficked into the United States and it's like, can someone else deal with that? Ohm so with his colleagues blacklisted John Wayne Stars and an increasing series of right wing films, including 1952's Big Jim McLean, in which he played a heroic HUAC investigator. In 1954 he was cast in what would probably become the most shameful role of his career. Francesca, Are you ready for this? This is my favorite John Wayne role. Genghis Khan? Hell yeah. Just another white guy taking an Asian actors role. It's amazing. Somebody's like, who are we going to get to pay Genghis Khan? You know who looks like a Mongolian warlords? John Wayne. John Wayne, middle-aged now. Kind of fat. John Wayne. It's in. He looks so silly in this. It's amazing. It's almost beyond parody how like racist this movie is. It's like if you were joking about racism in this. You would like make up. John Wayne being Genghis Khan is like a gag. But no, they really did it. Hell yeah, they did. Look at that. Yeah, look at that mustache, those blue eyes. Unbelievable. Every everyone needs to look this up right now. And yeah, I think we need to watch this high. Yeah, it's incredible that, like, obviously the the most famous white guy who racially plays an Asian in this. Is Mickey Rooney. But boy, Boy, howdy is John Wayne nipping at his ******* heels in terms of racist casting here. But also, like, Genghis is the good guy. What would cause, like, John Wick? It's generally the hero. Yeah. It's more just that like, he's impressive, right? I think that's probably like, I've I watched this years ago as a kid just because I heard about it. Like, I think it's more of just like a historical epic you're not trying to like. I don't know. Also, here's another fun fact, the more the role was originally written from Marlon Brando. You would rather see Brando as Genghis Khan. Imagine Brando is Genghis colored them. This is so funny to me. That's really funny. I mean, maybe old Brando, like really old brand. Yeah, I could see. Yeah, Fat Brando is Genghis Khan go. Fat Brando. Not having to walk anywhere, just being like hauled places, like not a horse. You're just sitting on a horse. And the whole time, not moving. Kill him like, I get that. Just stroking along. Sort of wispy white beard. That might have made sense. This is documentary about the making of the Isle of Doctor Moreau, which is also an incredible Marlon Brando documentary. Among other things, he decides that his character is secretly a dolphin and wears a bucket on his head. The whole movie, but never explains it to anyone. It ******* rules. Marlon Brando's like late career Brando. Is the greatest Hollywood actor there has ever been. Yeah, it's amazing. It's just like. When everyone wants your career to stay alive except for you, yeah, it's very funny. Nobody hated Hollywood more than Marlon Brando, a man who only ever made his money as an actor. It's also he's going to be the hero of, well, one of the heroes of our third episode. So good, good times. Anyway, the Conqueror John Wayne as Genghis Khan's not a good movie. As this excerpt from the Guardians Film Blog makes Clear, the film opens with Temujin, as Genghis was originally known, intercepting a wedding. Recession of merkits. No, not meerkats. The Merkit Lord has a tartar bride, portai Jane Hayward. But not for long, I feel this Tartar woman is for me in tones. Temujin, my blood says. Take her. Few actors could make lines like this sound good, and John Wayne wasn't one of them. Writer Oscar Millard wanted to give the screenplay an archaic flourish. Mindful of the fact that my story was nothing more than a tarted up Western, I thought this would give it a certain cachet. And I left no Lily unpainted, he said in 1981. It was a mistake. They have never repeated. Poor old John Wayne has to prance about saying things, things such as I greet you, my mother, where normal people would say hello, Mum, this might be why he looks so miserable in every scene. You got to do something about these lines, he told Miller during filming. I can't read them, it was too late. So. One of the worst movies of all time. Very cringe. But Francesca, here's the good part. Do you believe in Karma? A little bit, a little bit. This is this is a very karma moment because while they're filming this movie there they're in like Nevada in the desert, like making this thing, because I guess that's our best equivalent to Mongolia. While they're making this, they are 100 miles away from an atomic bomb testing site. So they they go to the government. They're like, hey, we got John Wade out here filming a movie. Is it safe to be this close to nuclear bombs going off and the government's like, oh, absolutely no, you guys are fine. It's totally far away. Not going to be a problem, not gonna be a problem. So it was a problem. The entire cast and crew of the Conqueror get massive doses of radiation, like, on like he they. I think they're right next to nuclear bombs going off for days, you know, weeks as they film this horrible place to be. Don't worry, keep going. It's going to be good for the lighting. Yes. Your burns look incredible, honey. That's great. So what was the Union doing at this point? Jesus. Yeah, he it's been too gutted. They they can't complain about getting nuked or they'll get called out as being socialist. It's very funny that John Wayne gets nuked by the US government, and spoilers, it's what kills him. That's extremely funny. It's the funniest thing that could possibly have happened. He gets, he gets ******* nuked and irradiated while pretending to be Genghis Khan. That rules. That's incredibly funny. That is kind of like the. Spirit of Genghis Khan it is. Genghis Khan was smiling down from heaven. Like, yes, this is what I want. That is amazing. Wow. And so it's OK. How much radiation are we talking? A ********? Francesca. Wait. So again, recently it's become a story that like a bunch of Russian soldiers probably got radiation sick because they dug trenches in Chernobyl, right? Chernobyl. Lot of radiation. Also a lot less than there was decades ago when it was new. These guys are standing downwind of nuclear bombs. As they go off, a lot of radiation ohm the the cast and crew of the Conqueror, as well as a startling number of Americans like them because the US government nukes a lot of American citizens. They get known as downwinders in the decades to come, because they all get cancer. By 1981, this is filmed in 54. By 1981, ninety six of the 220 cast and crew on the set had developed cancer, 46 of them. Including John Wayne had died. It's pretty cool. Within what time period? Again? Ohh, 30 years. A little less than 30 years. Half of them have cancer and 1/4 of them are dead from cancer, including John Wayne. He gets a couple of cancers right first in 1964, so 10 years later it's lung cancer. So maybe it was a smoking. I'm sure the nukes didn't help. He finally dies of like a horrible stomach cancer. So he probably dies in part at least as a result of getting nuked on the set of the Conqueror. Of all the sets, you know what I mean. Wasn't going to be a good one. It had to be the Genghis Khan, It is extremely funny though. The one redeeming thing I think about this is I don't. Doesn't sound like he did like a pigeon, like accent, like some sort of, I don't know. I mean, stereotypical. I think he does a John Wayne. So, yeah, I guess that's better. I don't know that I want to like. I don't. I don't certainly want to be saying what's better or worse. It all seems pretty rough to me. No, I think we all agree everyone on that set deserve to get nuked. I mean that was it fine that this happened. It's totally fine. Good stuff. And that's gonna that's gonna be our Part 2. Francesca, we're gonna have you back for part three. But for right now, you wanna plug your plug cables? Give us my God. You guys check out the Situation Room podcast. I promise. Well, I don't know, I maybe we'll just watch Genghis Khan on our next episode. We might, baby. Who knows? I'm excited for the third chapter and all the meat they find in his stomach. Ohh yeah, all the meat in his guts. Alright, well that's gonna do us and everyone else. You know, until until next time, stand directly next to a nuclear blast while the government says it's fine because you're John Wayne, you know the government's never going to lie to you. Oh my God. Behind the ******** is a production of cool zone media from more from cool zone media. Visit our website coolzonemedia.com, 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. Let's break our handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to spreaker.com. That's spreaker.com. If you could completely remove one phrase from your vocabulary, which phrase would you choose. I don't know. Correct answer. No, I meant I don't know which phrase, and the best way to banish I don't know from your life is by cramming your brain full of stuff you should know. 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