Saturday, October 6, 2012

The New Frontier Blog Has Moved

Due to increasing difficulties with Google, I have moved the New Frontier blog to the following address:

The old blog as found here on blogger, will only be kept as an archive of previous blog posts.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

New Collection of John Wayne Memorabilia Now Open

On Thursday, June 21st, USC School of Cinematic Arts unveiled a new permanent exhibit, "The Wayne Collection", an extensive collection of personal memorabilia from the life and films of John Wayne. All of the items were diligently gathered and preserved by his son, Michael, over a 25 year period. in honor of her husband, Michael, Gretchen Wayne has donated the collection so students and the public alike can enjoy. 

The Wayne Collection is a permanent collection which is open to the public. For any Wayne fans visiting LA this would be a great stop. 

The media alert below describes the collection:

The Wayne Collection 
The Wayne Collection is a dedicated space located on the second 
floor of the George Lucas Building within the USC School of 
Cinematic Arts. This display is part of an extensive collection of film 
posters and memorabilia from the films of John Wayne.  All of the 
items were diligently gathered and preserved by his son, Michael, 
over a 25 year period.  In honor of her late husband, Michael, 
Gretchen Wayne has donated the collection so students and the 
public alike can enjoy the permanent exhibit.  

Some of the items on display:
The John Wayne congressional medal, John Wayne's rifle from Stage Coach, a pair of chaps, the hat from Hondo, The hat from Rio bravo, a bracelet presented to John Wayne by Montagnard tribesmen fighting for the U.S. in the Vietnam War,(he wore it every day of his life)  the eye patch worn by Wayne in True Grit, a number of photos of Wayne during his college days at USC, Wayne's monographed boots, his director's chair that he used on all of his films, a collection of commemorative coffee mugs given by Wayne to people working on his films,  and a collection of posters and photos covering Wayne's career collected by his son Michael. 

For more information please visit:


USC School of Cinematic Arts
George Lucas Building, 2nd Floor
935 West 34th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Monday – Friday: 9:00AM – 5:00PM
Saturday: 9:00AM – 5:00PM
Sunday: 12:00PM – 8:00PM

Enter via Gate 5 at McClintock Avenue and Jefferson Avenue

Friday, May 18, 2012

When The Legend Became Fact – The True Life of John Wayne: A Review

When The Legend Became Fact - The True Life of John Wayne by Richard Douglas Jensen is really just another attempt by a self-important liberal to destroy the image of John Wayne. Much like Garry Wills’ book, “John Wayne: The Politics of Celebrity,” there is far too much anti-Wayne bias in this book. Like Wills, Jensen relies on undocumented and unsubstantiated claims to support his predetermined goal of damaging the reputation of a dead man who cannot defend himself. In fact, the editorial review of this book states outright that it is a “deconstruction of the mythology surrounding the life” of John Wayne, although, according to Jensen, he does this only to show that John Wayne was a real person – human just like everyone else.

Among the many so-called “facts” (actually unsubstantiated claims) presented by Jensen are that, John Wayne was: a raging violent and abusive man, a wife beater, a child abuser, a severe alcoholic, a petty and mean prima donna, a narcissist, a chronic adulterer, a woman chasing sex addict who bedded nearly all of his female costars (as well as any loose woman he could find), a draft dodger, a manipulative jerk, a chauvinist who beat his lovers, bisexual (with John Ford, no less, as his lover), a cowboy wannabe who could never master any cowboy skills – and hated horses with a passion, and so much more.

Clearly, Mr. Jensen’s “more than 30 years of researching John Wayne” was spent in crafting untruths and outright lies about his subject. I, for one, sincerely hope that he prepares his legal briefs with at least a bit more attention to the truth (Mr. Jensen is, can you believe it, a practicing attorney known as “the Law Guru.”)

Aside from the virtually non-existent editing, poor grammar, poor sentence structure, misspelled words, and overall shoddiness of Jensen’s book (most third grade teachers would cringe while reading it – High School English teachers would give it an F-), Jensen’s book is filled with half-truths, blatant lies, and poorly crafted revised history (and he calls himself an historian!).

