USC Trojans This & That — 7/5

Rick Jewell  (USC News)  —  Marion Robert Morrison, born in Winterset, Iowa, reared in Palmdale and Glendale, California, didn’t contemplate a life in the movies until USC football coach Howard Jones helped him land a part-time job as a prop man and day laborer at the Fox Studios in 1927. Though only 20 years old, Morrison was no stranger to hard work, having toiled at a wide variety of jobs since he was a boy.

One director at Fox, John Ford, was especially impressed with Morrison’s strength, tenacity and willingness to take on the toughest jobs. A brilliant, autocratic filmmaker who could sometimes be mean, even sadistic, Ford loved to challenge people in order to test their character. One day he began playing a dirty trick on Morrison, who proceeded to demonstrate a Trojan tackling technique on the esteemed director. Instead of getting fired, as he probably should have been, the kid earned Ford’s respect; so began, in Morrison’s words, “the most profound relationship of my life and, I believe, my greatest friendship.” Ford and Wayne would become a magical team in Hollywood … but that came later.

Wayne (then Morrison), a good student and overachiever at Glendale High, where he was president of the senior class in 1925, came to USC on a football scholarship. Football scholarships then were not what they are now. They covered tuition ($280 a year) and one meal a day at the training table if you were on the regular squad.

“The training table was a five-days-a-week thing,” recalled Eugene C. Clarke, a former USC trustee who was a boyhood, high school and college friend of Wayne’s, in a 1979 Trojan Family article. “We sort of had to scratch around for our other meals and for all of our meals on weekends. We were always pretty hungry by Monday morning.”

One of Wayne’s campus jobs was to “sling hash” at sorority houses. He joined a fraternity, Sigma Chi, along with several of his high school friends. One of them, Ralf “Pexy” Eckles, recalled in a newspaper interview that Wayne once got out of a college fight by putting ketchup in his mouth and letting it leak out.

“The guys let him go because they thought he was bleeding. He would have got away with it, if he hadn’t started to laugh.”

After breaking his collarbone while surfing and losing his football scholarship, Wayne had to leave USC shortly after beginning his junior year. (His younger brother, Robert, later made more of a contribution to USC football as a fullback, earning a letter in 1932.)   

Wayne has a bust in Heritage Hall. His daughter-in-law Gretchen, president of his production company, Batjac, said that he remained a huge USC sports fan until he died. “You didn’t want to be around him if the Trojans lost,” she recalls.  usc.edu

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TrojanRJJ
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Couple of items of interests gleaned from other boards: 1. SC just agreed to pay UCSD $50,000,000 for misappropriation of Alzheimer’s research. How the heck did that happen? At least, UCSD’s research will be well funded for the next few years! Thanks Max and Wanda! 2. Dan Weber made a great point on the Courtright lawsuit. Assuming Courtright reported the alleged violations to the USC Compliance Department, what did that Department do with the Complaint? Did it investigate them? If so, what were its finding? If not, why not? If not, I think Courtwright wins big in arbitration.

Trojan5
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I remember when the “transaction” happened and UCSD wasn’t happy. If my memory is right, various articles indicated poaching of faculty/researchers/ etc is fairly common place. Not surprised to see USC paying a price for being aggressive. I am not a fan of Wanda, but I think the poaching occurred before she was on the scene. So, I will choose another bus to roll over her— I am sure another bit of news is only around the corner.

Just logical
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Having used the compliance hotline at my own place of employment, I don’t see what prevents a complaint from “disappearing.” I haven’t seen anyone getting an acknowledgement of the complaint nor a summary to prove the complaint was submitted/received. How does Courtright get around the inherent sloppy work and questionable ethics of the fox who guards the henhouse?

TrojanMPA90
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I attended UCSD as an undergrad before attending USC for graduate school. Wierd to have the two schools involved with each other. UCSD will gladly take the $50 million and can do a lot with it.

Jamaica
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There are numerous stories of actors/actresses who went to college for a business career of some type and found out while there they could do some acting and left to persue that opportunity. 3 of my 4 kids went to a small college in Wisconsin, Ripon College between Milwaukee & Green Bay on the East side. Come to find out there were 2-very famous alumns who left Ripon early after realizing they could act; Harrison Ford & Spencer Tracy.

LawyerJohn
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We listen to actors and athletes because we put them on a pedestal and act as if they are more important than we are. Since they often have millions of followers, compared to the regular Joe having 100 or less, their self-importance is exalted and they work on having a few pet slogans to impress their followers. Often the famous are not nearly as interesting or funny as one’s neighbors or work-chums.

usc72
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LIving in Texas (Plano in DFW area), I always get a kick out of the number of LARGE John Wayne photos/posters on display in restaurants and shops. Usually, ones with a very Texas or country cowboy motif.

Guest
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I have always had John Wayne as one of my favorite actors. Being a Trojan made even better. Some people like to dredge up things to paint our “heroes” in a bad light, and he has had his share of mud thrown at his feet. He was an actor not a saint and the sooner we realize that actors are not always paragons of virtue, the better this country will be. I mentioned the hubbub about the Betsy Ross flag shoe on a post on Facebook today. To say that flag represents slavery because the economy of the country included… Read more »

rleeholder1
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My uncle, Kenneth Lee went to Glendale High (GHS) with Marion Morrison. His sister, my Grandmother, graduated Glendale High in 1913, my Mom graduated in 1943 and I graduated in 1973 and then went on to USC. It’s both fun and humbling to be a GHS Dynamiter and USC Trojan!

Steveg
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Simply, Americas Cowboy.