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Hollywood & The American West – Behind the Scenes

Starting February 3rd visitors of all ages will have the chance to view a photography collection that captures the essence of old Hollywood Westerns. “Hollywood and the American West” at Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum showcases the work of John R. Hamilton, magazine photojournalist and legendary film photographer.

In 2014 John Wayne Enterprises had the unique opportunity to acquire a portion of the John R. Hamilton Collection that features John Wayne. When the John Hamilton Estate offered the opportunity to acquire the entire collection around a year later John Wayne Enterprises jumped at the chance to curate an exhibition that captures never-before-seen images of icons of Hollywood’s golden age.

Taking the collection from raw negatives to exhibition quality fine art prints however was nothing short of a labor of love.

Viewing original slides with a lightbox.

After reviewing thousands of original images Executive Director of the John R. Hamilton Archive, Amy Shepherd, and Laurie Kratochvil, Curator of the Hollywood and the American West, worked with The Icon LA to clean, digitize, and correct for color balance, saturation, tone. The images included in the exhibit leveraged current technologies in fine art development to bring Hamilton’s photographs from over 60 years to their full potential.

Images shown at varying sizes to allow for review of any imperfections at the Icon LA.

After reviewing hundreds of images, 68 images were finally selected for inclusion in the exhibit. These final photographs capture Hamilton’s unique ability to showcase the energy and history of exceptional moments in film. Important to the exhibit is also the ability of the images to tell a story. Shepherd and Kratochvil developed a layout and order to the photographs that leads viewers through a history of Westerns on film.

With the final photographs enlarged, cleaned and framed the collection was ready to begin its journey from Newport Beach, California to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Working closely with a fine art shipping company each image was carefully wrapped and framed for its journey east.

Custom boxes were built to ensure images made the trip unharmed.

Upon arrival in Oklahoma each image was carefully measured and assigned its precise location on the wall. Taking the layout from a small mock-up to a full-scale exhibition requires precise measuring and a keen eye for visual perspective.

The beginning stages of the museum installation process.

Finally, the finishing touches were added including labeling each image with its title and short description.

The process of taking the images from a general collection to full exhibition development and installation was lengthy and collaborative. The final product however is one that is truly a testament to Hamilton’s love affair with the Western.

To learn more about the curating process for Hollywood and the American West, return here to on Feb 13, 2017 for an interview with Laurie Kratochvil, Curator.

#JohnWayneValues – Fans Weigh In

John Wayne Enterprises dedicates every Thursday to sharing stories of grit, Americana roots, courage, selfless acts, perseverance, strength or right vs. wrong otherwise known as John Wayne Values on our social media channels. The pieces we share each week represent the attributes John Wayne held dear and the values he would have instilled on himself…and those he expected of others.

In keeping with our John Wayne Values theme, we recently posted a question on social media to ask his fans, “What values have you learned from John Wayne?” The result was a tremendous outpouring of respect for the beliefs on which John Wayne stood that his fans had adopted through his example. The feedback was both inspiring and on target.

After receiving over 750 comments on Facebook, we noticed similarities in the values expressed among all John Wayne fans. The lessons learned were predominantly referred to under these three categories:

  1. Patriotism/Country
  2. Family
  3. Role Model

We enjoyed hearing what principals you (the fans!) have learned from John Wayne and would like to share a handful of our favorites:



“Patriotism! His love of country was evidenced in his daily life.”

“Honor America, our country, our flag and those who serve.”

“To be proud of our country and always show respect for America.”

“Most of the values I have today are due to watching John Wayne westerns…there was right and wrong, no in-between! Truth, honesty, integrity, justice, respect and love of this great land and its laws!”



“He taught me right from wrong and respect for others, to be considerate of my elders and treat women with respect.”

“The values I learned from Duke are the love and respect for my family and country.”

“Family comes first.”

“To be self-reliant, but above all, to love my family and to enjoy them as much as I can.”


Role Model

“A man is only as good as his word, and the values he lives by.”

“He set an example. He was a role model. When I have encountered difficult situations in life, I have asked myself, what would John Wayne do in this situation! “

“What I learned from John Wayne was to always stand up for what you believe is right, no matter who is watching or what the consequences may be. I taught these same values to my girls and have watched them put them into practice.”

