Saturday, November 26, 2011

John Wayne For Sale

Well, “Black Friday” has passed and thank goodness for that! Every year I read about riots and assaults and weapons being used – all by shoppers on “Black Friday.” Are these people insane? All in all, I am so very glad that I don’t go anywhere near a store on that day! But, Christmas is just around the corner and there are still deals to be made on some terrific (and some not so terrific) John Wayne related items. So, if you are a collector of all things Waynian, or if you know someone who is, slap some bacon on a biscuit and start shopping. You’re burnin’ daylight!

Of course, the obvious choice among many new John Wayne collectors as well as their friends and families are John Wayne movies and soundtracks. Most department stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart and such will have an abundance of John Wayne DVDs for sale, and usually pretty inexpensively priced. The thing to watch out for, however, are the mega-packs of the old John Wayne films. Not that they’re not worth watching, because they most definitely are. That being said, however, you should be forewarned that many of them that contain the old John Wayne serials (he did three of them) do not contain the complete serial, as in all 12 chapters. Usually you will find that both The Hurricane Express and The Three Musketeers serials contained in these mega-packs are actually edited “feature length” versions of these two serials. They are still worth having, and both are enjoyable to watch, but don’t expect to get the full 12-chapter serial. The full serials are available, but you do have to look for them.

Soundtracks are another gem that many if not most John Wayne collectors love to have, and there are multiple outlets available. Of course there is always eBay, and there are tons of John Wayne film soundtracks on eBay, both original LP’s and 45’s, as well as remastered CD’s. In my opinion, however, if you would like to find some of the best CD’s of John Wayne soundtracks, especially some of the limited edition CD’s, the is the best. Sometimes they can be a little slow with delivery, but the products are well worth the wait. You can check out some of their John Wayne soundtracks by clicking here.  

Now if it’s collectibles you’re after, then again there are several outlets, both online and off, that can fill your needs. But in all good conscience, I need to add a caveat here. Being a John Wayne fan and collector for a good many years I think there are two definitions for the word “Collectible.” The first definition is, that a collectible is anything that people collect. And of course, that definition would encompass just about anything, and a large percentage of John Wayne collectibles would fall into this category. Since John Wayne passed away, folks have been slappin’ his image and name on just about everything imaginable, and then mass producing it. Although these items can be considered “collectible,” they are only worth what you are willing to pay for them, and most of them do not increase in value over time.

In my opinion, although these are some very nice items, and items I would enjoy having, they are all extremely overpriced, and I am certain that they will not hold their value as the years pass by. Personally, I would not buy any of these items, however, I would not turn them down if my friends and family purchased them as gifts (hint, hint).

As overpriced as these items are, however, if you have some really deep pockets (and I mean REALLY DEEEEEEP), then visit the Sports Memorabilia website ( and check out some of their John Wayne collectibles. For example, they are currently offering an 8x10 black and white photo of John Wayne on the Mike Douglas show in 1976. They are currently offering this photo on sale for $41.58 (plus shipping, handling & applicable tax). A might steep if you ask me, and this is one of the least expensive John Wayne items they have. (See it here)

If you are looking for a John Wayne display with a replica autograph, they have one of those for only $920.12 (marked down from $1,076.54!). The display includes a replica U.S. Marshal’s badge, two color 8x10 photos, a replica True Grit poster, a couple of descriptive plaques, a replica autograph, and a 1”x1” square piece of cloth cut from a neckerchief worn by John Wayne in the film True Grit. Now call me skeptical, but again, I think the price is more than a might high, especially for what you are getting. The fake autograph, badge, poster and photos are only worth about $20, and the one square inch piece of cloth – pardon me for saying so, but I wanted a bandana worn by John Wayne, I want the whole dang thing, not just a piece the size of a postage stamp! Somehow it really irks me that someone would snap up a piece of clothing worn by John Wayne and cut it up into little pieces just to make a buck (or a thousand bucks as the case may be), and as a John Wayne fan and collector, I would not buy anything from someone who cuts up the man’s clothes like this. If you are interested, you can see this item by clicking here.
And the prices just keep getting steeper at the Sports Memorabilia store. They have another John Wayne display containing a couple of photos, a reproduction poster, repro badge, miniature replica shotgun, a deck of playing cards, a couple of pieces of film from a copy of True Grit, a piece of card stock with the words True Grit printed on it, and a small piece of paper with an allegedly authentic John Wayne signature. What I find interesting about this particular display is that it is supposed to be a “True Grit” display, and yet of the two photos included in the display, one is from Hondo and the other an El Dorado publicity still. And the shotgun? Funny, I don’t remember John Wayne using a shotgun in the film. Oh, and the price for this item is only $4,075.00 (on sale). You can view this item by clicking here.

