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Category Archives: MY ARTICLES

I have written many articles but have finally been talked into creating a blog to display them. For instance, I always write an article about Ward Bond on the anniversary of his death which was November 5, 1960. This year, I was guest author on Speakeasy where Kristina published my article.
As I frequently post on different items, usually western films and data between 1940s and 1970s and concentrating on most folks in the John (Pappy) Ford Troupe, I will first use this to show those. I will also display my sketches and list my favorite blogs. Most of my posts will not concern an entire movie, but more the little things that have been missed in those movies by most, and some that have not previously been published anywhere that I know of. Hope you enjoy. Keith

Comer Moon Mullins

Comer Moon Mullins

Once the world’s greatest finger and thumb picking guitar player, Moon is still actively entertaining and teaching.  This is the start of the story of this remarkable man with a few pictures of him now.  He took Merle Travis’ style and added two fingers to create what is now mastered by few but loved by many.  Dean Phelps is the reining “champ” now, I believe.  Much more to come……hopefully I will MASTER this BLOG as Moon did the guitar!  KEITH  For those of you who don’t know, I am the OLD Lady of the group on the right sitting next to Moon………..the Old Man of our group!  Moon has on his American Mountain Man coonskin cap, (he and I had been in our buckskins earlier for a wood’s walk and some pictures.  More to come on this unusual man with the great stories!Image

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This is Moon’s “Harem”.  We were lucky enough to have him accompany us on a horse riding mini vacation, Moon is an excellent rider.  As he cannot pass a guitar without picking it up and there were 5 in the wonderful “Cabin” we rented, we not only had picking and singing sessions, but no matter what we were doing, we usually had world class guitar picking to listen to also.  His “job” was to keep the fireplace roaring and play songs!  Later, I will be posting a few of the videos we made there where he “found” his voice that he had lost in the hospital when we almost lost him!

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in MY ARTICLES

 

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Three Bad Men: John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond FIRST QUARTERLY REPORT

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Well, our long awaited day of the first report of sales of Three Bad Men has finally arrived.  Scott got the news from his publisher.  Out of the now 18 books Scott has written for McFarland Publishers, this first quarter, Three Bad Men has sold over twice the amount than any other one has.  He is very pleased, and now realizes the importance of promotion!  Scott mainly cares about the research and writing of his books.  After that is done, so is he.  But, it is nice to see the money keep rolling in and that it should for his other books also.  Here is a list of his books from McFarland.  I have two of them and they are excellent, in my opinion.Image

The Black Diamond, (about Theron Denson, a Neil Diamond Tribute Singer), was started the same day of the completion of Three Bad Men, and It is now published and out to the public. This is a link to the Facebook page about the book.  https://www.facebook.com/BlackDiamondTheRealIllusion
Here is an intro from Fox 8 News and then an excerpt from Theron singing “I Am I Said” on Youtube.  Many more are on there, so check him out.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWw8uDttFkE
Here is a picture of Scott and Theron, not long after Scott’s 50th birthday and right after he finished TBM.  Theron went to his house and stayed there for 3 days telling his life story,  and having pictures made.  This shows the two together with some of Scott’s other books.  Picture of Scott and Black Diamond

As for Scott, his progressive illness is still taking its toll……hopefully it will stop very soon as the site of it is in his lower spine.  He is now in a wheelchair, but that hasn’t slowed him down.  He and his family moved out to Iowa, about an hour’s drive from Winterset, Duke Wayne’s birthplace.  They are just about settled in now.  And Scott…..no writing for him.  He SAYS he is retired…….we will see.  Now, he is involved in music, (four of his books divulged deeply into the music of Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and The Jethro Tull Band…….he KNOWS his music.  We will see if he sends us anything of what he is doing.  He is a genius author…….wonder if that extends to composing, etc.

The Black Diamond has a big concert coming up in Nashville…….only a few hours from me.  Just think I might pop on over three with some friends.  I LOVE Neil Diamond and will never see him in public.  I think Theron will do nicely.  CYA, KEITH

Those Wagon Train fans, “keep your eyes open” as Major Adams would say to Flint McCullough………I have a piece coming out on one of the best episodes of the first four seasons.  LOTS of great screen views and some of the best acting of Ward Bond, Terry Wilson, and Frank McGrath!

 

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2013 in THREE BAD MEN BOOK REVIEWS ETAL

 

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Posted by on August 7, 2013 in THREE BAD MEN BOOK REVIEWS ETAL

 

Three Bad Men: John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond Review by Jeff Arnold

New review out for Three Bad Men by Scott Nollen.