“Be honest. Be responsible and be a good person and a champion to those that need help.”


John Wayne was many things to many people. He was a courageous force for America, a loving father and an unwavering hero on the big screen. In short, he was a man who did what he thought was best.

Duke: Family Man, First and Foremost

By Michael Goldman

Thanksgiving is family time, of course. Such occasions were particularly important to John Wayne. The annual Thanksgiving cattle sale and turkey dinner he presided over at his beloved 26 Bar Ranch in Arizona for many years remain etched in the minds of surviving family and friends to this day. But, in fact, few topics were closer to his heart than his own family, and the importance family plays in keeping one’s personal compass heading true north. This is not just a general observation. I learned this first hand in 2012 while digging through boxes of Duke’s personal papers doing research for the book, John Wayne: The Genuine Article, and came across a pad of notes written by the late journalist Wayne Warga—notes from an interview with John Wayne on the set of The Cowboys in 1971. I was struck by one observation, in particular, and showed it to Ethan Wayne, Duke’s youngest child. Ethan, then a youngster, had been present on the set of The Cowboys at the time.

Warga wrote that he asked John Wayne why he was letting his son miss an extra week of school following Easter vacation to hang out on set with his dad. Duke replied, “Ethan’s nine and I want to be with him. He’ll be fourteen before I know it and something happens. They start to drift away and they don’t come back until they’re thirty. At thirty, they realize what fatherhood is. My oldest boys are in their thirties now, and they’ve come back. But with Ethan, I won’t be there when he’s thirty, so I’ve got to love him now.”

His prediction was correct—John Wayne died when Ethan was just 17. Ethan had never seen the note, was deeply moved, and wrote about it in the preface to my book. It precipitated a section of memories from Ethan and three of his surviving siblings about family moments, values, and life lessons imparted from their dad. For Duke’s kids or grandkids, John Wayne, family man, is the one who dominates their memories. For them, Duke wasn’t much different than any other dad, just more famous. He never stopped teaching, setting expectations, showing appreciation, having fun, and providing for his clan. That is the John Wayne they all will be remembering this Thanksgiving.

Marisa Wayne, for instance, might be thinking of the dad who could, occasionally and with some justification, get ticked off over one offense or another, and feel the need to initiate a consequence or two for her actions. But typically, Duke would be exceptionally quick to forgive, telling her to “get over here and give me a hug. He wasn’t one to let things stew for hours,” she recalls.

Ethan remembers countless lessons in responsibility. “If you were on the boat, there were chores. If you were on location, there were chores,” he says. “If you wanted to ride a horse, you had to take care of it.”

Melinda Wayne Munoz insists this was all just par for the course. What dad wouldn’t be, as she says “very interested in our behavior,” as John Wayne was? “And he always expected us to get good grades,” she emphasizes proudly.

Still, John Wayne was a fun dad. Marisa fondly remembers the many times when “he and I would get in the station wagon and stop at Orange Julius on the way to play Skee ball at the Bay Arcade” [in Newport Beach].” And, of course, Duke routinely took his family on vacations on the Wild Goose, leading to unforgettable adventures.

Aissa recalled fondly a fishing trip in Alaska, and getting into “a helicopter that could land in water. Dad and I would suit up in long fishing pants and fishing wardrobe and take the heli up, and land on untouched lakes filled with salmon. We would walk out knee deep in the water and throw out our lines, and fish would bite, one after another.”

On extended trips to shoot movies, Duke sometimes took all or part of the family with him, and moved them into temporary homes on location to keep them close. Once, while filming Brannigan in England, he rented a big house for the family in London, and Marisa remembers a practical joke he played on her sister while living there.

“He put [Aissa] and her friends on the top level, saying [the house] was haunted,” she recalls. “In the middle of the night, he would go up there and move stuff around and tilt paintings on the wall, to make it look like there was a ghost doing all this. She would come tearing down the stairs, telling us all of this, and he’d just roll his eyes, saying she was imagining things. Then, he’d give me a quick wink.”

Such memories exist because John Wayne saw to it. But they didn’t just revolve around vacations. Simple family dinners were particularly important to John Wayne because, according to Ethan Wayne, “meals are what brought us all together.”

