Episode 84

Visiting John Wayne's birthplace and exploring his life outside of cinema

🎙 Warning: These new shirts may cause history-inspired travel

John Wayne, also known as "The Duke," was an iconic figure in American cinema. He was born in Winterset, Iowa, and later moved to California where he pursued a career in movies. Throughout his life, John Wayne was known for being a family man and had three marriages and seven children.

The themes that embodied John Wayne's life and career include:

1. Family: John Wayne prioritized his family and enjoyed spending time with them. He had a strong bond with his children and was often seen engaging in family activities, such as celebrating holidays together.

2. American Icon: John Wayne's portrayal of rugged western heroes made him a symbol of American masculinity. He embodied the qualities of bravery, strength, and patriotism that resonated with audiences. His movies celebrated the spirit of the American West and its values.

3. Legacy: John Wayne's impact on the film industry was significant. He was a prolific actor and one of Hollywood's most successful stars. His movies, such as "The Searchers" and "True Grit," remain popular to this day. Additionally, John Wayne's nickname, "The Duke," became synonymous with his tough and confident on-screen persona.

4. Controversy: We also acknowledge that John Wayne's personal views, expressed in a Playboy interview, were controversial. His comments about support for the Vietnam War and other topics have sparked debate and criticism. However, we attempt to provide context and understanding that individuals can evolve and learn from past beliefs.

In summary, we explore the life and career of John Wayne, highlighting his commitment to family, his status as an American icon, his enduring legacy, and the controversy surrounding his personal views.

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Transcript
Scott:

I was thinking.

Jenn:

It's dangerous.

Scott:

It's dangerous.

Scott:

Have I fall I don't know.

Scott:

Because I know more about history than at least all the topics

Scott:

that we've than your average

Jenn:

History nerd husband.

Scott:

adjacent?

Scott:

So would I be, like, history...

Scott:

history nerd friendly?

Scott:

Like, what, what, what, like, what category

Jenn:

Well, it's not like it's almost like you're

Scott:

I'm trying to claim.

Scott:

it?

Scott:

Yeah, I married into

Jenn:

You married into

Scott:

married into

Jenn:

So what's that called?

Scott:

nerddom.

Scott:

I don't know.

Scott:

I was, I was wondering that because, I mean, that's what we're doing.

Scott:

That's second career for me, for you.

Scott:

It's going to be, it's going to be history

Jenn:

History nerd in law?

Scott:

History of law.

Scott:

I don't know.

Scott:

For those listening I don't know if you guys ever have a

Scott:

good thought reach out to me,

Scott:

Welcome to Talk With I'm your host, Scott, here with my wife and historian, Jen.

Jenn:

podcast, we give

Scott:

On this podcast, we give you insights to our history inspired world

Scott:

travels, YouTube channel journey, and examine history through deeper

Scott:

conversations with the curious, Before we jump into the episode, I do want to

Scott:

ask for it's the best way, it's one of the best And it's kind of social proof

Scott:

for the podcast as people stumble across.

Scott:

If you're listening on Apple podcasts and most people do, those reviews

Scott:

really do help even if you just go in real quick, drop us five stars and say,

Scott:

Hey, Love history, love the show, or love this episode, or whatever it is.

Scott:

It really is kind of social proof as people stumble across the podcast and

Scott:

they go in there and search for it.

Scott:

And I don't think the History Channel does a lot of John Wayne topics,

Jenn:

Um, and I don't think they

Scott:

history period, so we're coming for you History Channel.

Scott:

I haven't said that in a while.

Scott:

But History Channel, you better watch out, because

Jenn:

It's

Scott:

this stuff, that you and

Jenn:

common for you, Jen's Gaines of history.

Scott:

Today, we are embarking on a journey to explore the life and legacy

Scott:

of one of America's most iconic figures, the legendary John We're taking you on

Scott:

an adventure to Winterset, Iowa, where we visited the very house where Marian

Scott:

Morrison, the man who would later become John Wayne, entered this It's more than

Scott:

just a house, it's a window into the early years of a Hollywood We're going

Scott:

to unravel the story of John Wayne's life from his humble beginnings in Winterset

Scott:

to his transformation into the Duke and the enduring legacy he left on the

Scott:

silver We'll delve deep into the roots of this cinematic legend and explore

Scott:

his later family life and how his own kids ventured into So whether you're

Scott:

a fan of Westerns, a history buff, or just someone curious about the life

Scott:

of a true American icon, this episode promises to be a journey through time

Scott:

and cinema you won't want to miss.

