ITS A LONG LONG WAY TO DUBLIN TOWN
Story and Chronology of Research on Maureen O’Hara
(updated 7-09)

Leaning on "James Joyce" in downtown Dublin. . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . .is about as close as I'll ever get to writing fame.  In the month of June in 1999 my path finally led me to the real Dublin town.  It was a long road, but full of good friends, great discoveries and wonderful experiences.  Below is a listing of some of the resources I have used and things I have obtained to assist in my archival research.  Some of it may be of interest to you or it may be totally "ho hum" boring.  When someone exclaims, "Oh, you're so lucky to know Ms. O'Hara " I have to tell them that this didn't all happen because I sat home Googling for info on Maureen O'Hara or snagging information and photos from other websites.  I actually left the house.  I flew to Los Angeles, visited the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Library, interviewed people with whom Maureen worked and people who knew her.. . . . and eventually Maureen "herself."   It's been an ongoing learning experience.

This all began in 1991 when I was writing an article on feminism and I chose Ms. O'Hara as the "perfect" topic. I remembered her films from my high school days when I worked in a movie theater.  I had long admired her beauty and spirit. But decades had now passed.  I grew up, married and raised five children.  Hadn't had much time to go to movies. I had, however, seen "The Quiet Man," and "The Parent Trap" on TV.  Thanks to the advent of the VHS I was able to begin renting at least a few of her films that I hadn't seen.  As I watched them I realized what a dynamic and unique individual she was.  She definitely wasn't your typical Hollywood star.  She was a classically trained actress with a beautiful soprano voice and an Irish heritage that was her pride and joy.
 
I spent hours camping at the local library reading any and all material that might incorporate anything about Maureen, from books on her studios, RKO, Universal, and Fox.  Long after my article had been submitted for publication I remained so intrigued by the versatility of this great lady, that my research continued.  Now, after 18 years, I can look back with pride and a sense of accomplishment.  It was time and money well spent.  I have learned so much technically and every day brings a new discovery and a new thread to follow.

Resources:  Library of Congress - USC Archives - Museum of Radio and Television (NYC & LA)  - Film Depository (Texas and Madison, Wisconsin) - Archives CBS, NBC, ABC - American Film Institute, NYC Public Library, Paramount, Warners, Fox, Universal and so many others...particularly the fans who have shared photos and information for the website.  I even heard from the man who played Maureen and Duke's baby in "Wings of Eagles."

Special thanks and recognition to Maureen O'Hara - The late Charles FitzSimons, Charles FitzSimons II,- Margot FitzSimons Edwards, Sister Margaret Mary FitzSimons, Ellis Thorn, Eric Young of  Sparkhill Productions, Marilyn Carey (Mrs. Harry Carey, Jr.) - Aron Kincaid, Carolyn Murphy, Lee Bastian, the late Paul Keyes (writer/producer), Anna Lee, Judy Wineland, Karen Cooksley, Joan Stringham, Patti Lamb, Patricia Harty of Irish America Magazine, Gregg Brown and Margaret Pickworth of Cowboys and Indians Magazine,  the late Angela Fox Dunn, Rob Esterla of 20th Century Fox photo archives, Gretchen Wayne (wife of the late Michael Wayne, John Wayne's eldest son), the office of director Christopher Columbus, and so many others. 