And so did holidays. Ethan remembers Duke’s passion for home decorations every Yuletide season, for instance. “He really got into it,” Ethan recalls. “A tree decoration was something fun that we all did together. He would buy the old-fashioned foam you would spray on windows, and go through many cans, getting it to look like it snowed outside our house.”

The point to these tales is to contextualize the fact that John Wayne really was a family man first—a married father working to support four kids as he entered his 40’s by the time he hit stardom. His priorities were set long before he ever became an international star, and never wavered. His wife, Pilar, has said “he always wanted his family around him.” His daughter, Melinda, insists “he taught us to love our family and keep them close.” And his oldest surviving son, Patrick, points out that, to John Wayne, “values were a pretty basic thing. Loyalty, trustworthiness, true friendship—those are key elements in any successful relationship. He always believed that.”

As you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner this year, these are values that might be worth contemplating. And so might the advice John Wayne said he learned from his father, Clyde Morrison, over the years. “He told me to always keep my word and never insult anybody. And he told me not to go around looking for trouble.”

Boat Hat x Wild Goose

As part of John Wayne Enterprises growing initiative for Made in America products from local craftsmen, we have partnered with Boat Hat for Wild Goose inspired hand-painted patches and hats.

Founded by Dougie Mann in Newport Beach, CA, this is the 3rd collection of Boat Hat’s painted patches.  Working closely with Ethan Wayne and the John Wayne Enterprises team, Mann dug through the archives (and Ethan’s brain) to tell a little known visual story that would explain the feelings and lifestyle aboard John Wayne’s converted mine sweeper, the Wild Goose.  This boat is the place where John Wayne could truly be himself and partake on the adventures he loved so much.

As we launch the Boat Hat x John Wayne collection, we sat down with artist and founder Dougie Mann to learn more about his inspiration.


How were you first introduced to John Wayne?

My dad is a big John Wayne fan, as a result I grew up watching his movies. He was a regional manager for the Chart House restaurants, his regions were Colorado and Hawaii – as a result, we used to drive a lot together – across country to and from Colorado and to New Mexico a lot – In his Ford Van were 2 VHS’s that were always there – El Dorado and Nevada Smith (starring Steve McQueen) – I watched those on repeat on a mini TV VCR combo that plugged into the cigarette lighter.

Can you tell us a bit about the Boat Hat project?

Boat Hat is an ocean hat company.  What distinguished Boat Hat is the back of the hat design – an overhand knot with 2 grommets. It is the same knot and sliding idea as those old friendship bracelets. Also, the primed canvas patch with embroidered frame. Both of these elements were designed on Balboa Island.

We team up with artist friends to curate meaningful, high level, patch artwork collections. The first collection of patches was done by myself, and the second by Kelsey Brookes. This, our 3rd installment in our curation is the second collection by myself and has been carefully collaborated on with Ethan Wayne to try and give a glimpse of life aboard the Wild Goose with his father, John Wayne.

Boat Hat comes from the same tireless, simplistic, clean, and practical core as John Wayne’s Wild Goose came from.

What inspired you to create a collection around John Wayne and the Wild Goose?

John Wayne is why I like boats.  Without seeing the book ‘On Board with The Duke’ – I would have never been as big of boat fan as I am now.

My love for boats did not come completely naturally – I grew up primarily surfing – also, I am a minimalist kind of surfer – always subconsciously looking to to use the least amount of gear possible – no leash, no massive quiver, no wetsuit, no towel – a big accomplishment was riding my beach cruiser to the beach in trunks with my board under my arm – putting my bike on the beach – and jumping and surfing – then coming out, hopping back on the bike wet and riding home – no towel, no shirt, no bike lock – it’s a weird obsessive thing about me.

As a result, boats were always something that seemed too cumbersome, and definitely not minimal – it took taking trips to Catalina on my step-father’s Pacifica – it was one of the first cool fishing boats I had ever been on – to start to look at boats in a different light. ‘On Board with the Duke’ was in my state room – I was transfixed.

He sold that boat a few years into our relationship, and the next time I saw the book was on board the boat of my future in-laws boat, DIXIE – I could not believe it – not only was I in love with this smokin’ hot chick, but her dad was a John Wayne fan! If I played my cards right, my fate was sealed!

