Well, it appears that I’ve ruffled some feathers over at that other minor silent comedy newsgroup regarding my refuting of the mistaken idea that John Wayne appears as an extra in Lloyd Hamilton’s CAREFUL PLEASE. Ms. Elly Reid (the person who makes the claim to have spotted Wayne in the film and is making the posts on the other group) first complains that she is not allowed to rebut me on the silent comedy mafia newsgroup to begin with. Oh well, I am not allowed to rebut her on that other minor silent comedy newsgroup either, we all have our crosses to bear….
Now, her main argument against my comments appears to be that it is just MY OPINION that John Wayne is not in the film, as opposed to what, her being told by God as Gospel Truth and the Ghost of John Wayne who visited her in the wee hours of the night and told her that he definitely appeared in CAREFUL PLEASE? Sorry Elly, you’re ideas are just YOUR OPINION as well, but there is indeed a difference between your opinion and mine. Mine is actually an informed opinion based on close visual inspection of the only surviving original print material (CAREFUL PLEASE was not known to exist until I turned up the 16mm Show-at-Home original in which all lesser-quality dupes that are in circulation were made from, including the one of which the even muddier Looser Than Loose video transfer was made (without my permission to do so, I may also add)). Coupled that with the fact that, as a film historian and collector of some repute, I have been helping, along with many others out there, my buddy Scott Eyman in supplying him research material for his new book, which will most likely be THE definitive book ever written on John Wayne, and indeed have been going through quite a lot of early Wayne material over the last two years, and my well-documented talents as an identifier of extras, bit players, etc. is a matter of record. Ms. Reid is a member of the John Wayne Fan Club.
Yet, while even comparing credentials, Ms Reid might want to consult her own paper on John Wayne’s early film work, which can be read here:http://dukefanclub.weebly.com/uploads/1 ... ecoach.pdf
in which the concept of Wayne appearing in CAREFUL PLEASE even does not jibe. In the two interviews in which John Wayne ever mentioned Lloyd Hamilton, he mentioned that he had bit roles in Hamilton’s comedies AFTER he began working at Fox as a propman. In the interview she quotes Wayne as saying “I finally got bit parts in a few other films. Ham Hamilton was the director of those films. He was a friend of Ford’s and the latter asked Hamilton to give me a chance at acting if he had any bit parts to cast me in”.
Wayne did not meet Ford until after he began working at Fox which is indeed after he began working with Tom Mix as a propman, which easily puts the timeline into the last half of 1926, putting CAREFUL PLEASE way chronologically out of reach with its late 1925 production and it’s early February 1926 release date (Interestingly, she does not list CAREFUL PLEASE or any of Hamilton's 1926 releases in her list of potential candidates for a Wayne appearance in a Hamilton comedy). John Wayne’s memory regarding chronology and his career in interviews was usually pretty on target, so there is no reason to doubt his memory in the order of events, and even referring to Hamilton as Director rather than Producer doesn’t mean much as Hamilton was the star comedian with his own unit at Educational, with certainly a large degree of control over his films no matter who was listed as the Director.
I may also add that Ms Reid may want to correct her timeline coloring that indicates that the Lloyd Hamilton comedies were produced on the Fox Lot. Hamilton was indeed the head of his own unit at Educational Pictures, which shot all of their comedies from the mid-20’s onward on their own lot at 7250 Santa Monica Blvd. Though Fox later distributed the Educational Comedies from 1933-38, in the 1920’s they had nothing whatsoever to do with Educational’s production or distribution.
Ms Reid also tries to muddy the waters about John Wayne’s height, again, making her credentials as an authority on John Wayne a bit suspect. One of the main reasons John Wayne is easy to spot in crowd or extra scenes is because HE WAS A REALLY BIG GUY! Take a look at any stills of him in a group from any period in his life, at 6’4” (indeed, his documented height) and a lanky, but broad-shouldered build, he towers over even his fellow football players in BROWN OF HARVARD, which is why he is easy to spot there. The only guy in Wayne’s pictures who ever looked taller then Wayne was Jim Arness, who, at 6’7” is only slightly taller then Wayne when they worked together in BIG JIM MCCLAIN (1952). And as final proof as to Wayne’s actual height, I can add my own testimony as I met and spoke with Mr. Wayne several times in my life. I’m 6’8” tall, and when standing he came up reasonably close to eye-contact level. He was definitely around 6’ 4” tall.
So, even if Wayne spends all of his hypothetical scenes in CAREFUL PLEASE with knees bent, as Ms Reid is now trying to claim (he doesn’t), he would still be towering over the averaged height (which was less than it is considered now and then was somewhere around 5’ 10” for men if not a bit shorter)stuntmen and bit players in the scene. The Duke would stick out like a sore thumb. He doesn’t, he isn’t there.
She even tries to muddy the waters about Lloyd Hamilton’s height. Sorry Ms. Reid, as the person who wrote the first comprehensive article about Hamilton in GRIFFITHIANA in the early 1990’s, one of the people who compiled the first comprehensive Lloyd Hamilton filmography, and the person who has the largest private collection of his films in existence, I have to disagree with you about Hamilton’s height. Though his early school records list his height as 6’1” tall, all indications of his height as an adult and an actor (especially after he seriously broke his leg in several places, an injury which plagued him throughout the rest of his life and probably made him stand a bit shorter) were listed as just 6'. And, as I also said, Dick Sutherland, the other large actor playing the Heavy in CAREFUL PLEASE with Hamilton was also documented at 6', and they appear to be almost exactly the same height in that film.
Hey, I’d love to have John Wayne be an extra in CAREFUL PLEASE, I have the only pristine original print currently known to exist on the film, I’d be happy to sell the stock footage, and I’m sorry if Ms. Reid feels my tone is disrespectful. Let me see if I can get the message out in a more diplomatic form:
“ She’s Dreamin’, the Duke Ain’t There! “
RICHARD M ROBERTS