The final item I would like to mention from the Sports Memorabilia site (and only because I just cannot believe anyone would actually pay this kind of money for their items) is another John Wayne display. This particular display features seven replica mini posters, a replica six-gun, a replica badge, another one-inch square from the same bandana (argh!), and a page from what is purported to be an autograph album. This page contains a black and white publicity photo of Wayne from The Flying Tigers, and two signatures. The first signature reads “John Wayne” and the second signature reads “Marion M. Morrison”. Now again, call me skeptical, but I really have to question these signatures. Granted, the photograph is not very clear, but the John Wayne signature just doesn’t look like his signature when compared to the authentic ones I have seen, and as a matter of fact, neither does the Marion M. Morrison signature. And I also question just why he would sign both names? It doesn’t make much sense to me. In my opinion, it seems more likely that a fan attached the photo to the album page, and then wrote (in cursive) both names, as well as the other information written on the page. At any rate, the display does come with a certificate of authenticity, and a guarantee that the signatures are correct and authentic, but how would you check the provenance of the signatures without being able to actually speak to the original owner who acquired the signatures? I suppose you could take the display to an expert and have them authenticate the signatures, but…who knows? The price on this item is $7,296.10 (and again, that is on sale and marked down from $8,536.44!). You can see this display by clicking here.

All in all, I personally would not buy these items, even if I did have a few hundred thousand just laying around in loose change, and I would seriously wonder about anyone who did.

A quick check of eBay shows replica John Wayne signatures and reprinted John Wayne signed photos for only $5 to $10. A much better deal than the $920 (on sale) at Sports Memorabilia, and I saw an actual John Wayne autograph (being sold by the person who got the autograph from Wayne) being sold for $475. Again, much better than the $4,000 - $7,000+ range I wrote about above. You can see these two items and more John Wayne autographs (both real and reprint) by clicking here.

Personally, it is my opinion that if you are looking for John Wayne memorabilia, then eBay is probably the way to go. On eBay the John Wayne fan & collector (as well as anyone looking to buy for their favorite John Wayne fan or collector) can find just about any type of John Wayne collectible and or memorabilia. A quick search for “John Wayne” on eBay today showed books and magazines about John Wayne, vintage John Wayne Adventure Comics, original and reprint movie posters and lobby cards, film props, costumes, DVDs, VHS tapes, and many of the mass produced “collectibles” available elsewhere such as plates, playing cards, knives, radios, lamps, wall hangings, photos, badges, figurines, tin signs trading cards, coffee mugs, ornaments, NASCAR cars (both large and small), belt buckles, medallions, jewelry, watches, toys, and porcelain & ceramic John Wayne items. I even found several pieces from the recent Heritage Auctions auction of John Wayne’s Personal Property (so if you missed out on that historic once in a life time auction, you now have a second chance!). In other words, if it is a John Wayne collectible, it can probably be found on eBay.

So happy shopping Pilgrim, I hope you come up with some great deals on some great John Wayne collectibles and memorabilia. And if any of my family members read this, Christmas is comin’!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

John Wayne Tribute Packs Cinerama Dome

The big John Wayne tribute sponsored by the Jules Verne organization is over. Although I did not attend, there is an excellent write up on the event on Henry Parke's blog: Henry's Western Round-up. Check it out by clicking here.

And while you're there, I would heartily recommend checking out the posts on Mr. Parke's blog. It is a great blog, and I have already spent most of my day perusing the posts!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fort Apache Slated For Blu-Ray Release

 Warner Home Video has announced that they will be releasing John Ford’s classic 1948 western, Fort Apache, starring John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple and John Agar on Blu-Ray February 21, 2012.

Review of the film:
I think that a list of John Wayne's five best pictures has to include Fort Apache. It's the first and best of the cavalry trilogy that he did with John Ford. Oddly enough he has less screen time here than in the other two, due to the fact that he was co-starring with another big Hollywood name in Henry Fonda.

It's first and foremost the story of a clash between two men who see the United States Army in very different terms. Fonda is a former general who's seen glory in the Civil War, but has been shunted aside. He wants to get back on top in the worst way. He's exiled to Fort Apache in the Arizona territory while the big headlines concerning the Indian wars are going to the campaign against the plains Indians which was true enough.

Wayne has also seen some glory in the Civil War. But he's a professional soldier and just wants to live long enough to retire. In fact Ward Bond who is the sergeant major at the post has also dropped down in rank; he was a major in the Civil War and a Medal of Honor winner. This was a common occurrence at the end of the Civil War. During the war, promotions came swiftly because of battlefield service. Something called a brevet rank was instituted a kind of temporary promotion. You could be a brevet brigadier general and have an actual rank of something like major. After the Civil War as the U.S. Army shrunk to its pre-war size, soldier reverted to previous ranks. This was something John Ford was keenly aware of when he made Fort Apache.

