THE SIMPSONS: “THANK GOD FOR LEE MARVIN!”

The Simpsons, Fox’s long-running prime time animated series, may not seem like a suitable blog post for all things Lee Marvin, but fans of the show may know different. Rolling Stone magazine posted a list of the shows best episodes and the musical clip episode from the show’s ninth season ranked among them. What does this have to do with Lee Marvin?

Lee Marvin & Clint Eastwood animated on The Simpsons.

As I said, long standing fans of the show probably know why and it’s good to know that Rolling Stone feels the same. 
 The clip below says it all and is a wonderful example of what the show did best when it was at its best. To set up the episode that consisted of musical clips from past shows, The Simpsons had gone out to rent a video but argue over what to watch, with Marge and Lisa preferring a rom-com, while Homer and Bart naturally prefer something a little more macho. They land on Paint Your Wagon (1969), since it stars Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood, which Bart and Homer assume would fulfill their masculine viewing needs. 
    As an aside, I first watched this episode with my best friend, one Mike Barrow, another Lee Marvin fan and diehard aficionado of The Simpsons. He had come to visit me in my new apartment in Long Beach but before we caught up on old times he said a new episode was on and we HAD to watch it. I was in the earliest stages of researching Lee Marvin Point Blank so we had much to talk about…AFTER viewing the episode. We turned on the TV to catch the episode and imagine our immense surprise when we see the opening! 

Mike Barrow and the author back in the day.

Naturally, after it aired, we had even more to bond over! Keep in mind, this is the guy with whom I watched The Dirty Dozen (1967) with on video so often, it got to the point that he would just call me up and start to hum the the film’s main theme and I would respond, “Sure, come on over.” Now that’s a buddy. 
All that said, for those who may have missed it, below is the clip in question. Watch. Enjoy. And remember, “Thank god for Lee Marvin! He’s always drunk and violent!”
– Dwayne Epstein 


 

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JOHN WAYNE AIRPORT & THE CURSE OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

A scene from John Ford’s DONAVAN’S REEF with Lee Marvin and John Wayne…re-imagined.

John Wayne Airport, located in Orange County, California, may be returning to it’s original name of Orange County International Airport. Why the name change? It appears to be the victim of political correctness run amok in the wake of protests condemning systematic racism. An interview John Wayne did in Playboy Magazine back in 1971 brought to re-examination his controversial philosophy when he stated, “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.”
Of course, the likes of John Wayne’s son, Ethan Wayne, denies his father’s bigotry in a recent statement.  All of this has come to light due to the growing protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd and others at the hands of law enforcement. My question is this: Sure, some times political correctness goes too far, but why in the world was an airport named after a movie star in the first place? Let’s be honest, that’s what he’s famous for. He didn’t serve his country in the military, cured a disease (although a medical center is also named after him since he was a victim of one), or ever held public office. With all due respect, he was simply a beloved film star. How does that rate an airport? I don’t figure it.
  The other thing is this: political correctness is not the only culprit. Unknown cultural history is also to blame. Even though the interview dates back to 1971, it had only recently been rediscovered. Kind of like the way folks were surprised by Clint Eastwood’s outrageous performance at the GOP convention talking demeaningly to an empty chair as if it were President Obama. Some folks were shocked, not only by the stupidity of the attempt, but discovering how right-wing Eastwood’s personal politics are. Did they not get the point of Dirty Harry?
  I find it extremely ironic. The info has always been out there, and in the digital age, one thinks it would be even more prevalent, but such is not the case. Because of this revelation (that has always existed) John Wayne Airport may become a memory.
   What does any of this have to do with Lee Marvin? Well, as readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank know, Marvin’s personal politics were diametrically opposed to that of John Wayne, but it didn’t keep them from working together…THREE TIMES! In fact, I encountered some static from Marvin fans when the book came out. Some said they were deeply disappointed by the man’s personal beliefs, as also stated in a Playboy interview. Bottom line, let the work of the individual speak for itself and the hell with political correctness. If it matters to you all, find out for yourself and do the homework. Don’t let others think for you. John Wayne fans take heart, though. There’s still Duke University.
– Dwayne Epstein

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MY INTERVIEW WITH ‘INVASION’S’ KEVIN McCARTHY

This being the birthday of the late, great Don Siegel (1912-1991), I thought it a perfect opportunity to post my interview with Kevin McCarthy (1914-2010), the star of his most famous film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Yes, Siegel did indeed direct Lee Marvin in The Killers, but that was pretty well covered in Lee Marvin Point Blank via my exclusive interviews with Norman Fell, Clu Gulager, Angie Dickinson and Bob Phillips. Siegel’s collaborations with Clint Eastwood may be popular, but to my mind, and many film geeks like me, Invasion was his best work. Besides, this time of the year, it certainly makes more sense to post about that film than say, Dirty Harry.
My 1999 Filmfax interview with McCarthy was no small coup as publisher Mike Stein said they had been trying to get him for years. I lucked out meeting MCarthy at a trade show in which he was hawking his new book at the time in tribute to Invasion (see inside cover below), aptly titled “They’re Here!”

McCarthy's inscription for my copy of his book reads, "To Dwayne Epstein - 'Sleep No More!' Like They're Coming! But they are skipping the fearful Epsteins!"

McCarthy’s inscription for my copy of his book reads, “To Dwayne Epstein – ‘Sleep No More!’ Like They’re Coming! But they are skipping the fearful Epsteins!”

The stars were aligned when he agreed to sit down with me a few weeks later at Musso & Franks. McCarthy was understandably wary of the interview at first, having been burned in the past. He was specific in citing writer Patricia Bosworth in her bio of McCarthy’s best friend, Montgomery Clift. According to McCarthy, she had misquoted him so badly, he vowed to never be interviewed again unless he could have approval of the content before publication. I rarely agree to such conditions but figured it was worth it. My one condition was that seeing how long and varied his career had been, no subject was off limits. The resulting article and accompanying rare photos proved so liked by the publisher, he commissioned artist Harley Brown to render the cover…my first cover article! Enjoy….

Artist Harley Brown's impressive cover image for my Kevin McCarthy interview.

Artist Harley Brown’s impressive cover image for my Kevin McCarthy interview.

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