Scott:

Without further ado, let's step back in time and experience the life and

Scott:

times of John Wayne as we visit his birthplace home in Winterset, Iowa.

Scott:

So Jen, this was, again, at the tail end of our western road trip, and this was

Scott:

a, a huge kind of thing for you to do.

Scott:

This was, this is the one thing we did in Iowa as we were driving.

Scott:

So let's talk a little bit about Winterset and then the birthplace of this cinematic

Jenn:

Yeah, so you know, pretty much the start of Walk With History, I did a

Jenn:

lot of John Wayne research and this was always a bucket list place for me to go

Jenn:

because I grew up on John Wayne movies.

Jenn:

So I always wanted to see the John Wayne Museum and the John Wayne House.

Scott:

This was always wanted to see the John Wayne Museum

Scott:

and the John Wayne House.

Scott:

John Wayne Americana and, and history Americana.

Scott:

And that was literally one of the things that inspired you

Scott:

to, to, to start the channel.

Jenn:

Yes,

Jenn:

because people were showing some things on YouTube, but they

Jenn:

weren't really connecting it.

Jenn:

Like, why does this matter?

Jenn:

Or why, how does this impact us today?

Jenn:

How does John Wayne impact us today?

Jenn:

What is he left?

Jenn:

What is his legacy?

Jenn:

What is his Americana legacy?

Jenn:

What did we, you know?

Jenn:

We think a lot about the West because of John Wayne, he is the, the Western

Jenn:

actor of the time, like I said, highest grossing film actor for three decades.

Jenn:

He presents us with the window into a lot of these different stories.

Jenn:

and brings them to life for us.

Jenn:

And you just think of John Wayne.

Jenn:

He is a movie star.

Jenn:

And you think of him with the swagger, with the star, with the

Jenn:

gun, you know, in, in a shootout.

Jenn:

Like this is, you picture John Wayne as this man who is part of building America.

Jenn:

Now he didn't build it per se as the Westerners really did, but

Jenn:

he's going to personify it and show it on the silver screen.

Scott:

I just thought that was so neat that you, you called that out that

Scott:

we were standing in the birthplace of the person inspired us to, to be

Scott:

there and to be filming to begin with.

Scott:

So I, I just thought that was really neat.

Scott:

And we talked briefly about last week's episode, was more about his movie career.

Scott:

We're going to focus more on family life about kind of where set being off

Scott:

kind of in the middle of Iowa off the beaten path a little bit easy to find.

Scott:

The, the movie museum is great, and if you guys are curious about

Scott:

that, I'd encourage you to listen to the episode just before this.

Scott:

We talk about kind of more his movie career and the museum itself, but we're

Scott:

going to focus more on his personal

Jenn:

Sure.

Jenn:

So the house is kind of connected with the museum.

Jenn:

If you want to visit the museum.

Jenn:

And then go to the house, it's right next door.

Jenn:

And his house is at 220 South 2nd Street in Winterset, Iowa.

Jenn:

And he was born there May 26th, 1907.

Jenn:

And it really hasn't changed a lot since then.

Jenn:

It's a four bedroom house, or four bedroom, four room house.

Jenn:

One bedroom, one bedroom, one kitchen, one dining room, one living room.

Jenn:

That's it.

Jenn:

And so in the local newspaper reported four days after his birth

Jenn:

that he weighed 13 pounds at birth.

Jenn:

And so when we're in that house and I show you the room where he was born,

Jenn:

I just comment on a 13 pound baby.

Jenn:

I just can't even imagine amount of emotions that might have been

Jenn:

coming out of that room at the time.

Scott:

were there's a lot of screaming going on in this

Scott:

room and it's cool because they actually had the newspaper from

Jenn:

And So

Scott:

You know that one of the things that I noticed in the announcement

Scott:

of was just below that was an article about how popular for whatever, for

Scott:

Yeah, it was, it was probably coming back around, but it was just neat

Scott:

to see some of the other things.

Scott:

Sure.

Scott:

In the newspaper right there.

Scott:

So again, the, the video that we're, that we made already that's the, show notes.

Scott:

So if you guys wanna watch that, you can, but it was kind of neat

Scott:

to see what else was going on.

Scott:

It's 1907,

Jenn:

1907.

Jenn:

So Marian, it's so funny, his name is, is Feminine.

Jenn:

When you really think about it.

Jenn:

Marian Robert Morrison and he, his middle name will be changed to Michael

Jenn:

because they have a second boy in 1911 and they name him Michael.