Jensen claims that he spent more than 30 years researching a biography of Ben Johnson and more than 30 years researching a biography of Tom Mix (this coupled with more than 30 years – he really likes that number – of researching John Wayne, makes one wonder when he found time for law school!), both of which Jensen claims knew Wayne and had “experienced the darker side of John Wayne” (cue the ominous music). Although it is well known that Johnson knew Wayne, and was a good friend, Mix, on the other hand, didn’t know John Wayne from Adam. Yes, they had met back in 1925-1926, and Mix had spoken with Wayne, promising that he would make Wayne his personal trainer and that he would take him on location during the filming of The Great K&A Train Robbery (which he did. Wayne propped the film and appeared briefly as an uncredited extra – a face in the crowd), Mix never socialized with Wayne, and promptly forgot his promise to hire Wayne as a trainer. The reality was, that Mix only made that promise in order to get some free tickets out of Howard Jones to USC football games.

Jensen, however, fabricates a convoluted story in which Mix pulled strings to get Wayne hired as a prop man, and that Wayne took it as an insult – a grudge that he held against Mix for years. Jensen even includes a fairy tale in which Mix, a former “real life” sheriff caught John Wayne glaring at him, and Mix stared Wayne down with a cold steely-eyed gaze that would send shivers down the spine of the bravest of men. What a load of sheep dip! Mix was only a part-time deputy sheriff in Dewey, Oklahoma, and was described by the actual sheriff as a “show-off.” (By the way Mr. Jensen, Mix was also never a Rough Rider, and actually went AWOL when he was in the Army. Your hero was in reality a poseur and a criminal.)

Interestingly, Jensen states at the beginning of his book that a “flurry of books and articles have been published throughout the past 30 years that have virtually deified John Wayne. Some are so ineptly crafted and so full of unsubstantiated ‘facts’ that it is alarming to the historian in me.” After reading Jensen’s book, my advice to him is “that historian you’re holding hostage inside of you? Let him go! Stop torturing him with your ridiculous revisionist nonsense!”

Jensen claims that this new book of his will cause “new, although unnecessary, furor among the protectors of the John Wayne legacy.” He’s probably right, but not for the reason he thinks. There will undoubtedly be an uproar, but it will be caused by Jensen’s obviously biased and unbalanced review of Wayne’s life. But I do understand why he would put such a statement near the beginning of his book. He does so simply to discount his detractors right from the get go, before they can voice the truth about this book. Typical liberal. Typical lawyer. I would expect nothing less from him.

And Jensen does not find himself content to simply spread lies and false rumors about John Wayne, as he also sets his sights on telling lies about his family as well. There is no evidence that John Wayne’s father, Clyde Morrison, ever owned his own drug store (as Jensen claims), and in fact, there are those who knew him who insist that he did not. There is also no evidence that Wayne’s father beat his wife (as Jensen claims).

Jensen also claims that Clyde not only owned his own drugstore, but also purchased a nice two-story home while in Iowa, but later lost it, and never owned another home. In reality, he did not purchase a home in Iowa, but did when the family moved to Glendale. It was that home that he eventually lost. Jensen also claims that the Morrison’s were actually quite well off, as evidenced by Clyde purchasing a farm in California. Sorry Mr. Jensen, that “farm” was actually purchased by his father. Not by Clyde. When the farm failed, he sold it and moved into Glendale (not Burbank), where the family lived from 1916 until 1930 (Wayne until 1925), when Clyde moved to Long Beach. Check the censuses Mr. Jensen, they are online you know, and easy to check. And in case you’re wondering, Mr. Jensen, this is known as research. Just saying.

I could actually go on and on and on, quite literally writing a book of my own pointing out the glaring inaccuracies and untruths found in When The Legend Became Fact – The True Life of John Wayne, but I think I have made my point quite well by now. If you’re looking for a good book about John Wayne, I would heartily recommend John Wayne: American by Randy Roberts and James Olsen, or There Rode A Legend by Jane Pattie and Wilma Russell, or any number of other great books about John Wayne. But stay away from Richard Jensen’s book. Stay far away. And as a fan and researcher of John Wayne for the better part of 50 years (top that Mr. Jensen!), that is my advice to anyone looking for a book about John Wayne.

But wait, there’s more! 

