Topic: "The Real Rhett" (4)
Funny it is, thinks Frodo, how one thing sometimes leads to another. Many moons ago, while watching an original telecast of the series "MASH," Frodo noted that all of the contingent in the 4077th was gathered together to watch an old movie, in black-and-white, called "My Darling Clementine." The showing was interrupted time-and-again by the serious tasks at hand in the comedic series. Frodo not only laughed, but he wondered about this, as one of those old movies that he had never seen.
You know how it is, dear reader, we all have some book that we have heard about all our lives, but never read. We all have at least one movie we have never seen, and are almost ashamed to admit it. To Frodo, Wyatt Earp had always been Hugh O'Brian "strong, courageous, and bold," and to entertain any pretender, even Henry Fonda, was almost a sacrilege. Tonight, Frodo had an opportunity to right a wrong, and he took advantage of it.
Some time ago, while traveling with the Men of Gondor, Frodo had the good fortune to visit the house of one named Margaret Mitchell, the author of what is commonly regarded as the greatest American novel. The docent informed Frodo that most scholars speculate that it was the real Doc Holliday of the Wyatt Earp sagas who was the inspiration for the character Rhett Butler. Because Ms. Mitchell died, tragically, in a motorcar accident before truly divulging all of the facts, this has remained a speculative item in American literary circles.
In "My Darling Clementine," produced not long after "Gone With the Wind" was first aired, the character of Rhett Butler was portrayed by Victor Mature. Clark Gable, of course, was the quintessential rogue from Charleston in the most famous of all American movies. Frodo was struck by the similarity between the portrayals of Rhett Butler by Gable and Mature. Not having seen "Clementine" before, because of his arrogance, Frodo was unaware of the mystery which both men brought to bear in the portrayal of Captain Butler. Some good, Frodo supposes, can be said to come out of the Korean War, and Frodo's interest therein.
The movie may indeed be the best of the old westerns that did not include John Wayne. There are sweeping panoramas, in black-and-white of course, and camera pull-backs which portend a disappearance of time and episode. Despite the title, the musical score was almost in absentia however, leaving Frodo almost palatal as he swooned lest he be carried away in silence.
Time well-spent, and now it is on to a book, which he will find in the library, unread, and perhaps it will divulge the secret of how Mr. Caulfield dealt with the issue of farting in church. Once again, Frodo already had a character in mind, and did not feel it necessary to detract from his own self-image. Be thankful dear reader, that Frodo selected the leadership of Lord Tolkien in these adventures, lest he close each presentation not giving a damn.