Slowly, I began to evolve my thinking – maybe boats were worth the effort after all…

Then my pal Charlie bought a Grand Banks and anchored it in Coronado at stingray point, he was NAVY SEAL and all his pals were doing the same thing – there was a floating community of elite fighters drinking Bud heavies into the wee hours of the night on their awesome boats. When I saw that, I finally understood that boats were one of the coolest things on earth.

Now – my father-in-law has a different boat – a 31’ Rybovich called Cracker.

Being fortunate enough to be around these boats has shown me just how cool boats are, the responsibility and ownership it takes to properly maintain and operate one, as well as the incredible lifestyle it provides if you take the time to understand it.

Thank you John Wayne.

We enjoy partnering with you because of your made in America commitment.  Can you describe your creative and production process?

Each hat is canvas made in the US by a Martexin Waxed canvas.

Manufacturers of the hats come from a few different sources – here in California by Seasoned USA and Knickerbocker MFG in New York.

All grommets are made by Challenge Sailcloth – they are all brass spurred grommets that will last forever. All holes are punched, all grommets set, and all knots are tied originally on Balboa Island, now on the Newport Peninsula by myself, or someone I can buy with a beer (or two).

What do you think John Wayne represents today?

For me the Duke represents everything that makes America great – every plain, mountain, ocean, desert, and river – he sought, with every character and pastime in his life that he committed himself to, the most pure definition what that character or pastime was supposed to be.

The Wild Goose is how he defined the ocean and I think this is the most authentic role of his career.

The Boat Hat x John Wayne Collection is available now at and


How Artists Pay Homage to ‘Cowboy’ John Wayne: Lady Gaga, Billy Idol and More

Originally posted by Leslie Richin on

If you’ve listened to Lady Gaga’s Joanne over the past few days, you might have found yourself moving to an upbeat track called “John Wayne.” The song begins with Gaga stating, “I just love a cowboy” and then shouting, “Can you go a little faster!” The “real wild man” she craves, of course, is legendary actor and international icon John Wayne.

In 1996, Paula Cole asked, “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?” — specifically, “Where is my John Wayne?” But the song was called anti-feminist by those who didn’t grasp the song’s message. She told The Baltimore Sun, “There is a melancholy woven in there, and the story of a woman who was disappointed in her marriage. It’s been widely interpreted, and I kind of like that. It’s anthropologically interesting for me.” The song peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was nominated for three Grammy Awards; Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Even Billy Idol called on Wayne to save him, singing “I am not afraid, tonight I’m gonna be John Wayne.” The song “John Wayne” appears on The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself (2008). He told the New York Post, I enjoy singing “John Wayne,” because I always think about some of the characters he played that had to rise above their own limitations, so it’s fun to take a little bit of that magic for yourself.”

But who was this “cowboy figure” that artists continue to reference in their music? Well, over his six-decade career, John Wayne (1907–1979) became America’s hero. A larger than life force to be reckoned with, Wayne once said, “When you stop fighting, that’s death.”

Wayne (aka “The Duke”) left behind a legacy filled with accolades. Not only did he win an Academy Award for Best Actor for True Grit (1969), he’s been referenced in films and TV shows from The Birdcage to Family Guy. He has a home in The Hall of Great Western Performers, is part of an upcoming exhibit at The National Cowboy Western & Heritage Museum called “Hollywood and the American West,” and has been awarded both The Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. There’s even a nine-foot bronze statue of the icon at the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.

Then there’s his less-renowned music career.

Wayne’s album America: Why I Love Her peaked at No. 66 on the Billboard 200 chart and No. 13 on the Top Country Albums chart in 1973. On the album, Wayne is reading patriotic speeches over accompanying music. Post 9/11, the album charted again on the Internet Albums chart (which ranks the top selling albums of the week through Internet sellers like, peaking at No. 18 in 2002.

Though music is healing in itself, artists have always turned to seemingly immortal icons to raise them up in troubled times. Wayne’s light in particular, has never dimmed. It’s safe to say we will continue to hold out for a hero.