In case you have never heard of Richard D. Jensen before today (and by all that is right in the universe I do hope you have been spared), allow me to tell you a little bit about the author of When The Legend Became Fact – The True Life of John Wayne.

Richard D. Jensen
Richard D. Jensen is the author of 10 books including the one reviewed here. His other books include “The Nicest Fella - The Life of Ben Johnson: The World Champion Rodeo Cowboy Who Became an Oscar-Winning Movie Star”, “The Amazing Tom Mix: The Most Famous Cowboy of the Movies”, and “Agricultural and Animal Sciences Journals and Serials: An Analytical Guide” (riveting, I’m sure). According to Mr. Jensen’s “Bios” (assumedly written by him), he is not only an award winning author, but he is also a trial attorney known as “The Law Guru,” and he has been practicing law in Alabama for 13 years, since 1995. His web site is called “The Alabama Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer.” Maybe it’s just me, but when the terms “Guru” and “Sex Crimes” are used together, it kind of gives me the heebie-jeebies. 

Mr. Jensen’s “Bios” also state that he is not only one of America’s most respected and notorious defense lawyers, but he is also a former police officer, a former counsel to the Baldwin County Democratic Executive Committee, a former member of the Baldwin County Local Emergency Planning Commission, a former Democratic Party candidate for the Alabama State Senate, a nationwide trial lawyer instructor, a former cowboy and rodeo rider, a former award winning professional actor (with 35 years experience – and was almost cast as the Lone Ranger), a former horse wrangler (with more than 30 years experience throughout the west and southwest), and he spent 30 years researching John Wayne, 30 years researching Tom Mix and he also spent 30 years researching Ben Johnson. That’s like over 150 years combined experience with just one guy! I must admit that I was quite surprised that I did not read in any of his “Bios” that he also singlehandedly won World War 2, the Korean War, Viet Nam, and had been named Emperor of the World for Life. I guess he was probably too busy with the whole Sex Crimes-Law Guru thing or something.

Online reviews of Mr. Jensen’s other books include such stellar praise as “…poorly written…”, “…horrible book…”, “Full of typos, repetitive sentences and editorial freedoms that seemed suspect if not downright wrong”, “Several pages simply list episodes of different TV shows…”, “…poorly written and edited…” “….virtually unedited….”, “…I learned little…that I couldn’t have figured out without thirty minutes on Wikipedia…”, “…Stay away from this book…”, and “…A lot of repetition…”. 

‘Nuff said.

Monday, April 30, 2012

"Decisions" with John Wayne

Back in 1973, Duck's Unlimited produced the following video, narrated by John Wayne. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Is This John Wayne?

Well my friends, it seems that Richard M. Roberts, the self-aggrandizing "film historian" who found it necessary to puff out his over-sized belly and attack the content of The New Frontier website (see the previous blog post), has not ceased his attack. Rather than dwell on the most recent rants to be found on his closed forum (and they are ranting even as I write this, which proves the old adage, "he who shouts loudest is the most guilty"), however, I will focus only on the post which is directly related to the question at hand - Is This John Wayne?

One of the pages on The New Frontier website, is titled, Is This John Wayne? As many Wayne fans are aware, John Wayne was involved in a number of films that have never made it into any printed filmographies. The primary reasons for this are 1) Wayne's admission that he worked on so many films back in his early days in Hollywood that he could not remember them all, and 2) the lack of screen credit for each and every extra or crew member (remember, Wayne also did prop works, stunts, lighting, electrical, and more on several films). In the interest of honest research and a desire to attempt to locate some of his previously unknown work, a good number of old films that he may have worked on are being reviewed, often one frame at a time. When a possible sighting of John Wayne is made, a screen shot is taken and those screen shots are posted on The New Frontier.

As you no doubt noticed in the previous blog post, Mr. Roberts has taken exception to the theory that John Wayne appeared in the Lloyd “Ham” Hamilton comedy short, Careful Please. Several screen shots where posted. Mr. Roberts stated that not only did John Wayne not appear in any of those screen shots, but that he actually owned the only existing print of Careful Please, that it was “razor-sharp,” and that all digital prints (DVD’s) of Careful Please had been made from his “razor-sharp” print, but were all unfocused and difficult to see. The obvious question here is, since all the DVD’s were made from his “razor-sharp” print, then why aren’t they “razor-sharp” as well?

