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Thursday, September 04, 2003

MOVIES: CHESTY PULLER and LOU DIAMOND...by Dick Gaines


I'll repeat a story I've told many times on a Chesty Puller movie.
It was in the late 70s, maybe early 80s, I was watching an afternoon TV talk show--it was likely The Merv Griffin Show, but it could have been The Mike Douglas Show, both of them had afternoon shows about that time.

The guest star that day was Glenn Ford, who sat down and eventually got around to stating that he had just recently finished filming a movie titled "Chesty"! He elaborated that it was on the life of the famous Marine, LtGen Lewis B. Puller USMC (deceased). They discussed Chesty some more, and....

Ford was irritated that for no apparent reason that he could find, that the movie had abuptly been "shelved," as he put it, and he had no idea when and if it would be released. He was told nothing, and could find out nothing. There was further discussion, and at one point it was suggested that Chesty had been a controversial character, and perhaps someone big didn't want it shown--Ford, as I recall, nodded in agreement.

Through the years, I have expected that eventually the movie "Chesty" would end up being released; quite to the contrary I cannot find anyone who will even admit that the movie was ever a fact and/or that the Glenn Ford appearance on afternoon TV ever occurred. One noted Marine Corps historian suggested to me that I had confused the biography of Puller (the one narrated by John Wayne) with the one I am speaking/writing of here. No way!

In regard to Lou Diamond, and a film about him...

It was during my tour at CPNC (1958-59) in SNCO Leadership School, that we were shown a film on the famed Lou Diamond. It was in B&W, short (maybe 30+ minutes) and, at that time, I took it to be a training-like film--many stars made training films for the Army and Navy during WW II, although this one may have been of later vintage. This one starred Ward Bond as Lou Diamond. You old timers can fill the boots in as to who Ward Bond was--any who have seen the old John Wayne movies will remember the Duke's buddy, who made many movies w/him.

This film centered on old Lou and his time at Guadalcanal. It emphasises that he had gone AWOL from a hospital in Australia, and aboard a merchant ship, made his way back to Guadalcanal to rejoin 1st Marine Division. One scene shows Diamond walking through the bush w/ a trail of empty beer bottles scattered in his wake.

I have never seen the above flik on TV or anywhere else. It is listed, however, in Col Rich Hemenez's book--wish I had it handy (my books are packed up) as I do not recall the title of it.

Never can tell, perhaps someone w/knowledge of these things will see this and have some answers.
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R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952-72
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