John Wayne and Fans….

What does it mean to be a John Wayne fan? That thought raises in interesting question, do you have what it takes to be a fan? Now by no means am I talking about just the day to day life but do you try and challenge other friends with John Wayne trivia? Do you try and get the collectibles, or try and own all of his movies. And at the same time debate within your own mind about getting the same movies over again, just due to a special “documentary” that you do not own?

Now I for my own collection have a wide variety of all sorts of collectibles, including collector plates, movies, pictures and a monopoly game. But I know and have talked to people that have huger collections than that, but does that make me or does that make them a fan? That is an interesting thought to try and process, but we need to go a little deeper and examine more of the fan psyche. A fan, sometimes also called aficionado or supporter, is a person who is enthusiastically devoted to something, such as a band, a sports team or entertainer. I think Leonard Maltin worded it best what could be described as the John Wayne essential fan, “To many people [John Wayne] represents the quintessential American.” To many he defined the American Hero, the all American cowboy, the true hero of the west. But also the defender of the rights and the person who would speak his mind and not care what others think. The one who would speak up for the little guy, the hero we all wish our dads may have been, or for that matter who we wish our dads were.

Now for me It all started when I was six years old, I remember watching The Quiet Man from 1952, I always said that is who I wanted to be when I grew up. I think I was the only one who went as John Wayne that year for Halloween. I still remember walking up top someone’s house saying trick or treat in my best John Wayne style and on their TV from the corner of my eyes I noticed Sons of Katie Elder 1965. And to  think I was born 3 years after his death, I think if I had grown up during World War 2 I would have honestly thought of him as one of the faceless heroes of the war. I would have probably became a republican and known where my vote would have stayed. There is still a side in which we as fans growing up in the later years did not get a sense of during his career side. And I think that was to have witnessed that first hand. I have heard he created autograph cards to hand out to fans instead of singing every autograph, I would have been ok with that. Lots of his costars on both sides of the fence had the most respect for him. From an actor to an activist to defending the rights of the nation in which He loved, there will only be one John Wayne. And as actor who spoke on behalf of the fans who made movies he knew his fans would enjoy that only speaks volumes.


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