John Wayne’s Plea for Civil Political Discourse

by Michael Goldman

In early 2012, when John Wayne Enterprises asked me to begin researching John Wayne: The Genuine Article, a New York Times Bestselling book published in 2013, I had the privilege of going into John Wayne’s personal Archive and examining his private papers first-hand. The book was conceptualized to be a “personal” look at Duke in his own words and point of view on various topics of deep importance to him. And few subjects were more important to John Wayne than the welfare of the country that gave him the opportunity to become a movie star and one of the most famous people who ever lived. He was, in other words, a deeply political creature.

More specifically, Duke was, as most people know, a rock-ribbed Conservative who, from the time he first campaigned for Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950’s, routinely befriended, supported, raised money for, campaigned for, and voted for Republican candidates and causes. This was not news when I found his letters concerning the political causes he was passionate about. What was enlightening, however, was the fact that his Archive contained irrefutable proof that John Wayne considered himself an American first, Republican second, and was committed to the principles of civility and respect even when standing up for his ideals.

Indeed, I learned that a huge number of his closest friends were Hollywood Liberals: Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, Paul Newman, just to name a few. Duke would debate them in his letters, as he did Newman on December 13, 1961, when they exchanged views as to whether the Kennedy Administration was “Socialistic” or doing enough to defend the Middle Class. The debates were never personal—they were always respectful, intimate and caring even. When I thought about it, Duke’s mentor and lifelong best friend was famed director John Ford, known to sometimes have very liberal leanings, and yet, two men in Hollywood could not have been closer.

I was blown away to find in Duke’s datebook that in the 1970’s, John Wayne regularly had lunches with famed cinematographer Haskell Wexler, who wrote Duke a thank-you note in December of 1977 for “the horse poetry gift” John Wayne had given him, promising that “you have love from all of us who worked with you.” I knew Wexler was a legendary Hollywood Liberal in that era, and until he died last year, and that they ferociously disagreed about the Vietnam War. So in 2012, as I documented, I called Wexler and demanded an explanation for his friendship with John Wayne. Why were they wining, dining, and exchanging poetry?

Wexler explained that he was the director of the series of Great Western Bank commercials that Duke starred in in the 1970’s, and the two realized they had far more in common than not during that association—the Old West, horses, poetry, filmmaking, and much more. He insisted John Wayne was consumed with the notion of “fairness and humaneness” in all things, political and otherwise, and that the notion of Duke refusing to consider “the other side” of issues or to have respect for those who disagreed with his strongly held views was merely “a caricature.”

I also learned how John Wayne sent President Nixon many letters of support as Watergate broke. Then, as letters and speeches suggest, he appeared to become disappointed in Nixon when he realized not only were the charges against Nixon true, but that perhaps even worse, he had taken Nixon’s word for it when he said they were not true. To John Wayne, a man’s word was his bond. And so, some later letters and speeches, including a notable speech in 1974 that we quote in the book, indicate an increasing plea for civility, truthfulness, and mutual understanding that, he argued, was more important than mere politics.

Thus, if you haven’t already read John Wayne: The Genuine Article, don’t be surprised to learn that President Jimmy Carter penned the foreword—a politician who, as Carter articulates, John Wayne never voted for, and whom he largely disagreed with on a whole host of issues. We detail how and why Duke broke with his Republican brethren to lobby Senators of both parties to ratify Carter’s drive to approve the Panama Canal Treaties, solely because he felt they were good for the country. As he supported Carter on that issue, his close friend, Ronald Reagan, who was preparing to run against Carter, was angered, and a back/forth letter exchange broke out between them, as we document. What is instructive is, what ended their disagreement had nothing to do with one man giving in or changing his position. It had to do with two friends eventually comprehending that their dispute might be harmful to their relationship. And so, they simply knocked it off.

As John Wayne eventually became sick, the Archives indicate that Carter visited him and called to check up on him when he was hospitalized, and of course, he signed the bill granting Duke posthumously a Congressional Gold Medal and eulogized him to the country as “the genuine article,” which is where the book’s sub-title comes from. And it was Carter who stated in in his foreword that what we need today is “more John Waynes.”