 

Check out Jeff’s blog and sign up for it.

 

http://jeffarnoldblog.blogspot.fr/

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in THREE BAD MEN BOOK REVIEWS ETAL

 

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HOUGIE HEAVEN HOUSE RAISING

HOUGIE HEAVEN HOUSE RAISING

Ever been part of an old fashioned HOUSE RAISING?  Well, I was for Rendezvous friends Carolyn and Jon Houglum in Franklin, NC.  They did it just as the old homesteaders of long ago would have.  Carolyn very carefully documented all stages of it both pictorally and texually….even made a movie about it.  This will take you to their site where you can follow a most remarkable story from when they bought the property and began cutting wood and taking it to the little portable sawmill to make the lumber  all the way to the final product filled with the cabinets and furniture Jon built especially to the designs in the album Caroline had been filling with items and saving patiently for years.  When Son Josh graduated, they sold their home in Florida, retired and moved lock stock and barrel to Franklin to continue this saga.  Some folks came from all over the country for the original house raising that took about a week and saw the two stories and basement “dried in”.  They camped out in their Rendezvous tents, trailers, etc.  Carolyn made certain all had the greatest food and plenty of it.  Of course, “libations” of ALL kinds were available also, but ONLY after all work was called off for the day…..as you will see, some of the work was dangerous enough to require a COMPLETELY clear head, LOL.  I have noted the pages concerning myself, (I was able to go back a few times to help since I am only 3 hours away).  But, my first job was crew chief for the huMONgous porch about 15 feet in the air.  Thank the Lord I brought a trailerload of heavy duty scaffolding to leave with Jon for the entire project.  Now remember, all wood for the house and furniture was cut by John and Carolyn themselves.  Some pictures show the piles of it with “stickers” between each board to be sure it dried straight and true.  So, treat this as a small book and take the time to read the different entries and look at the pictures…..it will take you back in time as it did us.

Aside from being the Crew Chief for the porch which turned out to be the most fun place to sit and survey the beautiful scenery through the following years, I went back to help Jon with other things.  First, with Carolyn’s help, we put the trusses on the porch for the Tin Roof then put the tin on.  Other times, Jon and I put the ceiling up in the basement, I wired the main and sub electrical panels, we hung some cabinets, and a large ceiling lamp, we put in the heavy front door for the porch, we did some duct work, and I think the cricket on the chimney, there were other things, but you can see them if you click on the page numbers I have marked.  However, most of my friends have thought it more fun to just follow the whole saga and see where I pop up here and there. Here is the link to Caroline’s documentation.  Know what a “hooter” is?…….you WILL after reading this, LOL.    http://hougieheaven.homestead.com/Page01.html

Here is the “labor of love” a few years after finished.  Next shows the first wall we put up, (you can see me in the bright pink shirt……..looks as if I alone am holding up the wall, (look closely, the braces are already nailed in, LOL)!  Next is me securing one of the braces for the 16 foot 6x6s used for the Porch supports.  I had a super “porch” crew.  Had NO idea Jon’s sisters would be so helpful.  Of course, Terry, Jon’s son, was just a little fellah when I first met him at Rendezvous.  He was a big strapping lad here and a tremendous help to me.  Miss you Terry!

Dream_Home_325 Years laterRaising east wall first oneKeith_Pg_7 brace for porch

Pages you can find me:  6  , 7  (yep that is me up there on the floor joists.  Third pic on this page shows me standing up there in a white shirt., 9 shows the porch sans railings but all flooring laid and secured, 10 I am in aqua blue short sleeves sitting on ground next to Jon,  11 temporary banisters for porch before heading home. 22 Jon and I finish the porch roof.  When I told Jon how we would cut the side boards off even for the rafter ledge, he didn’t like the idea of holding the skill saw sideways, pulling the guard back and sawing away….don’t blame him…….not the CORRECT way to use a skill saw….but I had done it many places for many years, so there is a picture of me doing that on this page…..main thing was to watch your step while doing it, LOL.  23 shows the porch finished and tells the Story of Charlie the Bear, (chain sawed by a friend of mine), and how I met Jon and Carolyn 19 years before then at one of Charlie Knight’s Dove Shoots. 31 shows the completed porch, (most of it), and beside the white door is a log stand with the little black bear we named Charlie.  40 shows Jon and me running the chimney pipe, Jon on that slippery roof with wet silicone on his shoes, and then showed Jon how to put up heavy OSB on the ceiling with two rather small people, (Jon and me), by building two “jacks”…..1×4 boards almost as high as the ceiling, with a 4 foot piece of 1×4 screw across the top……simple!  Then, as always, time for a drink and a nice rest on the porch before one of Carolyn’s scrumptious meals. 52 I wired the panel and subpanel, and Jon and I hung the kitchen overhead lamp.   I think that is the last I made it over there.  Had a big job in town and couldn’t make it to the first Houseraising Reunion, DARN!