Jenn:

So are they, I mean, they name him Robert.

Jenn:

So they change his middle name to Michael.

Jenn:

Now, there's no legal papers ever found to show that they did this.

Jenn:

I think they just kind of like, as a family, did it.

Jenn:

It was like they had a second boy and they really liked the name

Jenn:

Robert, but they had given it to him.

Jenn:

So they're like, well, we're going to kind of take it back and give you Michael

Jenn:

and we're going to call him Robert.

Scott:

how interesting.

Scott:

And, and that's funny because one of the things that I, I thought I actually

Scott:

could have done a little bit better in we actually show a lot of childhood pictures.

Scott:

Mm-Hmm.

Scott:

kind of on the walls and they're, they're, those are hard to find in Google.

Scott:

Like a lot of those don't, don't pop up all the time.

Scott:

So it was neat to kind of see them on, on, on the wall, but I,

Scott:

I, I wish I would've pointed out.

Scott:

It'd been more clear about who John Wayne was because he was the older

Jenn:

older brother.

Jenn:

It's obvious.

Scott:

it's obvious if you're looking at the pictures, but I would have liked to

Scott:

have called those out more because his younger brother was always there with

Jenn:

Yeah, his, he's four years older and his brother will pass

Jenn:

away nine years before him.

Jenn:

His brother did serve in the U.

Jenn:

S.

Jenn:

Navy.

Jenn:

So they have a dog named Duke and that is where that nickname

Jenn:

comes from for John Wayne.

Jenn:

And so that.

Jenn:

And we'll get more into this like his some of his wives would call him Duke

Jenn:

because that is the more Familiar name because John Wayne is a stage

Jenn:

name and even his children have the last name Morrison children don't

Jenn:

have the last name Wayne now they if they are in the movies like Patrick

Jenn:

Wayne That is again their stage name.

Jenn:

Yes, but their legal names are Morrison.

Scott:

Yeah, and I had read about how he kind of got the nickname as,

Scott:

as Duke because, you his dog, right.

Scott:

But his dog would follow him everywhere.

Scott:

And so they always kind of just became synonymous.

Scott:

I look, there's the Duke,

Jenn:

Yeah, Little Duke.

Jenn:

Yep.

Jenn:

Mm hmm.

Scott:

and so I just thought that was neat.

Scott:

I mean, it's very Indiana Jones ask, right.

Scott:

Because Indiana Jones is his nickname is like, because the dog's name

Jenn:

Is Indiana.

Jenn:

Mm hmm.

Scott:

thought that that was

Jenn:

So, Wayne's father, Clyde, was the son of American Civil War veteran Marion

Jenn:

Mitchell Morrison, which is why I like to always Say that because my maiden

Jenn:

name was Mitchell and then his mother Mary Molly Brown was from Nebraska but

Jenn:

there is a lot of Scottish ancestry there and Irish ancestry there and they come

Jenn:

from the different isles there where their family has located from but he

Jenn:

was raised Presbyterian and What I see a lot of is his father's a pharmacist and

Jenn:

they move for his job And so they're in they don't initially they're not from

Jenn:

Winterset, Iowa They're there because the pharmacy is there and that's where

Jenn:

the two boys are born and it's shortly after Roberts born that they will move

Jenn:

to California again for the pharmacy job.

Scott:

Yeah, so he lived in Winterset for what?

Jenn:

Yeah, like seven years And then they will move to California and

Jenn:

they'll settle in Glendale in 1916?

Scott:

so that's, I mean, that's my neck of the

Jenn:

Yes.

Jenn:

That was Mm-Hmm.

Scott:

grew up in that kind of greater

Jenn:

Mm-Hmm.

Jenn:

.And again, his father will work as a pharmacist and he's gonna go to Glendale

Jenn:

High School and he's gonna do sports and academics, and he doesn't quite have

Jenn:

the grades to go to the Naval Academy.

Jenn:

He applies.

Jenn:

Yes, but he's not accepted because of poor grades, so he goes to USC instead.

Scott:

That's right, Trojans.

Scott:

It's

Jenn:

It's so funny.

Jenn:

So while he's at USC, he's six foot four and a half and he plays on the

Jenn:

football team, but he's injured and it's that injury, it's a collarbone injury.

Scott:

They say what

Jenn:

I

Jenn:

don't know, but I'm sure someone would

Scott:

someone will know.

Scott:

But he

Jenn:

But he didn't injure himself playing football.

