"As I walk through this world-nothing can stop the Duke of Earl." Song lyrics
Jul 26, 2012
Memories of the Cold War and many Hollywood celebrities dot the pages of this cleverly told tale.
There is additional enjoyment in reading this story where the cast of characters includes Joseph Stalin, Mickey Cohen, Dick Powell, Susan Hayward and others who play parts in the story.
Before his death while in the midst of a sexual interlude, Stalin expressed this idea. Since John Wayne was America's idol and symbol of manhood, having him killed would be a terrible blow to that country.
He sends a group of spies that are reminiscent of the Three Stooges to accomplish his goal.
A man named Alexei is placed in charge and, in this world of spies, he sends his reports via codes, to his boss, Boris.
Boris loves getting these coded messages because they are so entertaining. Thus, "At first I hated my haircut. Now it's growing on me." This was a code from Alexei that the plan was in place and close to being executed.
The spies figure that the best way to meet John Wayne would be to open a movie studio. Not knowing anything about acting and not having the best of English, they called the business, The Seven Zeros. Then they wondered why people called and asked if they had any successful or intelligent people working at the company.
There is quite a bit of subtle humor in the novel. There is a sub-plot with John Wayne being asked to play a role written for Marlon Brando. The movie, "The Conqueror" tells the story of a historical figure and Wayne insists that he doesn't need a voice coach so drawl out his words as only the Duke could say. Dick Powell will be director/producer and Howard Hughes will finance the movie.
The destinies of the Russians and John Wayne circle each other as one amusing event follows another.
The film was shot in an area not far from where the U.S. performed nuclear tests and the author gives details about how many actors and people who assisted in making the movie died of cancer, including John Wayne, Susan Hayward and Agnes Moorehead.
There is an interesting segment about what happened to the members of the cast and of the crew in the years after "The Conqueror" was made.
This is a very amusing story with history and fiction coming together to create a joyous experience.