I made the point that if Mr. Roberts was so all-fired sure that John Wayne is not shown in the screen shots, then why not post screen shots from his own “razor-sharp” print, and lay to rest any doubts about Wayne’s appearance. Mr. Roberts stated that he did not have a digital copy of his print (from which all existing digital copies had been made), but that he would be will to sell a digital copy of his “razor-sharp” print. (Hmmmmm?) Less than 24 hours after Mr. Roberts posted this, he posted another commentary in which he stated that he had forgotten that he actually did have a digital print of Careful Please, and he promptly posted screen shots. What is very interesting (at least to me), is that the screen shots Mr. Roberts posted to support his claim that Wayne did not appear in the film, all come from the Slap Happy series that Mr. Roberts not only wrote, but was intimately involved with. Now, one would imagine that since he was so involved with the Slap Happy series, that he would ensure that the digital print made from his “razor-sharp” print would be just as clear and just as crisp as his print. Obviously.

So at this time, I will leave you, my friends, to make the decision. Is This John Wayne? Look close and compare the inferior, out-of-focus, blurry screen shot that appears on The New Frontier website, with the “razor-sharp” screen shots provided by Mr. Roberts.

Inferior screen shot that appears on The New Frontier (click to enlarge)
Inferior screen shot that appears on The New Frontier (click to enlarge)
"Razor-Sharp" screen shot provided by Mr. Roberts (click to enlarge)
"Razor-Sharp" screen shot provided by Mr. Roberts (click to enlarge)
"Razor-Sharp" screen shot provided by Mr. Roberts (click to enlarge)
"Razor-Sharp" screen shot provided by Mr. Roberts (click to enlarge)
 Now, to be fair, Mr. Roberts did say that the screen shots he posted from his "razor-sharp" master print may appear to be a little blurry because they are action shots, as are the screen shots used on The New Frontier website. There are also some comparison photos that are known to be of John Wayne on The New Frontier website with which to compare these screen shots.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

An Open Letter to Richard M. Roberts (and his loyal sycophantic friends)

Regarding the Silent Comedy Mafia forum thread entitled “John Wayne NOT in CAREFUL PLEASE with Lloyd Hamilton,” I would like to clarify some of Mr. Roberts glaring inaccuracies, as well as rebut his inaccurate points and respond to his obvious “cyber-bullying.” I would have posted this on same forum used by Mr. Roberts to post his comments, however, Mr. Roberts has made it a point to post on a closed forum, thereby preventing those who disagree with him from posting comments that may provide information contrary to Mr. Roberts’s self-appointed gospel; which, of course, allows Mr. Roberts to appear correct and knowledgeable.

(Mr. Roberts’s comments regarding the contents of my website can be found at: providing he does not delete them.)

Mr. Roberts is insistent that John Wayne not only is not, but could not appear in the Lloyd “Ham” Hamilton silent comedy Careful Please. Mr. Roberts states: (please note I have not attempted to correct any of Mr. Roberts’s spelling or grammatical errors. I will leave that to his own overworked editors.)

“Lets just say we're putting a myth to bed before it spreads: I was glancing over at the other minor silent comedy newsgroup this morning and saw someone getting all hot and bothered that they had "discovered" John Wayne as an extra in CAREFUL PLEASE starring Lloyd Hamilton. John Wayne once reminisced in an interview that he had done bit parts in several Hamilton comedies when he was starting out, and that has led this person to look at CAREFUL PLEASE on the Looser than Loose DVD and determined that it is the Duke in several freeze frames from the looser Than Loose Transfer…”

Apparently Mr. Roberts has deemed the other silent comedy newsgroup to be a “minor” forum (  ), and therefore somehow inferior to his forum. Considering that at least one well respected and established author uses this forum, I would hardly call it a “minor” newsgroup.

Mr. Roberts goes on to say, “as the owner of the razor-sharp original Bell and Howell Show-at-Home printdown that the rather middling dupe of CAREFUL PLEASE that Dave Stevenson used for his LTL video transfer was made from, I pulled the print and looked at it carefully in slow motion, and I hate to say I disagree that it is John Wayne in that scene.”

