John Wayne & Buddy Holly “That’l Be the Day.”

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The other day, I rented a classic Western movie: (John Ford’s)THE SEARCHERS, which incidently is rated number 2 or 3 on my list of classic Westerns. (The reason it’s rated 2 or 3 is because my top two are either tied for first place, or they’re rated 1 & 2, I can’t decide.)

The following video is the original Trailer for THE SEARCHERS:

I had been thinking about this movie for a while, as I usually do for a part of each year; probably have since 1956. One time, while watching John Wayne utter the phrase “That’l Be The Day” about a half-dozen times, I thought to myself: “UMMMM! 1956! – That’l Be The Day!” “I’ll bet Buddy Holly was watching that movie back in Lubback, Texas in 1956 and that phrase got stuck in his head, so he picked up his Fender [guitar] and wrote the song (That’l Be The Day.)

Well I finally found an internet article that mentions this idea: “That’l Be the Day.” The title and lyrical phrase, lifted from a line that John Wayne was always quoting in the John Ford movie The Searchers. Click the link and scroll down…Here is another link that mentions it; and another!

Other articles state that the British group: THE SEARCHERS (Needles and Pins & Love Potion Number 9, just to name two of their mega-hit songs.) took their name from the movie. This information is from The Searchers’ [band] website…

The COASTERS 1957 R&R hit: SEARCHIN’, by Leiber and Stoller on Atco Records – I’m betting – is also somewhere in the mix. I can’t confirm this hypothetical yet. If I can, I’ll post it here.

My Top Two Westerns? In alphabetical order: HIGH NOON , starring: Gary Cooper, Lloyd Bridges, Grace Kelly, Katy Jurado and Ian MacDonald, released 7 July 1952 and SHANE, starring: Allan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon De Wilde, Jack Palance and Ben Johnson, released September 24, 1953

A bit of irony exsists in the juxtaposition of two of the movies which are mentioned in this post: John Wayne had big problems with the politics of High Noon; he felt that there was a strong, leftist, message in the film. Some refer to the movie as an “anti-McCarthyism western.”
“Although he complained that High Noon (1952) was “un-American”, when he collected Gary Cooper’s Oscar on his behalf, he also complained that he wasn’t offered the part himself.”

Here are just a few reasons why these films are rated so highly in my book:

The following clip includes the final gunfight in SHANE:
Alan Ladd’s character SHANE “calls out” hired gunfighter Jack Wilson (Jack Palance) in the saloon, after a long, emotion-building-ride into town. With one of cinema’s most memorable, provocative lines, Shane responds to Wilson’s query: “What have you heard Shane (about me)?”
“I’ve heard that you’re a low-down Yankee liar.”

This is a clip from HIGH NOON. It is the slow-paced, methodic, (opening) Title Sequence: The Miller Gang assembles to ride into town to meet the High Noon Train carrying “Boss *Frank Miller” (Ian MacDonald,) just released from prison and seeking revenge from the sheriff (Gary Cooper) who put him there. Underscoring the entire clip and most of the movie is the brilliant, haunting song, “High Noon,” sung by Tex Ritter (the late John Ritter’s father.) The music is by Dimitri Tiomkin and the lyrics are by Ned Washington.

NATALIE WOOD’S younger sister, LANA WOOD played the young Debbie Edwards in THE SEARCHERS. The searchers were searching – all the while – for Debbie Edwards
The Cinematographer for HIGH NOON was Floyd Crosby, who was the father of Rock and Roll’r David Crosby.
From the movie SHANE: “YOU SPEAKING TO ME” says SHANE to provacateur Chris Calloway (Ben Johnson) before the gunfight in the saloon (see video clip.)
YOU TALKING TO ME” says Robert De Niro, talking to the mirror,
in the movie TAXI DRIVER ( 1976.) Here’s a bit of conjecture: The line originated from 1) The Twilight Zone 2) Shane 3) De Niro…

*[The Ian MacDonald character, Frank Miller scared the heck out of me the first time I saw the movie – still does! Three faces in cinema that have that effect on me are: Ian Macdonald’s, Frank Miller High Noon, Jack Palance’s , Jack Wilson Shane and Vincent Price’s, Prof. Henry Jarrod in 1953’s THE HOUSE OF WAX – all three are pure evil, like Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolf Man.]

Click this link to access a site that may or may not have Buddy Holly Home Recordings from November-December, 1956 [at] 1926, 19th Street, Lubbock, Texas: Buddy Holly: vocal, guitar; Jerry Allison: drums and vocals; (Poss.) Don Guess: bass.

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