DADS & GRADS? LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK!

Dads & grads have always had a special designation for Father’s Day. Why that is, I have no idea. Always reminds me of corny ads from my childhood to this day….

Not too imaginative, I grant you, but you get the point. At least such ads aren’t nearly as gaudy and off-putting as the ones for Memorial Day and President’s Day sales. What does any of this have to do with Lee Marvin? Well if it helps, Lee Marvin had a dad and also was a dad.

(L-R) Lee Marvin’s father, Monte, Lee, and Lee’s son, Christopher, holding the family dog, Liberty.

It may or may not be as well known but Lee was not a grad. He left school a year before graduation to join the USMC during the war and never did get his diploma. After the war he attended night school briefly to try to get his high school diploma but never finished any of the necessary classes.
However, in 1969, he did receive an honorary degree of fine arts from the school that would have been his alma mater, St. Leo in Florida. It had become an accredited university and as such, extended an invitation of an honorary degree to the Oscar-winning actor.

Lee Marvin, 2nd from right, receiving his Honorary Degree from St. Leo, along with then Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, 2nd from left.

So, when it comes to such things as dads & grads, Lee Marvin sort of qualifies. Now, the bigger question is what exactly is the point of this blog entry? Well, if you’re looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift or a nice little something for the graduate in life, look no further than Lee Marvin Point Blank. Most dads are familiar with Lee Marvin’s work and are fans while most graduates can become a fan by learning more about him. Makes sense now, doesn’t it? Available on Amazon at a half-priced soon to be extinct hardcover, reduced price Kindle and trade paperback with lots of extras. Feel free to check it out. You’ll be glad you did.
Oh, and happy Father’s Day!
– Dwayne Epstein

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AUTHOR ROBERT WARD, ROLLING STONE…AND ME

What do author Robert Ward, Rolling Stone Magazine and I have in common? Well, let’s go back a ways, before the internet, before smart phones, back to a time when the printed word was all hard copy and the so-called “New Journalism” still had an impact.
It’s 1981 and the week’s cover of Rolling Stone (Stevie Nicks in full ethereal thrall) gave no hint to the internal contents. I’m at a magazine rack (remember those?) perusing the issue and my eyes fall upon this image….

Inside image from Rolling Stone, 1981.

Rolling Stone’s inside image to its accompanying profile of Lee Marvin.

I immediately thought, “How Cool!” before realizing it’s actually a full article on Lee Marvin written by author Robert Ward. The article itself is terrific, one of the best interviews with the actor I’ve ever read..to this day!

Author Robert Ward's opening to his Lee Marvin article.

First page of Rolling Stone’s Lee Marvin profile by Robert Ward.

I actually buy the issue, drive over to my buddy Mike’s house and show it to him. Seeing as how he’s just as big a Lee Marvin fan as I am, I figured he’d enjoy the hell out of it, too. A few days later, when I ask him what he thought of it, the following dialog took place.
Mike: I didn’t know he lived in the Tucson desert. We could drive out there and knock on his door.
Me:  We step on his property and he’d probably punch us both in the mouth.
Mike: Yeah, but how cool would it be to honestly tell people Lee Marvin punched us in the mouth?

Okay, flash forward several decades and I’m working diligently on Lee Marvin Point Blank. Frustrated for an anecdote that would properly illustrated my book’s theme, I reread the Rolling Stone piece and it presents itself. By the way, such things are not the proverbial flashbulb over the head. More like a 2×4 to the back of the neck.
Well, I turn everything in and lo and behold, upon publication, even some folks who may not like the book comment on how much they enjoyed the opening anecdote. On a hunch I then do a Facebook search for Ward and not only find him, but he accepts my friend request. I was nervous at first since he remained good friends with Marvin after the article came out and shock of shocks, he had read my book and liked it! We exchange more pleasantries and he invited me to his home since I offer to sell him a favorite piece of Marvin memorabilia. We talk, he pulls out a copy of my book and then asks me to sign it to him.  He also offers me a copy of one of HIS books that he signs to ME. It’s a collection of his wonderful essays through the years and I could not be more honored….

Renegades

Cover of Robert Ward’s Renegades.

Robert Ward's inscription.

“For Dwayne
Fellow rider on the storm.”

The entire moment reminded me a little of a scene in Donnie Brasco. It’s the one where Johnny Depp and Al Pacino exchange Xmas gifts and it consists of each of them counting the wad of stolen money they give each other. No money of course, but Robert Ward and I signing each other’s books at the same time and then exchanging them was a similar image to me. Good guy, that Robert Ward.
Oh, and the opening anecdote used in my  book’s intro? One of my favorites. If you don’t know, then read, Lee Marvin Point Blank.
– Dwayne Epstein

P.S. Ward is also the author of the novel and screenplay of the criminally underrated Cattle Annie and Little Britches. Check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

Poster for Robert Ward’s CATTLE ANNIE & LITTLE BRITCHES.

 

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“SOPRANOS'” MOVIE FEATURES LEE MARVIN MARQUEE

The Sopranos’ movie, entitled The Many Saints of Newark, is currently shooting in Newark and in order to make it period correct for 1967, it features a well placed movie marquee. If you can’t see the images in the link in the next paragraph, this might help….

Movie marquee in The Sopranos movie that’s set in 1967.

Same marquee from a different angle.

 

According to the Central Jersey News website, the film concerns how young Tony Soprano came to be during the tumultuous Newark Riots. In order to make it period correct, film makers had the local theater display the most popular film of the summer of 1967, The Dirty Dozen. Matter of fact, it was the single most financially successful film in MGM history at the time, in no small part due its popularity in urban areas, such as Newark.
By the way, this upcoming film is not the first time a Lee Marvin movie has been featured in a film. Martin Scorsese, a certified Lee Marvin fan, used a well-known Marvin film in his 1973 classic, Mean Streets. Further proof of Lee Marvin’s popularity in urban environs. Check out the screen capture below of Harvey Keitel and Robert DeNiro in the lobby after viewing a screening of The Searchers….

Check out the poster for an upcoming film on the left as shown in Scorsese’s MEAN STREETS.

It’s not the first time Scorsese has referenced Lee Marvin in a film, either. His debut film, Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1967), has an even better reference in dialogue by again, Harvey Keitel. Pretty impressive dialogue, too. For the reason for the dialogue as well as its actual contents, look no further than Lee Marvin Point Blank, your one-stop Lee Marvin reference tool. Matter of fact, the last chapter is chock full of such pop culture Lee Marvin references. However, if after reading Lee Marvin Point Blank,  you know of any other such references I may have missed, feel free to comment here. Thanks!
-Dwayne Epstein

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