Worthy Convos: The John Wayne Experience
Journey back in time to the days of neckerchiefs and smooth one-liners at the John Wayne exhibit located appropriately in the Fort Worth Stockyards. This 10,000 square foot display is devoted to the public and personal life of the man who has kept the west cooler than a desert night. We caught up with exhibit team member Jade Brandt to learn more about The Duke.
John Wayne is forever associated with the Old West. But Fort Worth also has an association with western life and culture. Is that why folks can enjoy the exhibit here and not in Dallas?
We chose Fort Worth because of its commitment to preserving western culture. When we came to visit with our partner, Patrick Gottsch, we were blown away by the revitalization of the Stockyards by Craig Cavalier and knew this was the perfect place for John Wayne.
Describe the exhibit experience.
The exhibit is 10,000 square feet and filled with over 400 pieces of John Wayne’s personal and professional memorabilia. Guests will be able to see the full story of John Wayne, starting with his early life in Iowa, taking you through his extensive career in film, his personal life, and ending with his other legacy, the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.
How do you describe The Duke to people who aren’t familiar with his celebrity?
John Wayne was not only one of the most famous and hard-working actors of his time, but he was also a very down to earth guy. He liked spending time out of the spotlight on his boat, the Wild Goose, with his family and friends playing chess cards and fishing. He was also passionate about his country and felt strongly about supporting our troops.
People often romanticize the west. Why do you think that is?
The West represents the opportunity and hard work. These are classic American values that our country was founded on and I think people still find these values important today.
Any surprising facts about ol’ JW that you like to share with people?
John Wayne was extremely intellectual. He loved to read and was very interested in learning. Those who were closest to him always say that no matter if you agreed with him or not, he always wanted to hear your opinion.
Tell us about the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.
When John Wayne died, he asked his family to use his name to help fight cancer. John Wayne Cancer Foundation was founded in 1985 and we fund novel and innovative programs that improve cancer patients’ outcome and save lives through research, education, awareness, and support.
You have one John Wayne movie to watch for the rest of your life. Which is it?
Probably Big Jake and only because I got to be in it so a lot of fond memories for me in there.
Although she prefers burnt orange to purple, Hannah Bush is happy to call Fort Worth her new home. She began freelance writing a few years ago to break up the monotony of her 9 to 5 and to prove to her parents that she’s making good use of her journalism degree. When she’s not hanging out with her cat, Hannah can likely be found on a patio with her fiancé, talking about her cat.