The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Men of the West #4

John Wayne (aka Singin' Sandy)


Brent McKee said...

I managed to see the "Singin' Sandy" movie a couple of times. The first time was on TBS, and you could hear just how bad it was even though they replaced John Wayne's singing voice with someone whose singing wasn't totally bad. The second time was when Lonestar the "westerns" channel on Canadian digital cable debuted. For some reason, whoever had released this version of the film decided to redub all of John Wayne's dialog with a bad impersonator so he sounded more like the mature Wayne and then, to add considerable insult to injury, used the same guy to redub the songs so that it sounded like the mature John Wayne doing the singing. The words atrocious and travesty do not begin to explain how awesomely awful this was.

Viewing any of John Wayne's 'B' output up to a year or two before he did Stagecoach will make you appreciate how much he did grow as an actor and how much further he would grow once he was under the control of directors like John Ford.

Tom Sutpen said...

Perhaps I have low standards (could be), but I actually like most of the Westerns Wayne made between The Big Trail and that John Ford picture, and I'm especially fond of the series he did for Lone Star (two of which were the Singin' Sandys). For what they were -- short, totally unpretentious Sagebrush melodramas -- they were more than watchable (Archie Stout was usually the cinematographer). Now, obviously the Singin' Sandys are ridiculous (which is probably why they made just two of them) but if you strike out the "There'll be guns a-blazin' . . . " warbles, I don't think they're all that bad.

But then . . . you could say I've seen too many Westerns (I wouldn't argue with ye).

Nick Zegarac said...

Second tier Wayne is lightyears better than practically first tier anyone else.

There's a magnitism and event quality to his performances, much like those of Joan Crawford or Bette Davis. Even when the material is less than stellar, these artists managed to elevate their craft into the artistic forum that remains memorable, swift and sure - even as the hours of time move further away from their setting suns.