Jenn:

He injured himself body

Scott:

surfing

Jenn:

but he never wanted to tell his football coach that.

Scott:

academic

Jenn:

But he loses his academic scholarship, but when he loses

Jenn:

his scholarship, he has to leave the university and that's when he

Jenn:

starts working for the movies and starts doing the prop stuff and the

Jenn:

carpentry stuff and moving stuff and catches the eye of John Ford.

Jenn:

So we talked about his movie career.

Jenn:

Last time this is more about his family.

Jenn:

So I want to stress in 1933 He gets married for the

Jenn:

first time at 33 years old.

Scott:

Yeah, and before we go on to the,

Jenn:

I mean, he's 26

Scott:

and before we go on to the end of the marriage thing too, you know, Just

Scott:

so, so people know when you, especially in that the greater, Hollywood, Los Angeles

Scott:

area, it's very common for look for work.

Scott:

And because Hollywood is such a big industry out there,

Scott:

there's work to be had, right?

Scott:

And USC is right there too far from the Hollywood area and the studios,

Scott:

you know, Glendale, you know, and so it's not surprising that if he's

Scott:

looking for work, Did that kind of.

Scott:

Sure.

Jenn:

Sure, I mean, even if you go to the LA area today, people

Jenn:

always ask, are you in the industry?

Jenn:

And you're like, what?

Scott:

A.

Scott:

area today, people always ask, are you in the industry?

Scott:

Well, you live in the area,

Jenn:

And Hollywood industry, especially at the time in the 1920s, 1930s,

Jenn:

it's a big, like you said, industry of California before California

Jenn:

becomes more tech, what it is today.

Jenn:

It is just an agricultural and Hollywood industry at the time.

Jenn:

I mean, Disneyland was the Orange Grove.

Scott:

Yeah, and that's why I wanted to kind of call that out again,

Scott:

you would think like, oh, maybe he was pursuing You know, being

Scott:

an actor and acting and trying.

Scott:

That was his way in.

Scott:

He probably wasn't.

Scott:

He probably initially was just looking for work.

Scott:

Because that is, that's actually more common than people realize.

Scott:

And, and I'm more familiar with that.

Scott:

Again, having grown up in that area and known people that work, different parts

Scott:

of that industry and actually having know, again, for, for those, if this is

Scott:

your first time listening to the show, my great grandfather was a prop you know, so

Scott:

he built some big sets and was in charge of building sets for some very, very big

Jenn:

Rear window

Scott:

window,

Jenn:

10 commandments

Scott:

10 commandments with Charlton

Jenn:

greatest show on

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So, so it was, it's very common out in that area just to kind of set the

Scott:

stage, give context to people who might not be from, you know, the West

Jenn:

sure.

Jenn:

so his first wife Josephine is the daughter of a Diplomat,

Jenn:

but she is of Spanish descent.

Jenn:

So he's, he's a diplomat from Spain and he meets her and they get married in 1933.

Jenn:

They have four children

Scott:

Oh, wow.

Jenn:

and these are the four Michael Wayne Mary, Tony Wayne,

Jenn:

Patrick Wayne, Melinda Wayne.

Jenn:

When you see

Jenn:

Quiet,

Jenn:

Man and you see the four kids sitting in the wagon, those are his children.

Scott:

Oh, I didn't know

Jenn:

Those are his four kids.

Jenn:

So Patrick Wayne will go on to have a pretty big movie

Scott:

Yeah, I mean, and you've seen him in

Jenn:

Oh, McClintock.

Jenn:

He's been in a lot of movies with him.

Jenn:

He'll be in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.

Jenn:

He's in McClintock.

Jenn:

He's in Big Jake.

Jenn:

So he has a pretty big career.

Jenn:

So he will have four children from his first marriage.

Jenn:

He subsequently will get divorced and marry Esperanza.

Jenn:

She's from Latin America.

Jenn:

He probably wasn't likely had an affair with her.

Jenn:

He marries her really on the eve of his divorce from his first wife.

Jenn:

Now they never have children.

Jenn:

They're only married for, I think like four years.

Jenn:

Yeah, it was very steamy, very volatile No, they're actually

Jenn:

married for eight years.

Jenn:

She accuses him of a lot of affairs, some are true, some are not.

Jenn:

She's greeted him at the door a couple times with a loaded gun.

Jenn:

So, you can just imagine.

Jenn:

Yeah, I think he likes this kind of, yeah, the flair.

Scott:

lot of Yeah, I

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

So his third wife, again, married on the eve of divorce,

Jenn:

Pilar, will be his last wife.

