“Mac, you ever been in love?”*

by chuckofish

Today is the birthday of Henry Jaynes Fonda (May 16, 1905 – August 12, 1982)–star of stage and screen and progenitor of one of those film dynasties they have out in Hollywood. He was baptized an Episcopalian (although raised as a Christian Scientist) and an Eagle Scout.

Henry Fonda_3

He is not one of my all-time favorites or anything, but I always liked him and his wonderful midwestern voice. He reminds me of my father, without the glasses.

Fonda, as you know, had quite a long and celebrated career culminating in finally winning an Academy Award for Best Actor for On Golden Pond in 1982. He played an old, befuddled man and was hardly acting, but oh well. I’m sure Warren Beatty, Burt Lancaster, Dudley Moore, and Paul Newman, who were also nominated that year, understood that that’s how Hollywood operates–right?

He made some of his best movies with John Ford, including one of my top-ten favorites, My Darling Clementine (1940) which I wrote about here. He was on quite a roll with Ford with Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) and The Grapes of Wrath (1940), then with The Fugitive (1947), Fort Apache (1948) and Mister Roberts (1955). Many actors had a hard time working with Ford, but I remember hearing Fonda say that making a movie with him “was like going to summer camp.” Clearly Ford treated him differently. I would love to know why. The results of their collaborations were excellent, so, whatever.

My Friday Pick for you then is to watch one of Henry Fonda’s movies tonight and raise a glass to old Hank. For me, it will be My Darling Clementine.

I should also note that May 18 (Sunday) is the birthday of country singer George Strait, aka Strait the Great.

george-strait-header

So it wouldn’t be a bad idea to dust off Pure Country (1992). (I know you have a copy. If not, I’m sure it is on YouTube. Or running in a loop on GAC.)

purecountry1One of my favorite memories is of the boy when he was around 9 or 10 years old, sitting in the giant mulberry tree in our yard, singing at the top of his lungs:

All my ex’s live in Texas,

And Texas is a place I’d dearly love to be.

But all my ex’s live in Texas

And that’s why I hang my hat in Tennessee.

Just thinking of that made my day! Happy birthday, Henry and George!

*Wyatt Earp says this in My Darling Clementine. [The response to this question is: “No. I’ve been a bartender all me life.”]