Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Walter Brennan


chaney7
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have read a number of times, on this forum I believe, that Brennan was a bigot and a racist. In fact the term "raging bigot" was used. I can't seem to find any thing to back it up. Maybe it's been glossed over

or perhaps it isn't true?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's definitely true and has been documented by eyewitnesses. Of course you can't believe everything you read on the web, but this is one of those things that is common knowledge and that has been well documented. Really nasty, bigoted old fool. Liked his movies, though!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read that piece Vallo. It's pretty much all that's out there wherever I've looked. His opinion on the riots? OK, it's an opinion. It's a far cry from raging bigot. The Dr. King business comes in a number of versions

(as to what was said and happened) so I can't take that as a solid fact. Doesn't seem to be much there

to condemn the guy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's mentioned in several histories, biographies, etc. Check out this quote, one of many:

 

"Unfortunately the more I learned about Walter Brennan the harder it got for me to truly enjoy his work. He was an unapologetic racist and had true hate in his blood for all minorities. Every time I see one of his movies all I can think of is his hate. He supported Wallace in 1964 and didn't support Nixon because he believed Nixon was too liberal".

 

I can watch the movies and distance myself from the person, but if you do the research you'll find the evidence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Still nothing solid or factual. Where is this stuff written and who wrote it. I've seen nothing on the web that

supports the raging bigot claim. I'm not defending the guy if it's true but I'd like something more than quotes without authors in the air. Anybody out there with the real deal?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the incomplete evidence presented, it looks like Brennan was a racist,

whether a rabid one is another thing. It's not very surprising that a person

raised at the turn of the century, like Brennan, had these feelings. Many

people from that era did. I'm sure there are some books out there that could

give a more detailed accounting of his beliefs.

 

Too bad he couldn't have appeared on the same All in the Family episode

as Sammy Davis, Jr.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Something interesting from the Wikipedia page on Brennan, he was a conservative who had to play a Democrat insulting a Republican once:

 

>Brennan was politically conservative. In 1963 and 1964, Brennan joined fellow actors William Lundigan, Chill Wills, and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., in making appearances on behalf of U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater, the Republican nominee in the campaign against U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.[5] Brennan thereafter supported American Independent Party candidate (and former governor of Alabama) George C. Wallace, Jr., over GOP nominee and former Vice President Richard M. Nixon in the 1968 presidential campaign because he felt Nixon was too liberal. He also supported Ronald W. Reagan for governor of California in 1966.

>

>In one of his films, The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968), Brennan portrayed a Democratic supporter of U.S. President Grover Cleveland. Buddy Ebsen, who played Brennan's son in the film, was depicted as a supporter of Cleveland's 1888 rival, Benjamin Harrison. In the comedy film, Brennan disparaged Ebsen's character as "never too bright for he was a gol-dern Republican". Ironically, both Brennan and Ebsen were outspoken Hollywood Republicans.

 

There is a fairly good probability, although I will not say absolute, that someone who supported George Wallace over Nixon, because "Nixon was too liberal," had racist attitudes.

 

It's disappointing, but I still like him in the roles he played. I try to keep an actors' personal views separate from their acting roles, unless the actor begins using their acting fame to promote their personal agenda on a regular basis.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You sound like maybe you need actual audio of him using the nword against a black extra or giving an extreme opinions on blacks to believe it.

 

I'm not surprised he's racist and I doubt he was the only one. It was a sign of the times. If the studios were ignorant to some of these things, of course some of the actors were bound to be!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I wouldn't expect to see him spouting off on film there's stil no evidence to prove the alligations.(at least on this forum so far). He may have had the "attitude of the times" but why single him out for it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=C.Bogle wrote:}{quote}

> Many people from that era did.

 

Funny, I was just talking about Walt Disney's racism. I spoke about when the gov't became involved in using Hollywood as a tool during WW2. Many of the studios were used for making instructional films, but Disney was taken over & normal production completely shut down. Somehow Walt Disney felt "the Jew's" studios were left alone while his studio was completely taken over.

 

So sometimes the racism is a result of an action, no matter how indirect. And I still love Disney films (made while Disney was alive) despite the man's personal small mindedness.

 

> Too bad he couldn't have appeared on the same All in the Family episode

> as Sammy Davis, Jr.

 

Amazing how revolutionary that series was and that we still refer to it 40 years later. My grandmother was racist and never understood what was offensive about it. Glad that attitude has for the most part died out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know too much about Disney's personal beliefs, but he too was born

when these prejudices were much more commonplace. That doesn't excuse

it, but I think it does help to explain it, at least in part.

 

Brennan being a racist, of whatever type, really doesn't alter my appreciation

of his acting. I still enjoy his grizzled old jaspers, (though those weren't the only

roles he played of course).

 

TV Land is running All in the Family a bit more, probably due to it being the

fortieth anniversary of its premiere. It certainly was rawer and much more topical

than your average TV show of the early 1970s. And it's still pretty funny. If I

recall correctly, Sammy wore one of those big necklace medallions. One hep cat.

