Chillin’ with Adam with Emma McIntosh and Special Guest: John Wayne
Soon after moving to Glendale, California, young Marion Mitchell Morrison learned the notorious lawman Wyatt Earp lived somewhere in the neighborhood. The curious ten-year-old, mesmerized by Earp’s notoriety and fascinated with cowboys in general, summoned the courage to knock on Earp’s door.
“What do you want, boy?” scowled the legendary gunslinger, glaring down at the pest on his stoop.
The boy who befriended Earp and coaxed out of him every last tale he was willing to tell, grew up to be John Wayne.
After an injury ended Wayne’s short-lived high school football career, he was hired as a gopher at a movie studio. The day Wyatt Earp walked onto the set, seventeen-year-old Morrison, asked Earp whether he remembered him from the old neighborhood. Earp admitted there was something familiar about the boy and according to John, they kind of just picked up from there. Earp seemed pleased to see the boy again after all those years.
Earp was a regular presence on the set, albeit in no official capacity. He simply hung out in the event someone might ask his advice. We learned from our visit with Earp that his greatest hope was to find someone willing to make a film about his life story. Sadly, that was not to be. Not in his lifetime and not based on fact. The movie, Tombstone (1993) starring Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp and Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday, focused on Earp’s years as a lawman in Tombstone, Arizona. The movie, based on legend rather than fact, glorified the violent behavior that came to be Earp’s greatest regret. Though Tombstone depicted Earp as a hero, he claimed to be anything but a hero. “I played God in other people’s lives.”
The gunfight at O.K. Corral ultimately resulted in an attempt against Earp’s older brother, Virgil’s life that left Virgil without the use of an arm; and three months later, in the murder of their younger brother Morgan. Earp’s life story has not been told to this day. “At least, not the way I wanted it to,” said Earp.
Once Wayne and Earp resumed their albeit, emotionally distant friendship, Wayne said he figured that if he stayed close to Earp since he was there every day, Earp would eventually loosen up. “I would get him coffee,” said Wayne and every now and then Earp would tell a story.
“I had a really clear insight of how he was and how things were in those days; and the flare that people had in those days. Eventually in my line of work I used that information he gave me and I kind of made it my own. It’s like I absorbed it and in my mind, when I acted, I was pretending to be Wyatt Earp. That was what I was doing. I was pretending to be this person. I was ‘acting’ like him. That’s how I created the “John Wayne” character.”
Wayne said he’s very grateful that he got to spend time getting to know Wyatt Earp. Without Earp, he wouldn’t have been the actor that he was. The entire time young Wayne worked at the movie studios as a gopher, he said to himself, “I’m going to be a star,” sending that thought out constantly, convinced he would slowly move up the ladder to stardom and that his having landed a job as a gopher on a movie set was no accident. Fetching coffee and moving props was a way to learn from other actors by observation.
Wayne said his whole life he wanted to prove to himself that he could be successful and could achieve financial stability. “I did that by manifesting. By keeping in mind that I’m already a celebrity; that I’m just growing into it still.”
The more he felt comfortable with the idea of stardom over time, the more he started feeling it. He said, “I spent every day surrounded by these incredible actors and I picked up on their energy.”
Another way to say the same thing is John Wayne picked up on the frequency of ‘Being a Star.’ According to Einstein, everything is frequency. Manifesting is simply a matter of dialing into the frequency of what you want.
“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.” – Albert Einstein
Eventually, Marion Mitchell Morrison made his way up the ladder from gopher to stunt man to extra to John Wayne. “If you go through life thinking, ‘I don’t know,’” he said, “life doesn’t know either. The Universe doesn’t know what you want. Having a goal, having a purpose, having an experience in your mind to grow toward, will always shape your future, your life, and your end result. I knew that, in some way. I knew I could achieve being recognized. I knew I could achieve feeling good about something I loved doing. I didn’t want to do just anything to survive. I wanted to do something that really spoke to me.
Trust me, being an actor was not my first choice. I wanted to become a lawyer. That was my first idea, but that didn’t work out financially. Being surrounded by those actors made me really understand why the footfall career didn’t work out. Why the lawyer thing didn’t work out. It made me understand that, ‘Oh, yeah, this is what I want to do.’ It made it very clear that I had been put down here for a reason. Once I got that in my heart, I understood that I wanted to reach the top. I wanted to be known for this (acting) and I wanted to be stable with it. I wanted to have a family and I wanted to be financially stable and be able to do what I love doing. It took me a very long time. I didn’t get the recognition (from the movie industry) that I wanted until right before my death.”
We are delighted to share this visit with John Wayne, American actor, filmmaker and hero:
Next up with Alison Ailfinn Allan: Florence Nightingale; and next up with Emma McIntosh: Marilyn Monroe.
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