So, this is how you build a house when you start with just a piece of land, LOL!  I had always wanted to do it that way, with the wall raisings, etc….but had never been able to.  This was a blast and a half and then some!  Don’t stop when the house is done….keep going and see how Jon used his red cedar lumber, the poplar, birch, oak, spruce, etc…….all made by…..well MADE by God, but prepared by Jon and Carolyn.  Most of the furniture is built by Jon for that same lumber.  They DID ORDER the old timey Stove which is really gas……not wood burning!  He built Carolyn some very beautiful furniture!  Oh, Jon is and has been for many years an excellent artist.  His paintings now hang in a good many NC galleries and he gives art classes at his studio and on YouTube!  Here is the link for his Art Site:   www.houglumfineart.com

ENJOY, WE DID!  KEITH

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in MY ARTICLES

 

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Monday, May 27…

BOOK REVIEW FROM  Sean Gill  http://juntajuleil.blogspot.com/2013/05/book-review-three-bad-men-john-ford.html

Monday, May 27, 2013
Book Review: THREE BAD MEN: JOHN FORD, JOHN WAYNE, WARD BOND (2013, Scott Allen Nollen)

I’m a longtime fan of John Ford (who isn’t, really?), the patron-saint of Monument Valley, born-again Irishman, and director of some of the best-constructed, most thoughtful films to come out of Hollywood, from THE INFORMER to THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE to THE QUIET MAN to THE GRAPES OF WRATH.
John Wayne is, so to speak, John Wayne, though his work frequently transcends the “movie star” mold with a dancer’s grace and a touch of madness like in Ford’s THE SEARCHERS, Hawks’ RED RIVER, and Siegel’s THE SHOOTIST.
Then, there’s Ward Bond: a character actor extraordinaire who played brutes and cowpokes and priests and boxers across more than two hundred films. Though his supporting work with Ford and Wayne is why he’s included in this trio, my soft spot for him will always be his one and only shot at top-billing in 1942’s HITLER: DEAD OR ALIVE, a film that clearly inspired INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and contains the fabulous spectacle of Ward slapping the shit out of Hitler himself …before proceeding to force-shave off his mustache!

Anyway, I just finished reading Scott Allen Nollen’s in-depth examination of the lives and work of these three cinematic giants, and I highly recommend it as a fascinating study for burgeoning old-Hollywood aficionados and serious fans of cinema alike. Chronologically tracing the intertwining lives of these three “good-bad men” who were not unlike the characters in their films (Ford directed Bond and Wayne in nearly thirty pictures each), Nollen is at once objective and affectionate in his analysis, and there’s a wealth of source material including documents, letters, telegrams, and plenty of rare photographs. There are riveting anecdotes (I may now actually be inspired to read Harry Carey, Jr.’s autobiography), some great yarn-spinning (including tales of Ward Bond’s brutish, high-flying, indecent-exposing, Wile E. Coyote-style antics and his ruining of a key scene in THE SEARCHERS when he unplugged the camera to plug in his electric razor!), and the work definitely touches on their peccadillos and absurdities, though never salaciously.

It’s deftly written and never dry; while many books of this kind become bogged down by academic posturing, Nollen remains true to the spirit of his subjects and opts for a two-fisted, no bullshit approach. I really appreciate how deeply he throws himself into the work, freely admitting “a meaningful (though a bit one-sided) conversation with a tombstone or two.” He’s as a film writer should be– intense, obsessive, and highly-focused; reverent without succumbing to hollow adulation.