Congratulations to Mr. Roberts for owning the “razor-sharp original Bell and Howell Show-at-Home printdown” (which he later states was the print that all DVD prints have been made from). Unfortunately, Mr. Roberts fails to post any screen shots from his “razor-sharp” print to substantiate his claim. We have nothing but his word to go by. Mr. Roberts does offer to sell interested parties a copy of his print, but without posting proof that his copy is indeed “razor-sharp” and therefore superior to all other existing prints and DVDs, we again have nothing to substantiate his claim. Nothing but his unsubstantiated word. His unsubstantiated opinion.

Mr. Roberts continues his comments by saying, “The last problem is the timing. CAREFUL PLEASE was released February 7, 1926, which means it went into production no later than December,1925, and could have certainly been produced earlier. Wayne was at USC at the time, and did not even get into the movies until Tom MIx got him a summer job as a prop man at Fox in the late Spring/Summer of 1926. CAREFUL PLEASE is just a hair early to be one of the Hamilton comedies Wayne had a bit or extra role in, especially when he remembered doing the Hamilton comedies after he was already at Fox.”

Lloyd “Ham” Hamilton biographer Anthony Balducci stated in an email that was forwarded to me, that Hamilton’s comedy shorts were usually in production for one or two months prior to their release. Since Careful Please was released February 7, 1926, production likely started during December 1925, and probably not before that. Mr. Roberts correctly states that John Wayne was still at USC during that time, but he is incorrect in his statement that Wayne “did not even get into the movies until Tom Mix got him a summer job as a propman at Fox in the late Spring/Summer of 1926.” If Mr. Roberts had bothered to do his homework before offering this statement, he would have known that John Wayne appeared in at least two films before working at Fox or on Mix’s Great K&A Train Robbery. Those films are Bardeley’s the Magnificent and Brown of Harvard, both produced at MGM before production commenced on K&A.

Throughout Mr. Roberts’s comments, he continues to hammer home his belief that Wayne could not have appeared in Careful Please. Roberts states: “The facts are this. Wayne recalled first meeting John Ford on the set of MOTHER MACHREE while Wayne was working as a propman handling geese in the picture. MOTHER MACHREE’s principal photography and production dates are from August 24 to October 14, 1926. CAREFUL PLEASE was shot sometime in November-December 1925. It is absolutely impossible that Wayne could have been in a Lloyd Hamilton picture nearly a year before he met Ford if he was introduced to Hamilton by Ford. …

“In the two interviews in which John Wayne ever mentioned Lloyd Hamilton, he mentioned that he had bit roles in Hamilton’s comedies AFTER he began working at Fox as a propman. In the interview she quotes Wayne as saying “I finally got bit parts in a few other films. Ham Hamilton was the director of those films. He was a friend of Ford’s and the latter asked Hamilton to give me a chance at acting if he had any bit parts to cast me in”. …

“Wayne did not meet Ford until after he began working at Fox which is indeed after he began working with Tom Mix as a propman, which easily puts the timeline into the last half of 1926, putting CAREFUL PLEASE way chronologically out of reach with its late 1925 production and it’s early February 1926 release date (Interestingly, she does not list CAREFUL PLEASE or any of Hamilton's 1926 releases in her list of potential candidates for a Wayne appearance in a Hamilton comedy). John Wayne’s memory regarding chronology and his career in interviews was usually pretty on target, so there is no reason to doubt his memory in the order of events, and even referring to Hamilton as Director rather than Producer doesn’t mean much as Hamilton was the star comedian with his own unit at Educational, with certainly a large degree of control over his films no matter who was listed as the Director. …

“I can add my own testimony as I met and spoke with Mr. Wayne several times in my life. I’m 6’8” tall, and when standing he came up reasonably close to eye-contact level. He was definitely around 6’ 4” tall.”

This is nothing more than theory posited by Mr. Roberts. I have another theory that not only makes sense regarding when Wayne met Ford and when Ford told Hamilton to put Wayne in front of the camera, but also readily explains away Mr. Roberts’s theory. John Wayne himself said, “I finally got bit parts in a few other films. Ham Hamilton was the director of those films. He was a friend of Ford’s and the latter asked Hamilton to give me a chance at acting, if he had any bit parts, to cast me in!” (as quoted in The Great Cowboy Stars of Movies and Television” by Lee O. Miller, 1979).