Jenn:

They will never divorce, although they will separate.

Jenn:

And he has three children with her.

Jenn:

So you hear Ayesa Wayne, who's still alive today, John Ethan Wayne, who is named

Jenn:

after his character from The Searchers.

Jenn:

And he's also in the movie Big Jake, plays his grandson, even though he's the son.

Jenn:

And then Marissa Wayne.

Jenn:

So Ayesa Wayne and Marissa Wayne.

Jenn:

Very.

Jenn:

Similar sounding names, but they're all alive today.

Jenn:

Only Patrick Wayne is alive of the first four.

Jenn:

And then his three younger ones are still alive

Scott:

I don't think that was, that was something I've never really thought

Scott:

too much about John Wayne's personal

Jenn:

Mm hmm.

Scott:

other than I knew he had some

Jenn:

Sure.

Scott:

know, Patrick but it's one of those things it's interesting when you learn

Scott:

a little bit more about these historical you know, whether they're in the actors

Scott:

or kind of, ex presidents or whoever it is, and you learn about like Wait, what

Scott:

do you mean first Oh, there was two.

Scott:

No, no, no, there was three.

Scott:

It gives you a little bit more kind of more of the picture about the person

Scott:

than necessarily the legend that is whoever you're talking about, right?

Scott:

And in this case, it's John Wayne.

Scott:

And, and, you know, not, I'm not trying to bring him down at all, it's just

Scott:

interesting, you know, as you learn more about these people who really most

Scott:

people know and they're, they're very kind of have an emotional attachment to

Scott:

John Wayne and his movies and because of what he represented and what those

Scott:

movies often and the themes often represented, it's always interesting

Scott:

to learn a little bit more about the person that's behind the curtain.

Jenn:

Well, I would say John Wayne is, for lack of better

Jenn:

words, a typical movie star.

Jenn:

Of the time.

Jenn:

Because these men of the time, if you think of Clark Gable, if you're thinking

Jenn:

of, Jimmy Stewart is an anomaly.

Jenn:

He will stay married to his one and only wife for his whole life.

Jenn:

But there are some who they do have affairs.

Jenn:

They do have different women and it is kind of more acceptable and almost

Jenn:

like encouraged of leading men because it makes this this draw about them.

Scott:

of the time, too.

Scott:

I, you know, I don't know if it would be encouraged, but it's not as easily

Scott:

compared to things like know, it's, you know, if, if somebody suspected

Scott:

something, well, it's hard to, harder to catch someone in the act.

Scott:

There's no, not everybody has their cell phone in their pocket a camera, right?

Scott:

And then to actually publish something and, you know, Hollywood industry

Scott:

at the time had a lot of power.

Scott:

So, that's interesting to kind of, again,

Jenn:

But he's a big family man.

Jenn:

And they even talk about that in the museum.

Jenn:

So big car to get the seven children in.

Jenn:

He has a Ship or boat called I would say a small ship called the wild

Jenn:

goose that he ports in Long Beach.

Jenn:

And he likes to take it out to Catalina and big family guy

Jenn:

likes to have his kids with him.

Jenn:

There's lots of pictures of him selling, debating Christmases

Jenn:

with all seven children or Easter's with all seven children.

Jenn:

He built the John Wayne tennis club in Newport beach in 1973.

Jenn:

He just was very big into having.

Jenn:

These places to be with his family.

Jenn:

It is now the Palisades Tennis Club.

Scott:

Club.

Jenn:

So, he's just, he is this guy who really does love his family around him.

Jenn:

Now, even though him and Pilar are going to separate in 1973, and he

Jenn:

lives to 1979, they will never divorce.

Jenn:

And she is very adamant to let people know they never divorced.

Jenn:

Now, he will go on to have a relationship with his personal assistant.

Jenn:

And she writes a book, I think called John Wayne and Me, and

Jenn:

I actually read that book.

Jenn:

And if you, and then they became boyfriend, girlfriend, and she,

Jenn:

she took care of him basically towards the end of his life.

Jenn:

And if you ever hear what John Wayne's last words were.

Jenn:

It's, of course I know who you are.

Jenn:

You're my girl.

Jenn:

And he was, he said it to her.

Scott:

So

Jenn:

So he was like, she had come in to check on him in the, in the hospital room.

Jenn:

And she said, do you know who I am?

Jenn:

And he goes, of course I know who you are.

Jenn:

You're my girl.

Jenn:

So that's his last words were to

Scott:

words were to her.

Scott:

Were to her.

