To so many people he was ‘The Duke’ and he was a media and movie icon. If you said anything about the Duke then those counted as fighting words and the person defending his honor would be likely to take a few good hits before tapping out, perhaps deciding that John Wayne didn’t really care about people defending his name. There’s a lot of that people didn’t know about him to be honest and the fact that he wasn’t always fan friendly is the least of them. Join me will you in the privilege of now knowing the reason that John Wayne’s scenes always had to be shot before noon.
He was a mean, obstinate drunk.
It’s not the only reason, but we’ll get to that. Movie stars were treated as royalty at one time, not like spoiled divas. Their whim was law most times on the set and if they wanted to do something then by God you didn’t try to deny them or your career might have been shot so full of holes that you’d never work in the same town again. It didn’t happen for every celebrity obviously, but it did happen to go for some of them. A few celebrities were able to ride that particular train to the bitter end as their every desire was met and their every need was catered to on a regular basis.
For John Wayne it was the need to shoot before noon, because by the afternoon he was well on his way to being three sheets to the wind and meaner than a rattlesnake after it’s been stepped on. Many people went on record as saying that John Wayne was a particularly mean drunk and didn’t sugarcoat the fact for anyone. What people need to remember is that these were different times in which the Duke existed however, and despite not being seen as right now, back then it was pretty standard to start the day out at around noon and keep going until the night was over. Did he have a drinking problem? He might not have called it a problem, but he did enjoy his booze.
Another semi-interesting but kind of disgusting fact is that the filming usually didn’t begin until the Duke, possibly hungover at times, had had his morning bowl movement. Yep, that’s right, there was no filming until Wayne had done his business. Film executives actually used to walk on the set and ask why no one was filming, and the answer would be simple, John Wayne wasn’t done with his morning shock and awe yet.
Having that kind of a drinking habit had to have had a lot to do with it. Water and alcohol weren’t the thing back then unless you were mixing the two, and the one kind of negated the otherwise positive effect that the other could have had. By now a lot of us know that drinking water in between alcoholic drinks can help digestion and to dilute the alcohol in your system if only just a little bit. More importantly though it keeps you hydrated, since alcohol tends to dry you out. Unfortunately it would seem that the Duke didn’t think much of this, and was such a habitual drinker that his morning constitutional could take a while.
Trust me, I’m not going to go into any further details.