Tuesday, November 29, 2022

John Wayne sought revenge on his stunt double for convincing the audience that he had a bald spot

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Actor John Wayne has done many of his own film stunts, but he has used a stunt double for many of his characters’ more dangerous actions. The Western movie star was very particular about the image he projected on screen, but with good reason. He wanted to make sure he was selling the fantasy that his fans were paying for when they saw one of his paintings. At one point, Wayne wanted revenge on his stunt double for convincing the audience that he had a bald spot.

Director Carl Pierson Paradise Canyon was released in cinemas in 1935. Robert Emmett Tansey’s screenplay told the story of a badass federal agent named John Wyatt (Wayne). However, his world is turned upside down when he is sent on an undercover mission to infiltrate a medical show in Arizona. John has to pose as a sniper for his investigation, but he unexpectedly falls in love with Linda (Marion Burns), the daughter of ex-convict Dr. Carter (Earle Hodgins).

Actor Yakima Canutt played a character named Curly Joe Gale, but also appeared as a stunt double for Wayne. However, the two characters interacted in some particularly difficult scenes, which led to some problems with long-lasting effects.

According to Michael Munns John Wayne: The Man Behind the MythIn it, his actor and stunt double Canutt spoke about the “tough” fight scene between their characters Paradise Canyon. He had to shoot Wayne’s character over his head, so he doubled down for the Western movie star. Meanwhile, Wayne doubled for Canutt. There was a shot of Canutt crashing through a table with the camera placed behind him, allowing for a perfect view of his bald spot.

“When they ran the picture, the bald spot was very noticeable and I was really chewed by John and Paul Malvern, the producer,” Canutt said. “We couldn’t afford to reshoot it, so it went on as it was.”

Wayne wasn’t going to let his stunt double make it look like he had a bald spot, so Canutt had a plan to put in another jab. He fetched a woman from New York to write a letter.

“Dear Mr. Canutt, I saw it Paradise Canyon with you and John Wayne,” the letter said. “It was a good picture and you did a good job. But why doesn’t the producer find you a younger man than John Wayne who has to grow old because I’ve noticed he’s going bald.’”

Wayne saw that the letter was “authentic,” but knew Canutt likely had a hand in its existence. As a result, he told his co-star and stunt double, “Yak, you gotta watch that damn bald spot if you’re going to double me.”

RELATED: John Wayne did his own stunts in his favorite ‘True Grit’ scene

Munn wrote that Wayne ultimately got revenge on his stunt double for playing with him in this way. In the next function that was probable Westward hothere was a different fight sequence, but it went very differently.

Wayne’s character knocked down one of his enemies before dodging Canutt’s punch. After that, Wayne pushed him through the glass front window, but it was all in one shot. Canutt was unaware that his co-star jumped through the window and performed a “flying football tackle” on him that took his breath away.

“That’s for the letter from your ‘fan’ in New York,” Wayne said.

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