VIDEO DOCUMENTARIES & MISC. VIDEO

  • Barbara Walters (John Wayne’s final interview)
  • Republic Pictures 80th Anniversary - John Wayne segment with Maureen
  • Various trailers and commentaries on films aired by AMC - before and after O’Hara films
  • This Is Your Life, Maureen O’Hara - 1957
  • Johnny Carson - 1991 with John Candy
  • O’Hara Cinemax Promo - Summer 1993
  • Assorted very short interviews with Leonard Maltin
  • British Film Institute Fellowship Awards Gala (Maureen was honored here in 1993) $40 to convert   To American video  format
  • Rio Grande 1997 release w/documentary
  • Rio Grande 2002 50th Anniversary Edition - with Ms. O'Hara enhanced audio commentary
  • The Quet Man 2002 50th Anniversary Edition - with Ms. O'Hara enhanced audio commentary
  • Confidential Magazine TV Retrospectives
  • 100 Years of the Hollywood Western (1994)
  • Various trailers and commentaries on films aired on AMC – before and after O’Hara films
  • Home Shopping Network – Maureen’s promotion of her Irish products.
  • Video montages made by me/ complete with soundtracks on isolated clips of O’Hara/Wayne
  • Tom Snyder’s shows – Maureen guests 1995 and 1996 - 1998 (?)
  • Phil Donahue Show – John Wayne’s appearance 1976 – re-broadcast
  • On Board with Duke video (home movies of John Wayne on his boat) Minshall
  • Documentaries on: The Jewish Moguls of Hollywood; Bravo Exposé on Oscars
  • A & E 1998 produced biography of John Wayne.
  • Video Clips of various Brian Keith TV retrospectives after death in 1997
  • Video Clips of Maureen’s interviews on John Candy & Christopher Columbus bios
  • The Fabulous Fordies (a glorious video in color right from the film of Maureen's appearance in 1972. This   was acquired because of my assisting Maureen in gaining copies of some of her old TV appearances - took over  two years to obtain but it was worth it. Thanks much to Buck Ford, Ernie's son).
  • Irish Films and TV Foundation - first Lifetime Achievement Award to Maureen O'Hara
  • Maureen TV interview with Diane Sawyer

  • MAGAZINES /SCRIPTS/MISC.

    MOVIE SCRIPTS: Wings of Eagles - and The Searchers -  Only The Lonely - The Quiet Man

    MOVIE VHS AND DVD. - All of the films made by Maureen O'Hara from "My Irish Molly" to "The Last Dance" TV movie.

    MAGAZINES:
    Arizona Highways special issue on John Wayne including “McLintock” 1992
    AMC - 1989 - Angela’s article “John Ford’s Favorite Rosebud.”
    Irish America 2-87 - (interview with Maureen)
    Irish America  4-94 - (Top 100 Irish)
    People - 6-10-91 - article on Maureen
    People - 1976 - One page article with Maureen in cockpit with Charles Blair
    Motion Picture - 7-56 - Duke’s article including Maureen
    Empire (British) Segment on Ford - Maureen input
    Premier - 7-91 - Interview by Roddy McDowall
    Bevery Hillls 213 (Article on Maureen) 1991
    Two sidebars and one article for Cowboys and Indians Magazine

    BOOKS IN PERSONAL LIBRARY:

    - DUKE – An Intimate Look at a Legend by John Boswell/Jay David
    - John Wayne American – by Randy Robbins and James S. Olsen
    -  Pictorial Book – Heroes of the Silver Screen by Graham Fuller
    - World Great Movie Stars and their Films by Ken Walshchin
    - Civil War and the Cinema
    - John Ford by McBride & Willington
    - Cult Movies 3 by Danny Peary
    - The Complete Films of John Wayne by Steven &Boris  Zmijewsky,
    - One Man Tango – Anthony Quinn
    - Big Damn Book of Sheer Maniless by the VonHoffman Bros.
    - On Board with the Duke by Sharon & Minshall
    - In the Footsteps of the Quiet Man by Gerry McNee
    - Magnum Cinema (pictorial book -  a Christmas gift from American Movie Classics network)
    - Campfire Conversations by Tim Lilley
    - Images of Ireland
    - Closeups of Movie Stars by Danny Peary
    - John Wayne Scrapbook by Lee Pfeiffer
    - Alternative Oscars by Danny Peary
    - Campfires Rekindled by Tim Lilley
    - Married in the Movies (pictorial)
    - Elsa Lanchester’s Herself
    - John Wayne’s America by Garry Wills
    - John Ford by Tad Gallagher
    - John Ford – Hollywood’s Old Master – by Ronald L. Davis (autographed by author)
    - Hollywood Beauty (Linda Darnell) by Ronald L. Davis (autographed)
    - The Autobiography of Melvyn Douglas
    - Duke We’re Glad we Knew You – by Herby Fagan
    - Fall Guy by Bad Chuck Roberson
    - The Western Films of John Ford by J.A. Place
    - Company of Heroes by Harry Carey
    - John Ford - Hollywood's Old Master - by Ron Davis (signed by author)
    - Hollywood Beauty - Linda Darnell and the American Dream - by Ron Davis (autographed) Great book!
    - In the Footsteps of the Quiet Man by Gerry McNee
    - A Woman’s View – How Hollywood Spoke to Women from 1930-1960 by Janine Bassinger
    - Trinity by Urus
    - Duke – The Life & Image of John Wayne – by Ronald L. Davis (was a “reader” of original draft
         On this one) (autographed by author) “To June Beck with Sincere Thanks for your friendship & help” and even mentioned in the
         Forward....Whoa! I’m almost a book author..just kidding.
    - The Complete Guide to The Quiet Man by Des MacHale
    - Print the Legend by Scott Eymann 2000
    - A Treasury of Irish Verse - Edited by David Gibbon/ Designed by Philip Clucas
    - Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World - by John O'Donohue
    - "Tis Herself" Maureen O'Hara Memoirs - 1st draft copy - Galley copy, and hard cover copy - autographed
    - The Star Machine - Jeanine Basinger
    -  Only Make Believe - Howard Keel