We know that Wayne worked at other studios before (and during) his time at Fox. WHAT IF he was working on a film set, and was seen by Hamilton, and if Hamilton knew Ford, he may have mentioned to Ford something like, "I saw this kid on a set, he looks like he may look good on camera too"; and WHAT IF Ford then told Hamilton, "Well, then put him in front of the camera as an extra in a few of your shorts if you can find room for him, and let's see how he looks." WHAT IF later Ford, or Hamilton mentioned this to Wayne. This would fit perfectly with Wayne and Ford's accounts of meeting on Mother Machree (as Ford would not have met Wayne at the time of this possible conversation), and it would also fit Wayne's statement that Ford had asked Hamilton to put him in front of the camera if Hamilton could find room for him. Wayne may have also been noticed by Borzage and Mix, both of whom knew Ford, and they too may have mentioned Wayne to Ford (all before Mother Machree) and these comments to Ford by these different people MAY have influenced Ford to give Wayne a shot on Mother Machree. While I admit this is pure conjecture on my part, Mr. Roberts’s theory is also, at best, pure conjecture.

Some, like Mr. Roberts, have relied on the words of John Ford when attempting to discern just exactly when Wayne and Ford met, and they use those words to determine if Wayne worked on any films prior to Mother Machree (and thus ignoring factual information in the process). It must be understood that John Ford was not always forthright and honest when it came to certain “facts.” We know that Ford gave himself credit for "discovering" John Wayne, but we also know that Wayne worked on other films before Ford had met him. We also know that Ford gave himself credit for a lot of things that he did not do, for example, "discovering" Monument Valley. Ford had not been there prior to Stagecoach in 1939, but we know that Wayne was there in 1929 herding horses into Monument Valley for the production of Lone Star Ranger (which, according to Wayne, he also appeared in as an extra - as did Ward Bond). So it is conceivable that Ford's “discovery" of John Wayne was actually prompted by comments made by many others who had seen and worked with Wayne prior to Mother Machree, especially in light of the films Wayne is known to have worked on prior to Mother Machree.

And please allow me a bit of skepticism here regarding your claim to have “met and spoke with Mr. Wayne several times” in your life, Mr. Roberts. Perhaps I am being overly kind, but you really do not look (at least in the photos I have seen of you) to be old enough to have met and spoken with Mr. Wayne several times in your life. I would hazard a guess that if you did meet with him, you were at best a young teenager, and not likely 6’8” tall at that time. I could be wrong, of course, but this is my observation.

Mr. Roberts attempts to discredit (albeit unknowingly) the theory I have posited by stating, “And one more correction, Lloyd Hamilton and John Ford were not close friends. Checking again with my buddy Scott Eyman, who wrote the premiere book on John Ford, PRINT THE LEGEND, just as he is now writing what will most likely be the premiere book on John Wayne, in all of the voluminous correspondence, family papers, and et all he went through in researching that book, Lloyd Hamilton’s name did not come up once. At the same time, in researching Lloyd Hamilton, which I have been doing for over thirty years, in all of the papers, photos, personal correspondence et al I have gone through and or have in my personal collection, not one mention of John Ford.”

Perhaps I missed something, but I don’t believe anyone anywhere has stated that Lloyd Hamilton and John Ford were “close friends.” John Wayne stated that Hamilton was “a friend of Ford’s.” He did not say “close friend.” Be that as it may, however, Mr. Roberts’s statement that in all the “voluminous correspondence, family papers, et all [sic]” of John Ford, and in “all of the papers, photos, personal correspondence, et al” of Lloyd Hamilton, neither mention each other. Mr. Roberts intimation here is that Ford and Hamilton likely did not know each other at all. If this is true, Mr. Roberts, are saying that John Wayne lied? That he was clearly mistaken? Interesting since you also claim that John Wayne’s memory was usually “pretty on target” and that “there is no reason to doubt his memory”.