Scott:

Yeah, and that's actually, it's funny because I actually made a

Scott:

short about that amount of traffic.

Scott:

I don't think I realized

Jenn:

Yeah, it was his former secretary, Pat Stacey, and she published a

Jenn:

book called Duke, A Love Story.

Jenn:

And I read that book.

Jenn:

It's, it's fine.

Jenn:

It's good, you know, but it just gives you the background into the end of his life.

Jenn:

He also, his hair began to thin in the 1940s.

Jenn:

And he would wear a hairpiece.

Jenn:

So

Jenn:

you can see this a lot like Frank Sinatra wore a hairpiece.

Jenn:

And different people of the time, again, I think Gene Kelly wore a hairpiece.

Jenn:

And so, there would be pictures of him without his hairpiece on, like,

Jenn:

I think he went to Gary Cooper's funeral without the hairpiece so

Jenn:

you could see his thinning hair.

Jenn:

And then when he was at Harvard, he had gone there, they do the those awards,

Jenn:

what are they called, the Lampoon Awards, where they kind of, the Razzies.

Jenn:

aNd they were making fun of him for some role and John Wayne took

Jenn:

pride in accepting the award.

Jenn:

He showed up in a tank and it was really great.

Jenn:

He really like embodied you know, being a part of this persona.

Jenn:

And they asked him about.

Jenn:

The hair is a true your toupee is real hair and he responded.

Jenn:

Well, sir.

Jenn:

That's real hair.

Jenn:

Not mine, but real hair.

Scott:

Oh, so he, so he wasn't afraid to

Jenn:

No, no, he actually and they say a lot that Duke's personality and sense of

Jenn:

humor is very close to what people would see in the big screen when he was joking

Jenn:

is really that's kind of who he was.

Jenn:

So, yeah, towards the end of his life, he will get cancer

Jenn:

and he's the one who they think.

Jenn:

coined the term the big C.

Jenn:

So that's what he would call it.

Jenn:

The big C.

Jenn:

He had lung cancer, and then he had one of his lungs removed and

Jenn:

two ribs removed right before he shot The Sons of Katie Elder.

Jenn:

And we talked about this.

Jenn:

He wanted to do his own stunts in The Sons of Katie Elder.

Jenn:

And if you watch that movie, he's kind of dragged through like a river.

Jenn:

And he ends up getting, not a river, like a stream, and

Jenn:

he ends up getting pneumonia.

Jenn:

And with the one lung, he was very close to being close to death there,

Jenn:

but he was so adamant that he could still do all these stunts that he really

Jenn:

put his life in jeopardy during that.

Jenn:

Then towards the end of his life in 1979, the cancer had come back and

Jenn:

he had volunteered to do a study, a volunteer study, and he had checked

Jenn:

himself into the hospital there in L.

Jenn:

A.

Jenn:

for the study.

Jenn:

And he ends up passing away there.

Jenn:

And his, he actually passes away in June of 1979, actually June 11th,

Jenn:

1979, our daughter's birthday.

Scott:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And but he will appear at the Oscars that year.

Jenn:

So that's his last public appearance.

Jenn:

So in earlier in the year, you, that's the last time you will see John Wayne.

Jenn:

And he's a lot different.

Jenn:

He's a lot thinner.

Jenn:

And for a six foot four and a half man, who was always pretty.

Jenn:

Big and to see him then it was just a, a, a change but he, you know,

Jenn:

he ends up, you know, leaving the wild goose, docked in Newport beach.

Jenn:

It's listed on the U S registry of historic places.

Jenn:

There's a lot of pictures of him with that boat or ship.

Jenn:

He really did enjoy

Scott:

there was, there was a lot in the, movie part of things.

Scott:

They, they show a lot of, a lot of pictures of him on, on the boat.

Scott:

That's kind of how I always pictured him as well as as someone, not

Scott:

only, you know, the movie star, but when not making out there making

Scott:

movies, like you said, a family man who's out there doing stuff, right?

Scott:

He's out there fishing.

Scott:

He's out there.

Scott:

You know, hunting doing all those kinds of things.

Scott:

I mean, I, that's why I kind of find it amusing that he hurt his

Scott:

knee while he was in college body

Jenn:

in college

Scott:

Right?

Scott:

Because here's a, here's a guy just like anything at the time, like, you

Scott:

know, in the, in that era, you're not sitting around watching TV all the time.

Scott:

You're, you're out there doing stuff and that's kind of, that's who he was

Scott:

and, and he really did embody that.

