The third and final chapter of the Lessons from John Wayne. Be sure you catch up on what we had to say in installments 1 and 2.
I was able to visit John Wayne’s birthplace in Winterset, Iowa earlier this year. Walking through the place, it became clear that his influence still has lots of inertia. The man and the characters started to merge. In his later interviews, Wayne starts to reiterate and paraphrase quotes and themes from his past films. A reason is because John Wayne the man had had a lifetime of exercising admirable qualities in his characters.
“Talk low, talk slow, don’t say too much.”
The man and his characters were never guilty of saying too much. The above quote is advice Wayne was giving to a young actor.
There are a number of examples of John Wayne speaking out directing and and carefully for what he believed in. John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart were about to walk outside and were to be greeted by a crowd of Vietnam protesters. Stewarts son had just been killed in the war. John Wayne exited the building first and informed the protesters about Stewarts son. Despite political differences, he asked the protesters to respect a grieving father and put the signs down and let him pass in peace. Everyone was respectful.
Let Others Take the Credit
"You talk too much, think too much. Besides, YOU didn't kill Liberty Valance."
*Spoiler Alert* In the film, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” John Wayne’s character confides in Jimmy Stewart that he was in fact the man who shot Liberty Valance. Holding this secret, he allows Stewarts character to be a lifelong senator. This is not the only example of selflessness in the life and characters of John Wayne. It's a good reminder that trustworthiness and humility are necessary in being a person that people can trust.
Stay on Center
“Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway.”
Sure, many of his characters are known to fly off the handle and get into a bar fight. The distinguishing characteristic is that he seems to know exactly what he is doing. He’s not covered in a white hot rage with fists flying. He is in total control and doesn’t let his emotion get the better of him.
Be Willing to Change
In response to the emotional outburst of Lt. Col. Benjamin Vandervoort [Wayne] a fellow soldier comments,
“The old man [Wayne] sure has changed since yesterday”
A stereotype of John Wayne is that he is a matter of fact, heels dug in, bullheaded bumpkin. Perhaps the most important lesson to learn from these chapters is: believe what you believe, defend it with matter of factness, but be willing to change.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these articles and find them helpful in implementing some positive change in your life. If you think we missed anything please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the screen.
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-Top 5 Famous Hitchhikers
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-Poem from a fan
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