Sunday, October 30, 2011

John Wayne in the Comics

John Wayne had his own comic book series, John Wayne Adventure Comics, published by Toby Press, which ran from 1949 – 1955 (31 issues). There was also a version printed in the U.K. (same title – different stories) which ran from 1952-1958 (82 issues). The U.K. version also had John Wayne Adventure Annuals which were published once a year from 1953-1959 (6 annuals). Both Dell and Gold Key comics also published comic books for several of John Wayne’s films. In 1995, a comic book series entitled Preacher (Vertigo comics) was introduced, and ran for 66 issues until 2000. A recurring character in this comic book series was an apparition named “Duke,” whose role it was to help the main character, Jesse Custer. Although not directly stated, “Duke,” who has the same mannerisms as John Wayne, was clearly John Wayne, although he face was usually partially obscured in shadow.

The character "Duke" (circled in red). Click for larger image.
John Wayne also made a one-time appearance in the comic book Sandman, as well as in a plethora of newspaper political cartoons and comic strips (most notably Robotman)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

John Wayne on Liberals

This is a You Tube video that features a portion of the interview that John Wayne did with Tony Macklin back in 1975. I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Some Old and Interesting John Wayne Headlines

As I was perusing some old newspapers recently, I came across some articles about John Wayne films that you may not have heard of before, and I thought I would share them here. Enjoy.

John Wayne Will Star in 'Cheyenne' for Wanger -- Five New Films to Arrive Here This Week

July 21, 1941

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., July 20 -- "Cheyenne," a story of the vicissitudes of a rodeo champion's life, by William Rankin and Winston Miller, will be John Wayne's next picture for Walter Wanger, it was learned today. Wanger is expected to close a deal tomorrow for screen rights to the story, now owned by Howard Hawks, a director.

I wonder if this was an early incarnation of “Lady Takes A Chance” (1943)

John Wayne to Appear With Jean Arthur in 'Cheyenne' -- Frank Ross to Direct

By Telephone to THE NEW YORK TIMES
September 22, 1942

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Sept. 21 -- RKO has signed John Wayne to play opposite Jean Arthur in "Cheyenne," which Frank Ross, Miss Arthur's husband, will produce as the first of two pictures he has engaged to make for the studio, it was learned today.

Gold Runs the River' Bought by Republic as a Starring Vehicle for John Wayne AMONG THE LIVING' OPENS Paramount Melodrama at the Rialto -- Victor Mature Will Replace Ameche in Film

By Telephone to THE NEW YORK TIMES
December 13, 1941

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Dec. 12 -- Republic today purchased "Gold Runs the River," a screen story by J. Robert Bren and Gladys Atwater, as a vehicle for John Wayne. The action of the yarn is laid in the California gold rush period. Billy Gilbert joined "Sleepy Time Gal," and Kane Richmond and Jimmy Dale were named for leading roles in "Spy Smasher," a serial which will go before the cameras Tuesday. 

I have no idea what this could have been, and it may never have been actually filmed.

Jean Arthur and John Wayne to Appear in 'Free for All' -- 'Fallen Sparrow' Bought 'HERE WE GO AGAIN' IS DUE Opens at Palace Today With 'Escape From Crime' -- To Revive 'Citizen Kane'

By Telephone to THE NEW YORK TIMES
October 10, 1942

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Oct. 9 -- Frank Ross, RKO producer, announced today that "Free for All," a comedy by Robert Ardrey, will replace "Cheyenne" on his schedule and will go before the cameras on Nov. 21. Jean Arthur and John Wayne, who had been announced for the leads in "Cheyenne," will appear in "Free for All," according to the producer.

This too could have been an early incarnation of “Lady Takes A Chance”

Irene Dunne to Appear With John Wayne at RKO Studio in 'Pennsylvania Uprising' SIX NEW FILMS THIS WEEK 'Escape From Yesterday,' With Annabella, Opens Tomorrow --Jolson Picture on Friday Coast Scripts Of Local Origin

May 01, 1939

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., April 30.-- Irene Dunne's remaining commitment to RKO for one picture will be fulfilled by "Pennsylvania Uprising," in which she will play the feminine lead opposite John Wayne, the studio announced. Edward Ellis also has been assigned to the film.

This is obviously “Allegheny Uprising” (1939), but Irene Dunne was replaced with Claire Trevor.

RKO to Borrow John Wayne for the Lead in 'True to Form'-- Gene Tierney Gets Role 'FANTASIA' OPENS TONIGHT Stokowski and Philadelphia Orchestra to Be Heard In Walt Disney Feature

November 13, 1940

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Nov. 13-- Negotiations between RKO and Republic for the former studio to borrow John Wayne for the lead in "True to Form," formerly "Blood Will Tell," reached final stages today. Dick Powell had been considered for the role, but Wayne is expected to sign this week.

Another mystery film! “True to Form”? “Blood Will Tell”? Who knows!