In all of this Mr. Roberts, you put forth a lot of theory and opinion to disprove the idea that John Wayne appeared in Careful Please, when all you really had to do was provide screen shots from your “razor-sharp” print of Careful Please. Doing so would remove all doubt and give your position a rock-solid foundation. And yet you have not done this. Instead you simply go on and on talking up your theory and opinion, bolstered with unfounded theories and opinions, and outright untruths. Miss Reid posted her screen shots to support her theory, why don’t you? Perhaps you are unable or unwilling? Perhaps you would rather provide those screen shots for a price. One would think a self-anointed “film historian” and self-proclaimed “expert” such as yourself would need to make some money somehow. I suppose this is as good a method as any.

Not only does Mr. Roberts fail to provide documented evidence to support his faulty theory, but he goes on to personally attack Miss Reid. He states:  “Ms. Elly Reid (the person who makes the claim to have spotted Wayne in the film and is making the posts on the other group) first complains that she is not allowed to rebut me on the silent comedy mafia newsgroup to begin with. Oh well, I am not allowed to rebut her on that other minor silent comedy newsgroup either, we all have our crosses to bear….”

Mr. Roberts goes on to put forth several sarcastic comments such as Miss Reid was “told by God as Gospel Truth and the Ghost of John Wayne who visited her in the wee hours of the night and told her that he definitely appeared in CAREFUL PLEASE?” and, Miss Reid’s belief that John Wayne appears in Careful Please as “CAREFUL PLEASE craziness”. Saying that her opinion is nothing more than “the hopes and meanderings of an obsessed Wayne fan with weak film history chops hoping to make a name for herself” and Let me see if I can get the message out in a more diplomatic form: ‘She’s Dreamin’, the Duke Ain’t There!’” Mr. Roberts goes on to make a feeble attempt to support his verbal bullying by further discrediting Miss Reid by saying: “Now Ms. Reid is considering the possibility that John Wayne copied his walk from Lloyd Hamilton? Okay, now we're talking big time clueless Wayne scholarship here. Has she ever heard of Yakima Canutt?”

It amazes me that Mr. Roberts is claiming that he is a “film historian and collector of some reput [sic] as well as a researcher engaged in helping his “buddy Scott Eyeman” (nice name dropping there, Mr. Roberts) by “supplying him with research material for his new book, which will likely be THE definitive book ever written on John Wayne.” That Mr. Roberts is a film historian is not something I can refute. Of course I cannot prove it either since the only references I can find regarding his role as a film historian come straight from him. His comment about Yakima Canutt clearly shows his lack of knowledge. Harry Carey, Jr., a close friend of John Wayne for many years, has repeatedly stated that it was Paul Fix who taught Wayne how to walk. Other long time friends have gone on record saying that it was Wayne himself who invented the walk. Others have said that it was Yakima Canutt who taught Wayne his distinctive walk. In other words, there are many theories. Mr. Roberts, however, seems to indicate that he possesses the truth about this. Perhaps (as Mr. Roberts has claimed about Miss Reid) the ghost of John Wayne visited him in the wee hours and imparted this special knowledge to him.

Mr. Roberts claims to be a collector of some repute. Of course, ill repute is still repute, and if Mr. Roberts is helping Scott Eyeman (again we have only Mr. Roberts word on this) to research “THE definitive book” on John Wayne, well, after experiencing Mr. Roberts complete lack of knowledge regarding John Wayne, as well as his non-existent research skills, both clearly evidenced in the repeated errors and faulty conclusions put forth in his slew of comments, clearly Mr. Eyeman would do well to reject anything Mr. Roberts says. Especially if he wants his book to be definitive. Miss reid, on the other hand, is not just a member of the John Wayne Fan Club. She is the owner of a massive collection of John Wayne material (as am I), material I would venture to say that not many people, including Mr. Roberts, have ever seen. She has been researching John Wayne for many years, and I for one, value her research and opinions regarding John Wayne. Mr. Roberts would do well to listen to Miss Reid, however, in doing so Mr. Roberts would have to admit that he does not know everything. Something that Mr. Roberts clearly could never admit to.