The main drive of the work is the examination of the complex personal and working relationship between the three (though large swaths of the book are dedicated to advancing the underrated Ward Bond to his rightful place in the pantheon). None of these men could really be pinned down or branded with a particular stereotype– each had a volatile mix of id and ego (often sprinkled heavily with alcohol) that fused together to create a kind of perfect storm of filmic art.
The complex psychology of Ford’s relationships with the two men is indeed worthy of an entire volume– you see a strange kind of ownership emerge, resulting from Ford’s “discovering” of the two actors. This ownership was generally expressed in verbal (and often physical) sadism as Ford became master of his “whipping boys,” something which may have even tied into his potential bisexuality:

“Ford loved John Wayne and Ward Bond, but his true sexual orientation wasn’t something he would have discussed with them, or anyone else. When it came to his own life and psyche, Pappy [Ford] avoided the truth, exaggerated, lied, or just didn’t ‘have any goddamn idea.’ The positive emotions he felt for his two favorite actors and whipping boys may have been the underlying cause of his negative, sadistic treatment of them (and himself); but even a lifetime of psychoanalysis may not have ‘proved’ anything.”

Vindictive and controlling, Ford “froze out” Wayne for eight years when he appeared in a rival director’s Western (Raoul Walsh’s THE BIG TRAIL) and later, when Bond made serious forays into television (WAGON TRAIN) and Wayne tried to direct a picture of his own (THE ALAMO), Ford would sometimes install himself as a presence on set and attempt to undermine/co-opt the work therein. These behaviors even extended beyond the trio– he punched out Henry Fonda (!) on MISTER ROBERTS and made cruel, deliberate use of alcohol to wring earth-shattering, hungover performances out of the likes of Victor McLaglen in THE INFORMER and Woody Strode in SERGEANT RUTLEDGE.

Though he reveals these men “warts and all,” Nollen also paints a portrait of devoted friends and masterful artists whose lives and creative outlets meshed almost completely. (For instance, despite the abuse, Ford chose Bond to play his own alter-ego in the deeply personal THE WINGS OF EAGLES.)

Nollen takes on the accusations of racism in Ford’s films, and reveals his struggle to show all sides despite the constraints of the system– especially evident in films like THE SEARCHERS, SERGEANT RUTLEDGE, and CHEYENNE AUTUMN. He tackles the strange political spectrum of the men, too, with John Ford’s patriotic progressivism, Wayne’s conservatism, and Ward Bond’s ultraconservatism (and yet it was Ford who took his camera overseas into the crucible of World War II while Wayne and Bond remained in Hollywood). He doesn’t shy away from Ward Bond’s shameful behavior in the McCarthy era as a supporter of the blacklist:

“The social climbing Bond’s ultimate political affront to Ford involved an invitation to a party he was throwing for Senator Joseph McCarthy. His great mentor [Ford] simply answered, ‘You can take your party and shove it. I wouldn’t meet that guy in a whorehouse. He’s a disgrace and a danger to our country.'”

Bond’s involvement with the blacklist feels like a moral counterpoint to Ford’s extensive work with the U.S. armed forces in World War II and beyond, and much attention here is paid to his military career (I learned that in North Africa a Nazi actually surrendered himself to John Ford!)

Along the way, Nollen delves into a vast spectrum of material including Ford’s relationship with his older brother Francis (mentor, actor, and silent film director), Ford’s gleeful propensity for Chaucer/Shakespearean-style low comedy and his hilariously bizarre obsession with highlighting Ward Bond’s “horse’s ass” in shot compositions (“Although FORT APACHE is a serious examination of the mythology of the American West, it humorously can be branded Ford’s ‘ass-travaganza'”). Of particular interest to me were Ford’s work with Victor McLaglen (whose performance in THE INFORMER is one of the greatest in filmdom), his direction of genius child actor and later genre-movie legend Roddy McDowall in HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, Bond’s artistic process as unofficial show-runner on WAGON TRAIN, and the compelling, touching latter-day friendship between Ford and Woody Strode– and the book certainly has some genuinely emotional, poignant moments as the three “good-bad” men’s lives dwindle to a close.

In the end, it definitely gets you amped up to watch some John Ford films– I’ve probably seen at least two dozen or so at this point, but there’s still scores more I need to get my hands on, and there’s obviously some big gaps in my knowledge. For instance, since I’ve read THREE BAD MEN, MISTER ROBERTS, THEY WERE EXPENDABLE, 3 GODFATHERS, and WAGON MASTER have now leapt to the forefront of my queue.

THREE BAD MEN is published by McFarland (Order line: 800-253-2187), ISBN 978-0-7864-5854-7
Posted by Sean Gill at 10:47 AM 2 comments:
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Labels: 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, Book Review, John Ford, John Wayne, Roddy McDowall, War, Ward Bond, Western
Friday, May 24, 2013

 
 
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Duke’s Birthday

Duke's Birthday

Happy 106th Birthday Duke! Hope You, Ward, and Pappy have a blast!

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2013 in MY ARTICLES