Ford's stock company was never better. Even minor bit parts are woven nicely into the whole story. And his photography of Monument Valley, it's beauty and vastness was never better even when he used color. Look at the scenes with John Agar and Shirley Temple riding and with Wayne and Pedro Armendariz on their way to parley with Cochise. Really great cinematography.

Ford had a couple of inside comments in the film. In a scene where Henry Fonda is getting an incomplete message from the post telegrapher, the telegrapher who might have strolled in from a Cagney-O'Brien film informs his commander that the message was interrupted "in the middle of the last woid." With both Irish and southern recruits in Fort Apache, a Brooklynese telegrapher would not have been out of place.

George O'Brien and Anna Lee, play Sam and Emily Collingwood who both knew Henry Fonda's Owen Thursday way back in the day. It's hinted that O'Brien had a drinking problem and that's why he's at Fort Apache, but he's looking for a transfer out. It comes as the regiment is moving out against Cochise.

Charles Collingwood was the second in command to Admiral Nelson at Trafalgar. Nelson became a British hero martyr, historians know about Charles Collingwood. When newspapermen at the end of Fort Apache remark about men like "Collingworth"not being remembered, it was John Ford making a statement about the worth of all the men who contribute their lives to defend their nations not just the leader heroes.

That remark by the way is the stage for one of John Wayne's finest acted scenes in his career. A soliloquy photographed through a cabin window about the life of the professional soldier, the camaraderie, the toughness, the bravery required of these men and how they deliver for their nation.

In a later film John Ford uses the line that in the west "when the legend becomes fact, print the legend." Henry Fonda's quest for martial glory was a blunder, but his story for the sake and tradition of his regiment is whitewashed and he becomes an inspiration.

Of course some of the lowbrow comedy that one expects from John Ford is here aplenty with the four drinking sergeants and their efforts to make soldiers out of the recruits. Led by Victor McLaglen, the quartet rounds out with Dick Foran, Jack Pennick, and Pedro Armendariz. See how they dispose of the contraband they are charged with destroying and its consequences.

Fort Apache also takes the side of the Indian here. Cochise played by an impassive Miguel Inclan is a figure of strength and dignity. Later on Jeff Chandler in another film brought speech to the dignity and that role launched his career. Cochise is the only true major figure in the film. He bedeviled the U.S. Cavalry for over a decade in Arizona Territory with guerrilla tactics Mao Tse Tung would have envied.

Fort Apache is a grand ensemble film and you will not be bored for one second in watching it.
(review written by bkoganbing, courtesy of

There has been no word as of yet as to the specs and special features for this disc, but the suggested retail price is $19.98. Amazon is already advertising it for $13.99.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

“Stealing Angels” Headed for the Top

Stealing Angels - left to right; Carloline Cutbirth, Jennifer Wayne, Tayla Lynn

I’m not sure if you’ve heard of them or not, but if you listen to country music, you soon will. The group is called Stealing Angels and its members are Tayla Lynn, Caroline Cutbirth, and Jennifer Wayne. If those names sound kind of familiar, they should. Tayla Lynn is the granddaughter of country music legend Loretta Lynn, Jennifer Wayne is the granddaughter of American icon John Wayne, and Caroline Cutbirth is a descendent of frontier hero Daniel Boone. But rest assured, these angels are not riding on the coat tails of their famous relatives, each one is a star in their own right.

The singing group met a couple of years ago as guests on a failed television reality show about relatives of famous people. Although the show never aired, the three became fast friends and due to their love of music, excellent voices and song writing talents, they formed the group Stealing Angels. You can check out their web page by clicking here, and they also have a Facebook page as well, that you can visit by clicking here.

Not only have they been touring around the country winning fans wherever they go (they are currently opening for Lady Antebellum), but they also have a debut album due out next year. Their newest single “Paper Heart” (which is featured on their upcoming album) has had an impact on country radio stations around the country. Rather than go on talking, I think maybe you’d like to take a listen to these three young ladies. I know you will enjoy it. Here are two of their music videos. 

Duke's Chop House & Saloon aims to be the local hangout

Story by MARIELLE D. MARNE | NOVEMBER 9, 2011 | Sonoran News

CAREFREE – John Wayne is a legend, and if their gangbusters first month of business is any indication, Duke's Chop House & Saloon will be following in the American icon's footsteps.

Owner Ken Moss explained the restaurant is a tribute to John Wayne. "We looked at it like what would John Wayne want? What would John Wayne eat? It was like restoring the Wild, Wild West to Carefree." The decor, the ambiance, the friendly service – The Duke would be impressed.