    Misc.

    I know I’m forgetting lots of things.  I also did other experimental montages – one that is really fun is all the clips of films where Maureen takes a swing at her co-stars. Still haven’t found the right music soundtrack for that one.  So, I’ve been a writer, a video film editor, a webmaster, a collector, a biographer “reader” and researcher.  My greatest collections, however, is the friendships I have formed along the way - truly, the greatest gifts of all, so I figure there must have been a reason for all of this.

    So that’s the inventory to date and the beat goes on.



    The Long Story:

    WHERE DOES ONE BEGIN? (I sighed at the thought of this task).  Poised at my computer I now realize that I am surrounded by it all – it’s all here, looming about me in bookcases, filing cabinets, in boxes and in pictures on the wall. What is so nice is that usually behind every photo or article there is the memory of some new friend who helped me along the way.  The fan club members from the 50’s and 60’s, the “Big Trail” club members (Bill Greehy in particular), people from Ireland, the young woman – a grad student – who sent me all of her material on Maureen which she had intended to use in her thesis when the project was abandoned. There was the gentleman from Ireland, the gentleman from England, fellow writers who were fans of Maureen, the anonymous gentleman from NYC who sent me his video of "My Irish Molly” (a film I never thought I’d find).  There was the wonderful family of the late John Kolcun who sent me invaluable material from John’s fan club – those wonderful journals with priceless photos and information. There are so many more involved that I can’t possibly include them all. But those mentioned here were part of the beginning. The accumulation of friends and helpmates continues on to the present.  There is always something new to learn.

    I will take just a moment here to tell you a little about the 1950’s-60’s- fan club journals because with them came an almost supernatural, mystical sign. (Just kidding...I think)   It made me so uncomfortable at first, that I chose not to think about it, however, now I can deal with it.  The Fan Club Journals are items I obtained after locating the sister of the late John Kolcun (President of her NY Fan Club from 1955 to 1961) consisted of about 45 pages crammed with just about everything ever printed on Maureen O’Hara during the height of her career – input from club members, reviews of films, columnists remarks,, etc.  – even how much her films grossed in various key cities.  With so much information to assimilate, for the most part I just scanned each journal for pertinent information.  One evening while talking on the phone with a friend, I was browsing through the pages of a journal and my eye fixed on a paragraph containing my maiden name. I did a quick double-take.  “It couldn’t be! What on earth was my name doing here? It had to be someone else.  I never belonged to any fan clubs!”  The sentence read “Does anyone know where Dixon Illinois is and June Parker?” Whoa! That was me alright and my home town.  I read further to learn that I had apparently written a letter to Photoplay Magazine in 1957 asking for more articles on Vivien Leigh and Maureen O’Hara.  Kolcun had read the letter and must have been trying to find me to recruit as a member of his club.  I certainly didn’t remember writing such a letter.  I was an avid movie fan, but my mind was blank.  All I could think of is “Well Mr. Kolcun you found me.”...38 years after the fact.and sadly about 6 years after Mr. Kolcun’s demise.  This was spooky I didn’t even want to think about it.   (I later obtained a copy of the magazine and sure enough, the letter was there – I don’t even remember writing it.)

    HOW SERIOUS WAS I?  I have shared the fact that I wanted to be a writer and was advised to write about something I enjoyed.  Movies and Maureen were my beginning.  When I became very involved in the Maureen O’Hara project, to pursue my interest, I added a few things to my life – things like:
     

  • Two-hundred plus dollar phone bills (I have always gained my greatest successes in research my picking up the phone and talking my way in)
  • June Parker Beck updated 6-1-2001

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