Being just a couple weeks from a hugely divisive, bitter national election, Duke’s example of courtesy and country first is not a bad one to emulate. After all, his relationship with Carter began exactly the same way that he welcomed the other Democratic presidents who were elected during his years in the national spotlight into office—Kennedy and LBJ. All three of them received a telegram from him upon winning. That telegram was identical in all three cases, and read simply, “Congratulations sir, from one of the loyal opposition.”

Michael Goldman wrote the 2013 award-winning book that examined letters and documents from John Wayne’s personal archive—John Wayne: The Genuine Article. Goldman has authored six books about major media-related topics, legends, and institutions, including co-authoring a textbook on filmmaking, an acclaimed coffee-table book on director Clint Eastwood’s filmmaking techniques called Clint Eastwood: Master Filmmaker at Work, an authoritative history of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and more. He has also written for acclaimed film journals like American Cinematographer, CineMontage, Millimeter, Post magazine, Variety, and consumer publications like the LA Times, Orange County Register, Philadelphia Inquirer and others. Goldman podcasts interviews with filmmakers monthly at the Studio Daily site in a series called Podcasts from the Front Lines. You can learn more about his work at his Website—

A Look Inside Volume 13

On newsstands now, the latest issue of John Wayne: the Official Collector’s Edition is all about John Wayne’s words of wisdom, tough talk and life lessons. We’ve asked Senior Editor, James Ellis to give our fans insight on how this issue was put together.

When it comes to John Wayne, there’s a whole lot of the legend for his fans to love. The classic movies he starred in. His unabashed patriotism. His common sense, tell-it-like-it-is attitude. These aspects of Duke’s greatness live on today, mainly in the plainspoken words uttered by the man himself and recorded in history. And while nobody would argue John Wayne’s all-American drawl wasn’t part of his timeless appeal, it’s the content of what he said that make his words so legendary. Never a man to beat around the bush, John Wayne always cut straight to the heart of the matter, whether he was jawing with friends about the state of the country he loved, dispensing some heartfelt advice to his children, or nailing a poignant scene in one of his beloved films. At a time where we as a country seem to agree on less and less, it was an easy choice to dedicate the next issue of the Official John Wayne Collector’s Edition to the words of a man who brought so many of us together as Americans.

What wasn’t easy was winnowing down Duke’s countless pearls of wisdom into a selection that would fit in the magazine. Everyone in the office has their favorite John Wayne quote (well, quotes, if we’re being honest) and they all wanted to give them a place of prominence. In the end, we focused on the subjects most important to the man himself—family and friends, America, and his work in Hollywood. Researching the John Wayne archives and rewatching many of his classic films, we were able to put together a collection Duke’s wisdom and wit that stands the test of time. We hope when you read through the pages, the love and care we took with his legacy shines through. But most of all, we hope you take with you a little bit of what made John Wayne so special into your everyday life. Because we could all stand to be a little more like Duke.

John Wayne: His Words of Wisdom is available wherever magazines are purchased and on


James Ellis, Senior Editor at the Official John Wayne Collector’s Edition

John Wayne: Most Patriotic Person in America

Originally posted on, this article is a study on consumer values in America.  John Wayne’s character and unwavering patriotism still stands the test of time, as consumers answered, unaided, that John Wayne is the most patriotic person in 21st century America. See the full article reposted in its entirety below.


Name anyone – alive or dead – you feel best personifies the value of “patriotism” in the United States.

For the first time since this survey was conducted 10 years ago – in addition to asking consumers to evaluate the 248 brands included this year – we asked that question. We asked respondents to name “anyone – alive or dead – who they felt best personified the value of ‘patriotism’ in the United States,” because – particularly in light of some of the political rhetoric this year – we thought it would be provocative to see how people put a human face on such an extraordinary value. So a national sample of 4,750 consumers, 16-65, stood up to be counted, with the research conducted May 16th – June 15th 2016.

The question was asked on an unaided basis, that is, we didn’t give anyone a list to choose from. We did, however, edit out historical, likely suspect mentions, like Washington, Lincoln, Betsy Ross, Nathan Hale, Abigail Adams, Thomas Paine, and Alexander Hamilton. They’ve already earned their place in history, and besides, we were looking for a more contemporary list.