Jenn:

There's been some controversy around John Wayne.

Jenn:

The Playboy interview is probably the biggest one where he was interviewed

Jenn:

for Playboy 1971 and he was talking in support of Vietnam and he made it very

Jenn:

clear that he was in support of Vietnam.

Jenn:

He also talked about he believed in white supremacy.

Jenn:

And he says, I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated

Jenn:

to the point of responsibility.

Jenn:

And so he felt, and I don't know exactly how he felt, but what he says

Jenn:

here and how I interpret it is that it's a white person's responsibility

Jenn:

to educate and bring up the, the people who have been oppressed.

Jenn:

And he.

Jenn:

almost feels like he believes until, until people can be to the point of

Jenn:

being educated and to hand it over That the white supremacy is more like white

Jenn:

Responsibility is what I read from this and I'm not trying to make excuses for

Jenn:

him, but that's how I'm reading his

Jenn:

words

Scott:

of the things, right, as we kind of joked about in the beginning,

Scott:

I'm not the history guy, but I've married into the history world.

Scott:

And one of the things that I've seen, you know, from some of these historic

Scott:

know, like John, like the John Waynes and, and like some others, you know,

Scott:

that, that are much more controversial.

Scott:

A lot of times, Again, I'll say the way that I interpret it from what I

Scott:

see and what they say or what they're trying to is they don't necessarily have

Scott:

the vocabulary that we have developed, however many years later today.

Scott:

I'd say, you know, society today is a lot better educated when it comes

Scott:

to talking about race and talking about, you know, past enslavement and

Scott:

kind of, know, those things evolve.

Scott:

I mean, we even joke about Who is it that you visited when you were

Scott:

out in Mississippi, Emmett Till?

Jenn:

Till, oh my, Miss Heron?

Jenn:

Miss Heron.

Jenn:

Mm hmm.

Scott:

right?

Scott:

And so, people use the language that they grew up and were taught

Scott:

and You kind of really have to take the see what they right?

Scott:

And again, unless they say, unless they write down somewhere or they

Scott:

say how they feel, you kind of have to interpret a little bit.

Scott:

But again, a lot of times they just don't have the language.

Scott:

That we would have, right?

Scott:

Take John Wayne and transport him 50 years into the future to today.

Scott:

And he may have said that in a much more, by today's today's through, in a

Scott:

much more socially acceptable manner.

Scott:

Right?

Scott:

Again, you and I are very much interpreting here.

Scott:

But you have to remember that.

Jenn:

You

Jenn:

have to remember that.

Jenn:

And so I always look for people said this and what did they do, right?

Jenn:

And so John Wayne on the set of The Searchers, if you think of the American

Jenn:

Indian woman on The Searchers who plays the bride of the boy, right?

Jenn:

She was, John Wayne found her crying on set and he was like,

Jenn:

what are you upset about?

Jenn:

And she goes, I'm going to miss my son's graduation from high school.

Jenn:

John Wayne shut down the set and flew her back to LA so she

Jenn:

could attend his graduation.

Jenn:

So he, I don't think And again, I, I think, like you said, people don't have

Jenn:

the words in the 1970s, even today people are still looking for the right way to

Jenn:

express themselves with clear words, because really finding the right word

Jenn:

for a feeling is a difficult thing to do.

Jenn:

I think with John Wayne, I think his heart is in the right place for me

Jenn:

when I base it on his actions than what he's trying to say or interpret

Jenn:

or in one interview, one time.

Jenn:

And this is what Patrick Wayne kind of gets into after this after this

Jenn:

interview resurfaces again, and in 2019 people want to change the John

Jenn:

Wayne airport and his son defends him saying it would be an injustice to

Jenn:

judge someone based on an interview that's being taken out of context.

Scott:

and, and that's what you and I really try hard to do is paint the

Scott:

picture and give you the context, you the listener that's listening to

Scott:

this We try to give you the context and we try to frame it in such a way.

Scott:

That we're not laying in one way or the other, but we, we, we try to

Scott:

really understand what it was like back then and also identify the lens

Scott:

that we view things through now.

Scott:

If you can identify that, you're, you're going to understand history a lot better.

Scott:

You're going to understand what these historic figures are saying in public,

Scott:

in interviews, in whatever letters they write much better if you understand one.

Scott:

The glasses that we look at things and two, the context

Jenn:

And like I said, I like to tell you what people said, I also

Jenn:

like to tell you what people did.

