Wednesday, June 22, 2011

a man called horsefeathers

In 1970 an unusual Western was released starring Richard Harris.  In 'A Man Called Horse' an English aristocrat, played by Richard Harris, is captured by Indians while bathing naked in a river. As the white man lives (and treated like an animal) with the tribe, he began to understand and accept their culture. After he is hung by his nipples, he is eventually accepted as part of the tribal family and soon becomes their leader.

In 'The Return of A Man Called Horse' (1976) the aristocratic John Morgan is back living the aristocratic lifestyle when he sensed in his spirit that something bad has happened on to his Indian tribe.  He decides to leave his comfy home and return to his other people.  When he arrives, Morgan finds Yellow Hand tribe defeated and casted out from their tribal lands.  For some reason though, our hero has lost his way somehow.  He sulks around and then decided there is only one recourse.  He must get naked once again and get smoked like a ham while getting high.  This is apparently how Native Americans got their visions.  Far out-um!

Of course A Man Called Horse sequel wouldn't be a A Man Called Horse sequel without Richard Harris getting his nipples pulled again.  This sequel though tries to outdo the first movie by having lots of Indians get their nipples pulled together in a manly-man nipple pull ceremony.

I remember seeing this movie at the old Rebel Drive-in with my brother Brook and friend Jamey Moore.  I recently saw both of these movies again and actually appreciated them a little more than I did back when they were first released.  I still can't get past the weird nipple hanging ritual thing.  Why make movies featuring Richard Harris' naked bee-hind?  The movies have merit, but it's still a little weird to watch.  They should have named it A Man Called Ass.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

friendly fire

When I think of Vietnam, I think of all the young men that America betrayed.  America will forever have to live with the shame of sending their sons into harms way without a commitment to do what it takes to win. The war was fought from Washington.  Politicians tied the hands of those soldiers, and limited their ability to fight to win. Their story continues to be miss-told. Those boys deserved the support of everyone back home. They did not deserve being misrepresented by the media. They didn't deserve the jeers mixed with spit when they returned from that living hell. They did not deserve what was handed to them.  They came back home without welcome and their sacrifices criticized and mostly forgotten.  We know them - these old Vets.  Many of them have still yet to be welcomed home and thanked.  Maybe doing so would help to heal old wounds.

My heart still breaks for these brave forgotten men.

Friday, June 3, 2011

we knew him as a cowboy

May 26, 1923 -  June 3, 2011
Some of our heroes on television were also heroes in real life.  This is James Arness, a guy we usually picture sporting a cowboy hat, badge and gun.  Gunsmoke was one of the longest running westerns on television, running from 1955 to 1975.  I loved all the regular characters on the show.  I liked what Marshal Matt Dillon stood for.  He was one of the good guys

I posted this picture because of the uniform he once sported during a world war many years ago.  James Arness fought at Anzio, where he was wounded.  He once wrote that his experience there made him realize how very precious life is.

"His military awards and decorations include: the Bronze Star Medal; the Purple Heart; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three bronze service stars; the World War II Victory Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge."

Today we didn't just lose and old actor - we lost a hero.

There was a role that Arness played where he wasn't a good guy.  Because of his tall stature, 6'7", Jim played the monster in the original The Thing From Another World (1951). He also starred in another science-fiction classic - THEM! (1954). Brother to actor Peter Graves, James Arness got the part of Marshal Dillion because John Wayne had turned down the role (for obvious reasons).  Wayne and Arness were close friends and had worked to together in several of Wayne's movies.  It was John Wayne that recommended James Arness for the part of the Marshall of Dodge City.  He did a good job filling those cowboy boots intended for The Duke himself.