There are few men who have ever touched the American Spirit in the way John Wayne
did while he was living and still, today, in the remembrances of him. Sure, the man
was an actor....a true to life actor that as well could have been a war hero, a cowboy,
a 'wild-catter' oil driller...many of the roles he acted out he did with conviction and
temperament. I've related to you about meeting him in the Los Angels area in 1954..
at the corner of Lincoln and Washington Blvd. in Culver City...Owen-Keown Chevrolet
dealership where there was a Hollywood style hoop-la going on...bands and search lights...
.there celebrating his newest
movie, THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY and the new 1954 TV show Route 66 and the new
Chevy muscle car introduction. It was July and I was being processed for Navy discharge
at Long in the day time and standing shore patrol at nights in the Long
Beach Pike ......I was in white uniform...still had the little navy Seabee patch up
on the shoulder of my uniform.. The big man interrupted what he was doing and the
moment was mine......I am 5'8" and I swear, it seemed I come up to the big belt buckle
he had on...that part was strong, his having been a friend of the Seabees since playing
the role in the movie, THE FIGHTING SEABEES back in 1944...In that tell-tale voice that
seemed to kind of rumble, "WHERE THE HELL DO YOU HAIL FROM SEABEEE" and the
real clincher on that firm handshake when I told him Iowa for he related that had been
where he had been 'birthed'! His old pal Ward Bond was there that day and the young
actors that would ultimately play the characters in ROUTE 66...always will
remember and retell again as I have
again this time...JW

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