And, for all the obvious reason you can think of, we ducked the current crop of presidential hopefuls and candidates running for office, although in fairness, none of the major candidates were mentioned enough times to vote them into the top 20 list. That, in and of itself, should say something about our political process and Americans’ views of patriotism!

When we did all that, we ended up with a list of people Americans felt best personified and humanized the value of patriotism. It’s an interesting mix of entertainers, soldiers, athletes, explorers, and cultural influencers and commentators. We think it says a lot about how people view patriotism.

  1. John Waynepatriotism-2
  2. Tom Hanks
  3. John Stewart
  4. Taylor Swift
  5. Stephen Spielberg
  6. Oprah Winfrey
  7. Neil Armstrong
  8. Eleanor Roosevelt
  9. Stephen Colbert
  10. Ruth Bader Ginsberg
  11. Martin Luther King
  12. Dwight D. Eisenhower
  13. Antonin Scalia
  14. Angelina Jolie
  15. Lin-Manuel Miranda
  16. Jackie Robinson
  17. Bill O’Reilly
  18. Tim Cook
  19. Gloria Steinem
  20. John Oliver

And sure, with the exception of someone in the military, patriotism may not a top-of-mind value when it comes to personifying anyone, but if you move beyond the immediate, emotional connections that exist, it’s highly likely you can find all the rational reasons citizens thought of these people first. Or at all.

John Wayne was never shy about his love for America – on or off the screen. Bill O’Reilly has written four books dealing with American history. Tom Hanks standardly plays unlikely American heroes and has worked tirelessly to strengthen the legacy of the Greatest Generation. Won an American Spirit Award, too. John Stewart has railed against false patriotism, and Lin-Manuel Miranda has reframed American history and created a new paradigm for patriotism. And the first man to walk on the moon? Com on, this is the moon we’re talking about! If you take a moment to think about it, everyone on the list ultimately has a valid and significant stake when it comes to how americans see patriotism.

Remember these were people and not brands we were asking about. The term “brand” is one that has become grossly overused. It seems today anything that has a degree of awareness or celebrity calls itself a “brand.” But the reality is a real “brand” must be imbued with something more than talent or celebrity, and certainly more than awareness or notoriety. It needs to be a value people recognize and desire.

As to the actual brand part of the study, consumers identified the following real brands as leading 2016’s patriotism parade. Percentages indicate brands’ emotional engagement strength for the individual value of patriotism.

  1. Jeep/Disney (98%)
  2. Levi Strauss (96%)
  3. Ralph Lauren (95%)
  4. Ford (94%)
  5. Coca-Cola/Jack Daniels (93%)

For a complete list of 2016’s top 50 Most Patriotic Brands, click here.

Look, patriotism isn’t a campaign. It isn’t changing the name of your brand to “America.” It’s not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion. That’s more promotional than patriotic. Based on this year’s list, one could reasonably agree with the position that real patriotism is the quiet and steady dedication of a lifetime’s work – whether you’re speaking of a brand or about a person. Some approaches can be categorized as “liberal,” and others “conservative.” But looking at the list respondents generated, we think that statement is true about every one of the names, no matter where you personally stand on the political spectrum.

Although, perhaps, Mark Twain’s definition works best for everyone; “Patriotism is the support of your country all the time – and the government when it deserves it!”


Originally posted by Robert Passikoff on

Duke’s Last Film Turns 40

“The Shootist” was released to movie theaters 40 years ago on July 19, 1976. He played the role of a gunfighter dying of cancer who spends his last days looking for a way to die with a minimum of pain and a maximum of dignity. Duke did lose one lung and a few ribs after having a bout with cancer back in 1964. Although he didn’t have any life threatening health problems at the time of this filming he seemed to be feeling his age. As did Jimmy Stewart who was only a year younger than Wayne at the time.

ShootistBlogSince this was to be Duke’s last motion picture you may have seen a few special references during the film. First Stewart only did this film because Wayne personally asked him. Jimmy’s career had actually stopped several years before this film. Jimmy was having some hearing problems. At the beginning of the film when Ron Howard is describing J. B. Books legacy we see scenes from 4 of Duke’s previous films: Red River, Hondo, Rio Bravo, and El Dorado. A couple other items you may or may not have caught, when he sees Doc Hostetler/Jimmy Stewart in his office the first time Duke mentions that they hadn’t seen each other for 15 years, now that number is no coincidence. The inside joke is that Wayne and Stewart last worked together on The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), nearly 15 years before. Another item is the part of Mrs. Rogers, played by Lauren Bacall. During the film she tells us her first name is “Bond”. This is also no coincidence as it was done as a tribute to Ward Bond who passed away in 1960 and was one of Wayne’s closest friends.

