John Wayne style

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POSTED: September 17, 2019

Last week I came across this image of John Wayne holidaying in Acapulco in the nineteen forties.

I found myself reminded once again that most of the things that seem new only look that way because of how little detail we retain of the past. Here we see John Wayne dressing fashionably in clothes that I at least found difficult to imagine as mainstream fashion in the nineteen forties.

Mainstream, pah, you might reply: this man comes from Hollywood – and you would have a point. I doubt if my grandfather wore shorts like these to go shopping in Birkenhead. Nonetheless my point still stands. As far as I understand, from what I read, John Wayne did not intend to break through any barriers here, nor to make a statement. The photographer simply caught him looking fashionable, Hollywood style.


The photographer… I initially saw this photograph with no watermark. Later when I went back to try to find it, I saw it with the watermark, and I decided (for the sake of honesty) to use that version.

According to Wikipedia,

Philip “Snapdragon” Stern (September 3, 1919 – December 13, 2014) was an American photographer noted for his iconic portraits of Hollywood stars, as well as his war photography while serving as a U.S. Army Ranger with “Darby’s Rangers” during the North African and Italian campaigns in World War II.

Settling in Los Angeles after the war, Stern was staff photographer for LOOK magazine. He also worked for Life magazine and Collier’s. He was present on numerous film productions as still photographer, and in that capacity took photographs of a huge cross-section of the film community. Stern’s images of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Marlon Brando and even musician Louis Armstrong have become widely recognized icons.

A lifelong smoker, Stern died at the age of 95 in Los Angeles from COPD and congestive heart failure which he had been battling for over three and a half decades.

He certainly gave the world an interesting image of John Wayne.