Saturday, October 30, 2021

Calling All John Wayne Fans! A Massive Monograph about Your Beloved “Duke” that Took Years to Research and Write is Available for Free Online!

A 22-year-old John Wayne and the lovely Marguerite Churchill (the future Mrs. George O’Brien) in Raoul Walsh’s The Big Trail (1930). This early talkie was the first picture in which Wayne was the lead, and it was a monumental flop! It had a huge budget, but failed on every level, including technical. It required that each theater be outfitted with an expensive, new, state-of-the-art sound system, only months after the Wall Street Crash. Most theater owners said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Wayne wandered the desert for the next nine years, learning his trade while appearing in B-Westerns, some for big studios like 20th Century Fox and Warner’s, but mostly for Poverty Row studios like Mascot and Monogram, which were eventually merged into what would become Republic Studios, itself a “centralized” Poverty Row studio.
As Jeff Arnold wrote, “Utterly demoralized, soon after the flop of The Big Trail he met Fox’s biggest star of the day, Will Rogers, who kindly advised him, ‘You’re working, aren’t you? Just keep working.’ Wayne always remembered that remark as ‘the best advice I ever got – just keep working and learning, however bad the picture … and boy, I made some lousy pictures.’”

By N.S.

The author is movie writer Jeff Arnold, who’s been writing on the Westerns of Hollywood’s Golden Age—the majority of them B Westerns—for many years, and who has a blog devoted to said history.

Jeff Arnold’s West: The Blog of a Western Fan, for Other Western Fans.


Anonymous said...

The "Duke" looks like Chuck Connors there a little bit,doesn't he?

As a side note,I couldn't believe it when years ago,Connors was revealed as gay.


eahilf said...

The website used to have many channels streaming public domain content, including old John Wayne (and Roy Rogers) westerns -- but the streaming went down at the end of 2018, and has not returned -- there were brief outages before that, lasting up to a few weeks -- but this one seems to be permanent.