For many people this film is still very hard to watch these days. Those that were close to Duke back then knew his health was failing so it was a tough film to do. Last year we did a LIVE Q&A with Duke’s son Patrick Wayne on Facebook for Patrick’s birthday. One of the fans mentioned that he still missed Duke and that he felt that The Shootist was one of his best. Patrick responded: “I agree with you about The Shootist, for this reason, I couldn’t look at the film for ten years until after my father died. It was just too close to reality. But when I finally watched the film, I would have to say it was my father’s finest performance, purely as an actor. He was more vulnerable in this film than any prior film. And in my opinion, a better candidate for an Oscar than the Rooster Cogburn character in True Grit. Just my opinion.”

I’m sure many of us agree that Wayne should have received several Oscars, that True Grit was not his only award winning role. Personally I feel his roles in Sands of Iwo Jima, The Quiet Man, The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, True Grit and The Shootist are all award winning roles. I’m sure all of you also have your favorites.


This film was released by Warner Bros. to DVD on July 24, 2001.


Michael Waack

Daily Pilot – January 30, 2013

The Day John Wayne Called My Mother

John Garrity

In September of 1976 my mother was in the hospital for a mastectomy. Her long bout with cancer had methodically progressed so that surgery was the only answer. 

I cannot recall a time when I saw my mother so tired, afraid and depressed. It is at these times when you hope, but realize there is not enough candy or flowers in the world to take your mind off the fact that you are about to lose part of your body and maybe your life. If only there was something I could do for her.

My mom had always been a big movie fan and John Wayne was the one of her all-time favorites. I have been a peace officer in the Southern California area for many years and I just happened to know where Wayne lived. The thought of telling him about my mother’s plight seemed crazy and impossible. Who was I to burden one of the biggest movie stars ever with my personal problems? Nevertheless, thoughts of my mother’s condition compelled me to try; besides, what did I have to lose? All he could say was no.

The day before surgery, I found myself at Wayne’s door-step. As I knocked on the door, thoughts of running away entered my mind.

His secretary answered the door. I identified myself with my badge and asked if I could speak to Wayne about a personal matter. She quickly responded that Wayne was quite busy at the moment opening his mail. With a look of dejection on my face, I apologized for the inconvenience and started to leave.

About half way down the walk way I heard her say , ”Oh hell, he’s not that busy. Come on in.”

She showed me into a large room where Wayne was sitting. As he stood up and looked toward me, my heart seemed to stop as I stared directly into the face of my hero for the past 35 years. He was bigger than life.

Following a few moments of uncomfortable silence, I identified myself once again and briefly explained to Wayne the physical and emotional condition of my mother. It was only a few years before that Wayne apparently won his own personal battle with cancer. 

I asked if he could take the time to call before she went into surgery. His gracious response brought tears to my eyes as he assured me that he would call her and try to lift her spirits. He personally walked me out of the house and we said goodbye. As I drove away, I was trying to comprehend what had just taken place. Would John Wayne really call my mother?

I went straight to the hospital to visit my mother. I know I could not say one word about Wayne. As I walked down the hospital corridor, there seemed to be a great deal of commotion among the nurses and orderlies near the entrance to my mother’s room. Considering her medical status, I immediately sensed a serious problem. 

When I got to the door of her room, there was mom sitting up in her bed holding court for anyone who would listen, reciting every word Wayne had said on the phone. When she saw me, she wanted to know why I hadn’t told her that John Wayne was going to call. 

I have never seen my mom so excited, and for a few brief moments she forgot all about all of her fears and pain.

A few weeks later, I saw Wayne in the front of his house. I stopped by and thanked him for the kindness he showed to my mother. She died just three years later, but she never tired of telling her John Wayne story. Thanks again, John Wayne, wherever you are – you are still my hero.