LiveAuctionTalk.com Highlights John Wayne Memorabilia in its Weekly Free Article Rosemary McKittrick offers in-depth information about the world of art, antiques and collectibles. Visit her site and sign up for a free weekly subscription. Photo courtesy of High Noon.
News-Antique.com - May 07,2007 - May 7, 2007-- John Wayne worked as a prop man for William Fox Studios for two years at $35 a week before getting his big acting break in 1930.
Director Raoul Walsh discovered the 23-year-old. Walsh decided the name Marion Robert Morrison seemed too sissified so John Wayne was born, named after Revolutionary War general “Mad Anthony” Wayne.
In his debut film “The Big Trail” Wayne played a wagon train scout heading west from Missouri to Oregon. At the start of the talkies, it was the first widescreen western epic.
Wayne’s pay was raised to $75 a week for the film. The studio’s stuntmen coached him in horseback riding and the ways of a cowboy, Wayne’s acting skills seemed instinctive.
“He stepped down off his horse and gave me that lopsided grin which was to become one of his trademarks. How did I do, Mr. Walsh? He was confident in himself by this time and looked as if he knew the answer,” Walsh said.
Through more than 200 films over 50 years, Wayne rode the range into the hearts of millions. He was the ideal father figure. Moviegoers couldn’t get enough.
"When I started, I knew I was no actor and I went to work on this Wayne thing," he said. "It was as deliberate a projection as you'll ever see. I figured I needed a gimmick, so I dreamed up the drawl, the squint and a way of moving meant to suggest that I wasn't looking for trouble but would just as soon throw a bottle at your head as not. I practiced in front of a mirror."
Wayne won a best actor Oscar for the western, "True Grit," in 1969. In his final 1976 film, “The Shootist” Wayne played an aging gunslinger who, like himself, finds himself dying of cancer.
Everything that has to do with western stars is going to be collectible, especially John Wayne. There are people out there who’ll buy just about anything related to him.
The Remington New Army 1861 revolver Wayne used in his first starring role in “The Big Trail” went on the block on Jan. 20 at High Noon Western Americana auction held in Phoenix, Ariz. It sold for $51,750.
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