Jenn:

Again, you can make up your mind of how you feel about John Wayne, and you

Jenn:

can tell us in the comments if how you feel about him, because I know people

Jenn:

have different feelings about him.

Jenn:

But for the most part, what I want you to know and understand is as a historian,

Jenn:

our job, and my job, when I talk to people like Miss Heron, who It was

Jenn:

brought up in the times of Mississippi.

Jenn:

I want to understand where they're coming from.

Jenn:

Start to pose the questions and get in their mind.

Jenn:

And when you really start to change hearts, you really have to understand

Jenn:

where someone's coming from.

Jenn:

And if you really want Change.

Jenn:

And if that's what we want in this world is to change people

Jenn:

and use history as a catalyst.

Jenn:

So don't repeat history.

Jenn:

Don't do the same things as stories.

Jenn:

If we want to use history as a catalyst, then we really have to treat

Jenn:

people with respect where they're at, understand where they're coming

Jenn:

from and really empathize and then start to pull, ask questions and get.

Jenn:

change of heart if, if that's what we're looking for.

Jenn:

So again, as a historian, I, you know, and I love John Wayne.

Jenn:

I wanted to talk about his family, his love of his family, and I

Jenn:

wanted to paint the picture.

Jenn:

Three wives, seven kids, and had this playboy interview, acted differently

Jenn:

in real life, and part of his grave when he finally passes away.

Jenn:

July and June of 1979 he's buried at Pacific View Memorial Park and

Jenn:

he has not an ornate tombstone.

Jenn:

We've talked about this before he's buried in the same Cemetery as

Jenn:

Jimmy Stewart not far actually away from Jimmy Stewart flat tombstone.

Jenn:

Nothing even that's It sticks out out of the ground and it says tomorrow

Jenn:

comes clean with no mistakes in it.

Jenn:

And we hope that we have learned something from yesterday to

Jenn:

do our best for tomorrow.

Jenn:

And that is from the same interview.

Jenn:

So I'm just putting it out there.

Jenn:

That is what's on this tombstone.

Jenn:

That's the same interview.

Jenn:

And here I hear what I hear when I hear this is someone who is admits that

Jenn:

they are still learning and not always

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And that's, that's incredibly important.

Scott:

And again, we've seen that a couple of times.

Scott:

We've talked about some controversial things.

Scott:

Will say or do and, and later in life, they, you see their actions change

Scott:

that support, What you would assume is, is them learning and them accepting

Scott:

and coming what we today would So

Scott:

we've had the privilege of delving deep into the life and legacy of John Wayne,

Scott:

right from the heart of Winterset, Iowa, where it all It's incredible how

Scott:

a small house in a quiet town can be the birthplace of a Hollywood legend.

Scott:

As we've explored the life of John Wayne, we also uncovered the deep

Scott:

connections between his early years and the unforgettable characters portrayed

Scott:

on the We hope you've enjoyed this journey through time and cinema as

Scott:

we've enjoyed it bringing it to you.

Scott:

If you found this episode as fascinating as we did, please take a moment to

Scott:

hit that subscribe button, leave a review, and share this episode with

Scott:

friends, family, and fellow . History.

Scott:

and film And remember the John Wayne Birthplace Home in Winterset, Iowa is

Scott:

not just a It's a symbol and testament to the power of dreams, determination,

Scott:

and the enduring appeal of storytelling.

Scott:

Thank you for listening to the Talk with History podcast.

Scott:

If you know someone else that might enjoy this, again, please share it with them.

Scott:

We rely on you, our community, to grow, and we appreciate you all every day.

Scott:

We'll talk to you next

Jenn:

next time.

Jenn:

Thank

Scott:

you.

About the Podcast

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Talk With History
A Historian and Navy Veteran talk about traveling to historic locations

About your hosts

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Scott B

Host of the Talk With History podcast, Producer over at Walk with History on YouTube, Editor of HistoryNewsletter.com
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Jennifer B

Former Naval Aviator turned Historian and a loyal Penn Stater. (WE ARE!) I earned my Masters in American History and graduate certificate in Museum Studies, from the University of Memphis.

The Talk with History podcast gives Scott and me a chance to go deeper into the details of our Walk with History YouTube videos and gives you a behind-the-scenes look at our history-inspired adventures.

Join us as we talk about these real-world historic locations and learn about the events that continue to impact you today!

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Thank you to everyone who supports the show and keeps us up and running. Doing this with your support means that we can continue to share history and historic locations for years to come!
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Thank you for the great podcasts and for sharing your passion! Love hearing about the locations you visit.