Contrary to Mr. Roberts statement that his opinion is “actually an informed opinion based on close visual inspection of the only surviving original print” of Careful Please, is simply nothing more than a self-aggrandizing statement. The simple fact that Mr. Roberts puts forth his opinion (as Miss Reid does), but does not provide visual evidence of his opinion (as Miss Reid did) shows me that Mr. Roberts is doing nothing more than spouting words. Mr. Roberts has always had the opportunity to rebut anything on my website via the contact form on my website. Yet he has not done so. Why? Because bullies require an audience and can never go toe-to-toe with someone who is both willing and able to stand up to them. Instead Mr. Roberts decided to attack Miss Reid behind a closed door in a forum that does not accept any new registrants, and where Miss Reid was unable to defend herself publicly. Bully for you Mr. Roberts. What a man you are. And in case my use of sarcasm escapes you here, let me put this a little more “diplomatically” to you. You, Mr. Roberts, are a 6’8”, 300+ pound coward. No more and no less.  

If you should like to rebut or respond, please feel free to do so. My website (and it is mine, and not Miss Reid’s) does have a contact form. Any comments you would like to make will be posted on my website. If you care to rebut, I invite it. If you care to respond, I invite it. And even if you would simply like to throw a temper tantrum, rest assured I will post that as well. You see, Mr. Roberts, I am not a female, your favorite target. And although I am likely older than you, and I am not 6’8”, and I do not weigh in excess of 300 pounds, to quote John Wayne, “on my worst day I could beat the hell out of you.” So, if you have the intestinal fortitude (which I doubt) put on your big boy pants and go toe-to-toe with me. I welcome it.
Bob Tuttle
Owner of The New Frontier website,

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dark Command

Dark Command
(1940) 94 minutes
Produced and Directed by Raoul Walsh
Screenplay by Grover Jones, Lionel Houser, and F. Hugh Herbert
Based on the novel by W.R. Burnett

Claire Trevor as Mary McCloud
John Wayne as Bob Seton
Walter Pidgeon as William Cantrell
Roy Rogers as Fletch McCloud
George “Gabby” Hayes as Doc Grunch
Porter Hall as Angus McCloud
Marjorie Main as Mrs. Cantrell
Raymond Walburn as Judge Buckner
Joseph Sawyer as Bushropp
Helen MacKeller as Mrs. Hale
J. Farrell MacDonald as Dave

The film takes place in 1860, in the town of Lawrence, Kansas. If the name sounds familiar to history buffs, it should. During the civil war, Confederate guerilla leader William Clarke Quantrill raided the town of Lawrence with his band of outlaws, murdering 185 unarmed men and boys, while looting the town and burning it to the ground. In fact, this film is loosely based on that very incident. Very loosely based.
John Wayne plays Texan Bob Seton, who, with his good friend Doc Grunch (played by Gabby Hayes) arrives in Lawrence looking for customers for Doc’s dental business. The premise of their partnership is Wayne punching argumentative potential customers in the mouth, and Doc providing the necessary dental treatment. While in Lawrence, Wayne sees young Mary McCloud (Claire Trevor) and decides he is going to marry her. The only problem is the local school teacher, Will Cantrell, who also has his eye on Mary.
Will is not all that he seems to be, however, and he is the leader of a local band of guerillas involved in gun running and other crimes. When Cantrell loses a local election for the position of marshal to Wayne’s Seton, he drops any pretense of civility and throws all his time and resources into his guerilla activity. Throw in Marjorie Main as Cantrell’s long suffering mother, Roy Rogers as Fletch McCloud – Mary’s brother, Porter Hall as Angus McCloud, their blustering Scottish father, several other memorable characters, and Yakima Canutt’s exciting stunt direction, and you have a great film full of action, romance and even a few comedic bits as well.
Dark Command is the third on screen pairing of John Wayne and Claire Trevor in only two years. Their first being Wayne’s breakthrough film Stagecoach (1939), closely followed by Allegheny Uprising the same year. Following the success of Stagecoach, Republic made the decision to cash in on its newest star, and Dark Command was one of the few “A” films made by the studio, and became the studios biggest grossing film. Accomplished composer Victor Young produced the wonderful score for Dark Command, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his work, which makes it all the more surprising that we haven’t seen a recorded soundtrack. Perhaps someday one will be forthcoming.
Now, watch the film!