Duke’s Hollywood EntryAnnouncement Date : Jan 1 , 1928
In the late 1920’s, while Duke was employed as a prop man and as an extra in pictures, he was first introduced to those individuals who would become his closest colleagues, including John Ford. Morrison’s first job for John Ford was on the set of “Mother Machree” (1928), herding geese. In later interviews, Duke would recall his first interaction with John Ford on the set of “Mother Machree.”
Ford knew Duke was a USC football player, and asked him to get into a football stance. Duke was braced on his forearms and feet when Ford proceeded to kick his arms out from under him, causing Duke to land in the mud.
At the time, Duke was not interested in a motion picture career, and therefore told Ford he’d like to try it again. Duke again got into a football position, at which point Duke proceeded to kick Ford in the chest. Duke remembered the deadly silence that followed. He recalled fondly the incident as one that could have been the deciding moment in his film career!
Mother Machree starred Victor McLaglen, with whom Duke would make several other films throughout his career, including, among others, “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” (1949) and “The Quiet Man” (1952).
Throughout 1928 and 1929, Duke would work as an extra on a number of Ford films, including “Four Sons,” “The Black Watch” and “Salute.”