So, how does Audie Murphy connect with my Mom and I in our film watching career, when I have told you guys Westerns in general were not my Mom’s jam, and why Audie as a whole than by a single film?
Let’s start with my introduction to Audie. I remember discussing Audie Murphy when I was in school, but as is the case commonly, you’re on to the next subject of the course no sooner than you started the one you’re on, to get all the criteria into the calendar year for the semester. I’ve found I became more interested in certain subjects, periods, and people on my own time outside of school as I’ve grown up. This was the case with Audie Murphy.
Soon after college, I was walking into a city building, when I came upon a huge portrait of Audie Murphy displayed above pamphlets provided on a brief backstory to his life and career, both in the Service and film. A pamphlet I still have today.
I read every bit of it, and there went my binge on Audie Murphy outside of “just” his Military career into his film career.
Such I was intrigued by his Military service, decorations, sincerity, and personal life the public of the time didn’t see, my interest was piqued. Forever in smiles every time I saw Audie in a film.
The first thing that caught my attention outside of everything else was his date of birth. Born Audie Leon Murphy in Kingston, Texas, the seventh son of twelve siblings … June 20th (1924)! The same as mine and E. Flynn’s! … That’s Errol Flynn folks. Thought I’d throw a lil name dropping in while I was on the subject (as if I knew him personally. Ha!)
But it was from my own personal enthusiasm I was able to share it with my Mom. Forever telling her what was new on the block when it came to Classic Film trivia I’d pick up reading and watching.
And of all the things I’ve heard, read or seen, I recently came upon a family who not only knew Audie Murphy personally, but grew up with him as a kid. The memory they had of those years and of Audie himself were so vivid, I was amazed to hear some of the things I read first hand, with a bit more vitality to the story, as it was told through people who knew him personally.
In our conversation, they brought up something that may be well known now, but at the time Audie told it to them, it was a surprise, long after he had become an actor, and he confided in them that if it weren’t for the kids who looked up to him, he’d have blown his brains out … I went silent. In awe. I mean, you’ve read about his personal life, behind the career, but to hear it flat out by way of someone he told it to. It really registers the impact of what he went through mentally and physically during and post his WWII service.
As history and the pamphlet reflects “the most decorated hero in America’s history,” receiving every decoration for valor the US offers, in addition to 5 decorations presented to him by France and Belgium, 33 in total (to see more on his medals: War History), making him the most decorated WWII combat soldiers in America. Yet, despite such accomplishments in his life and career, sadly upon his untimely tragic death in an airplane crash in Virginia, 1971, his discovered body only received “a combined total of 1 minute and 30 seconds of coverage by the major television news networks …” (via Audie Murphy Memorial).
Let’s hope with the Classic Film Fan epidemic that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon as far as I’m concerned and as long as I live, Audie Murphy’s films, life, credit, accomplishments will only become more well known and appreciated.
What really brought his films as a whole to the forefront for me was a year I was extremely sick with the flu during the holidays. Never had that happened to me before. Rarely do I ever get the flu, but sick on Thanksgiving?! With a relapse as Christmas approached?! Uh-uh. Cold, flu or not, this was completely new to me. However, the Western network was showcasing Audie Murphy during the month, much like TCM gives a Star Of The Month focus on one particular actor during the duration of the month.
That one on one time with my tele allowed me to appreciate Audie’s likability onscreen unlike watching him one film at a time over a course of time. It brought to mind, for me, regardless what you think of their acting, both Guy Madison and Audie Murphy are a lot alike in the sense you actually like who they are which makes watching them entertaining. Which is saying a lot.
Oh, and about that #ForMyMom/Audie Murphy connection. Well, that year I was sick, my Mom, who didn’t want to get near you (in such a comical way) when you were sick, and yet was the best caretaker (from a distance), making sure you had your orange juice and plenty of rest, even company, talking to me through the hallway, would do little things you didn’t realize she was doing until after the fact. Such was on my last couple of days from being sick when I was beginning to feel good enough to venture out of my room and sit horizontally without the seasick eff
ect for a minute or two, and told my Mom I was going back for the night and I’d see her later … She volunteered to come back with me and began to fix my bed up adding extra blankets and arranging everything as if I were in hospital; “What’cha lookin’ at?” … “Oh, Audie Murphy. He’s been keepin’ me company back here for the past several days.” … And what does my Mom do, the woman who doesn’t like to be in the same room when you’re sick? She sits down by my bed and watched a little Audie Murphy with me, without talking, we just sat and watched. In good company. And then, just like that, she got up and said, “Okay. See ya in the morning,” and walked out, as if an angel only you can see … Since losing my Mom, I often think of that night. And whenever I see Audie Murphy, I can think of no one or anything else.
Here’s a cup of coffee, chai, or cocoa to you and your film buddy. Make movies classic no matter the decade … Memories happen everywhere.
proc. BY MOVIES