Curious to see the Duke’s personal and professional life? Well, for teachers, you can see it all at John Wayne: An American Experience, where admission’s free for one week.
The exhibit lies in Fort Worth, Texas, where you can explore different spaces that correlate to John Wayne’s life and legacy. Tickets usually cost about $22 for adults and $18 for kids ages 6-12. But from May 1 to May 7, teachers can explore the John Wayne: An American Experience exhibit for free.
The official Instagram account of the John Wayne estate announced the news earlier this week. They posted a photo of Wayne in cowboy gear, with text over the photo that reads, “We think teachers are the best in the west.”
The caption repeated the phrase, saying, “We think teachers are the best in the west! From May 1 – 7, teachers enjoy free admission to John Wayne: An American Experience! Tag a special teacher in your life. (Discounted tickets available in person only).”
Per John Wayne’s website, the exhibit contains over 10,000 square feet of rooms. These rooms span Wayne’s whole life and career, starting from his early childhood. You can see his most iconic film moments in the “Life on Screen” room. Or explore his patriotic poem readings in the “America, Why I Love Her” room. Plus, check out never-before-seen correspondence and family photos.
History and film teachers, or really anyone who’s a John Wayne fan, are bound to get a kick out of the exhibit.
How Did John Wayne Get His Stage Name?
John Wayne is one of many actors who adopted a stage name for his work in Hollywood. The actor’s born name, Marion Morrison, didn’t fit the image that studios wanted in their stars at the time. So, Fox Studios, which Wayne worked with early in his career, started brainstorming some new ideas.
Director Raoul Walsh came up with the idea for Anthony Wayne, an old war general. But studio exec Winfield Sheehan vetoed it, saying the name sounded “too Italian.” But they liked the last name Wayne, so they started playing around with different first names to fit with it. Once John got thrown in the mix, everyone jumped on board. And so John Wayne, movie superstar, was born.
But that wasn’t the only name he went by. The Western star was also known as “The Duke” in many film circles. Why is that? Apparently, the nickname actually came from Wayne’s childhood dog. His Airedale Terrier was named Duke. So whenever the star walked around with the pup, people would call Wayne “Big Duke” and his dog “Little Duke.”