James Drury’s brush with greatness — Encountering genuine article John Wayne

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Ready for action! An iconic snapshot of John Wayne in character as Davy Crockett on the Brackettville, Texas, set of “The Alamo,” fall 1959. Photography by Denver Pyle or Bernie Abramson / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The James Drury Interview, Part Two

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An autographed photo of James Drury as “The Virginian,” circa 1969. Believe it or not, the character never had a first or last name. Image Credit: Liam Bluett’s Movies & Portraits Through the Ages… / NBCUniversal
Watch a mini featurette with daughter Marisa Wayne and granddaughter Anita Lacava Swift exploring the project closest to John Wayne’s heart, “The Alamo.” The Duke eventually lost 35 pounds, and his smoking habit increased from 60 to 100 cigarettes per day due to the constant stress of acting, producing, and directing the epic. Video Credit: Visit San Antonio / YouTube
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With coffee in hand and a visible wristwatch, John Wayne steps out of character as Davy Crockett to direct and produce his epic film, “The Alamo,” circa October 1959 in Brackettville, Texas. Photography by Denver Pyle or Bernie Abramson / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
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John Wayne makes his grand entrance as larger than life frontiersman Davy Crockett in a Bracketville, Texas, field of tall grass, fall 1959. Great character actor Denver Pyle — best known as Uncle Jessie on “The Dukes of Hazzard” and Briscoe Darling on “The Andy Griffith Show”— can be seen in the top hat. Photography by Denver Pyle / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
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John Wayne wears one of his favorite baseball caps as he takes a break from directing, producing, and starring in “The Alamo” to play with daughter Aissa Wayne, who was only three years old at the time, fall 1959. Photography by Denver Pyle or Bernie Abramson / Bettman Archives
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First-time director John Wayne smokes a cigarette, takes a cup of coffee, and converses with his mentor, legendary Oscar-winning director John Ford, on the set of “The Alamo,” fall 1959. Incidentally, the “old man” showed up unannounced and largely unwelcome. Photography by Denver Pyle or Bernie Abramson / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
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With rifle in hand, John Wayne as Davy Crockett prepares to battle Mexican General Santa Anna’s insurmountable army force numbering 1,500 in “The Alamo.” Note that instead of wearing Crockett’s trademark coonskin cap, the Duke opted for a black cowboy hat. Photography by Denver Pyle or Bernie Abramson / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
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John Wayne rocks a coonskin cap and fringed buckskin jacket as Davy Crockett in a still from “The Alamo,” ultimately released to theaters on October 24, 1960. Photography by Denver Pyle or Bernie Abramson / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

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Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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