We do know that John Wayne had been slated to appear in dozens of films that were either never made, or were made with someone else. It’s hard to tell at this late date where some of these films shown above were among those.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Blast from the Past: John Wayne for RC Cola!

An old comic book advertisement for RC Cola, featuring John Wayne! I don't know which comic book this came from, nor do I know what year it is from, but nonetheless, it is still pretty cool!

John Wayne: A Unique American Hero

© 2011 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved. 

You can read the story by clicking here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

John Wayne: World War II OSS Agent

For years, there have been those who have loudly proclaimed that John Wayne was a draft dodger, that he never served during World War II, and they eagerly point to his lack of enlistment papers or discharge papers as proof positive that he never served. They may be soon eating their words.

As many of you know, Wayne’s family recently placed a number of his personal belongings up for auction. Among the items listed in the auction catalog, were two certificates that had been presented to Wayne. The catalog lists them as:

44061 Two ‘WWII ’ Certificates, 1940s
Both presented to John Wayne; the first from the War Agencies of the
Government of the United States for “...Outstanding Service in World War
II;” the second from William J. Donovan, Major General, U.S.A. Director, for
“Honorably Serv(ing) the United States of America as a Member of The Office
of Strategic Services” in 1945; both with JW inventory stickers.
Matted and Framed: 22” x 15” and smaller.
Est. $1,000 - $1,500 each

While it is important to take note of both of these certificates as they both indicate service during the Second World War, but take special note of the second certificate, the one from William Donovan of the O.S.S. (forerunner of the CIA). The certificate states that Wayne served honorably “as a member of The Office of Strategic Services.” 

There has always been speculation about Wayne’s World War II involvement, both from his detractors, and from his fans, but this certificate is rarely talked about. Wayne himself told Dan Ford (grandson of director John Ford) that although he tried to enlist in the OSS and even sought John Ford’s help in accomplishing this, he was only tasked with information gathering on the front lines of the Pacific. Something he claims he did during his USO tours, and something he tended to downplay. Wayne acknowledged to Ford that he did receive a certificate (most likely the one placed in the auction), stated that he never picked it up. Ford states in his book “Pappy” that John Ford kept the certificate and that it remained in his private papers for the rest of his life. 

Is it possible that after John Ford’s death the certificate was given to Wayne? I have to wonder. Wayne told Dan Ford that he considered the certificate to be more honorary than anything, and that it was simply something that John Ford had talked Donovan into giving to Wayne. If he thought so little of it, then why would he want it after so many years of not wanting it? Is it possible that Wayne actually did receive the certificate in 1945, and simply did not show it off? Given his well known humility, this is at least possible. And what of his “service” with the OSS? Could it have entailed something more than has ever been made public? Given the OSS’s (and today’s CIA’s) penchant for secrecy, this too is possible.

In the end, however, it is all speculation, and it is doubtful that anything concrete will ever be found to definitively prove either way. I, for one, however, will always wonder.

You can read more about John Wayne’s involvement in World War II by clicking here, and here. But don’t expect to find the elusive “smoking gun” in either of these articles that will prove beyond any doubt what Wayne did during the war. It isn’t there.

As an addenda to this post, Heritage Auctions (which auctioned off the collection of John Wayne’s personal property) still has copies of the auction catalog for the John Wayne auction. The soft cover edition goes for $50, and the hardcover edition is selling for $125. They also have a limited edition collector’s DVD of the items and the auction for only $19.95. Both can be ordered from the Heritage Auctions website (

They also have the current edition of their magazine for sale, which features a nice cover photo of John Wayne, as well as an interview with Ethan Wayne, and articles about the auction. The magazine can be found here (

Phil Stern Gallery Presents: John Wayne Between the Scenes

The Phil Stern Gallery in Los Angeles, California will be presenting a special exhibit of 38 photographs taken by Stern of his friend John Wayne. Many of the photos have never been seen before. If you aren’t able to make it to Los Angeles for the exhibit, you can view 12 of the photos by clicking here 

And, you can read more about this by clicking here   

John Wayne To Be Honored With 2011 Jules Verne Legendaire Award

More than thirty years after his passing, John Wayne is still a superstar and still an American icon. In fact, he is the only actor who has been in the top ten of the Harris poll’s favorite actor list every year since 1994. On November 10, 2011, the Jules Verne Festival will honor Wayne with its prestigious Legendaire award during a celebrity filled event at the Hollywood Cinerama Dome. Scheduled to be on hand for the event are Patrick and Ethan Wayne (who will accept the award for their father), and Wayne’s True Grit co-star, Kim Darby. Glen Campbell, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, has filmed a special interview which will be played during this special tribute event. The evening will be capped by a special presentation of John Wayne’s classic film, True Grit.

If you would like to attend this event, general admission tickets are $25 and VIP tickets are $45. The event is being held November 10, at 7pm, at the Cinerama Dome at the Arclight Hollywood, 6360 W. Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, California. For more information contact Chip Schultzman at Miles High Productions at 323-806-0400, or by email:
The Press Release can be read by clicking here.