Things definitely have changed for the better over the last forty years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

C. Bogle--In his day, Walt Disney was considered to be extremely right-winged. Look at the situation with Tommy Kirk--really his biggest child star--groomed for teenage stardom and beyond. So I supposed you could say Disney was prejudiced against Gay People as well.

 

To get an idea of how extreme Disney was--think back. In the 50's No major studios had problems promoting Rock Hudson or Tab Hunter as big stars and matinee idols. Why then did Disney have to dump Tommy Kirk--really his biggest male star?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

>>In the 50's No major studios had problems promoting Rock Hudson or Tab Hunter as big stars and matinee idols. Why then did Disney have to dump Tommy Kirk--really his biggest male star?

 

Savage Sam (1963), a continuation of the Old Yeller story, gave Tommy a rare dramatic action role, though the storyline strained credibility. But Tommy's next picture, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones (1964) marked at once his high-point of popularity and the beginning of his downfall at Disney. Though he had long tried to keep his sexual orientation a secret, Tommy's increasing lack of self-control in his personal life was making it hard to conceal. The studio, including Walt Disney, was certainly aware that he was gay, but did nothing about it so long as it wasn't threatening to become a public issue.

 

In 1993, Tommy did a now famous interview with Richard Valley for Scarlet Street magazine, in which he discussed his lifestyle, past substance abuse, and the circumstances of his dismissal from Disney. Tom, at age 23, was carrying on an affair with a fifteen-year-old boy he had picked up from a public pool. The boy's mother went to Walt Disney to complain, and Walt decided Tommy had become a liability. His contract was dropped, though the studio did allow him to come back for a Merlin Jones sequel, The Monkey's Uncle (1965), which coincidently was Annette's last Disney film as well.

 

http://www.originalmmc.com/tomkirk.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know the details of Disney's politics, except that he was conservative.

I've been doing a little checking on the Tommy Kirk story. From what I can

glean, Kirk was having a relationship with a 15 year old boy whose mother

complained to Disney, and that led to Kirk's firing. It seems Disney was aware

of Kirk's homosexuality, but was willing to keep him as long as he was bringing

in money, but this "affair" was probably too much for Disney to overlook. That

doesn't mean Disney wasn't homophobic, just that he was more interested in the

bottom line.

 

While I was doing a little net surfing about Disney I came across this concerning

his anti-Semitism from Neal Gabler, who wrote a biography of Disney a few

years ago:

 

"That's one of the questions everybody asks me," Gabler said, " 'Was he an anti-Semite?'

That's out there. My answer to that is, not in the conventional sense that we think of

someone as being an anti-Semite. But he got the reputation because, in the 1940s, he

got himself allied with a group called The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation

of American Ideals, which was an anti-Communist and anti-Semitic organization. And

though Walt himself, in my estimation, was not anti-Semitic, nevertheless, he willingly

allied himself with people who were anti-Semitic, and that reputation stuck. He was

never really able to expunge it throughout his life."

 

I suppose folks will have differing opinions on this matter, and as with much

Hollywood history, there are likely about five different versions for every event.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is the history of Walt Disney in Hollywood--Apparently none of the major studios would give him a tumble. He, indeed, became a major studio into himself. Since nearly all of the majors were Jewish owned and operated, could this have affected his opinion.

 

For sure, the only anti-semitic Film Executive I knew of was Joseph P. Kennedy, the president's father.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suppose it could have. It's hard to forget snubs. Maybe that rankled him to

some degree, though it's hard to tell how much and in what way.

 

Joe Kennedy's anti-Semitism was pretty obvious. All in all, at least on a

personal level, this guy was quite a piece of work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

*To get an idea of how extreme Disney was--think back. In the 50's No major studios had problems promoting Rock Hudson or Tab Hunter as big stars and matinee idols. Why then did Disney have to dump Tommy Kirk--really his biggest male star?*

 

As mentioned here by others, it was only when Kirk's private life had the potential to become public, in a negative way, that he was seen as a liability. Back then the studios routinely had a morality clause in the players' contracts (ever since some highly publicized scandals in the 1920s). Thus the studios were able to terminate an actor/actress' employ when things got out of hand. So Rock and Tab had no problem, since they were apparently more discreet than Kirk. Of course, the studios often squashed unfavorable stories with the press, had police reports removed or never filed, bought offblackmailers, etc. in efforts to keep their star attractions as such.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 years later...
On 4/29/2011 at 3:18 PM, voranis said:

There is a fairly good probability, although I will not say absolute, that someone who supported George Wallace over Nixon, because "Nixon was too liberal," had racist attitudes.

 

Nixon was nobody's conservative, and he was too liberal for very many. That did/does not translate to racism by any stretch. The fact that he supported Wallace may indicate a racist attitude, or may also have been just a protest vote against Nixon.

 

Other anecdotal evidence may support bigotry in WB, but that election by itself is iffy at best to make that call.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

here is something really funny to lighten up the atmosphere of this thread. I grew up in a 3-bedroom ranch style residential home (like on the wonder years) and right across the street from us was this big 2-story house which the mayor of our city and his family lived in. he was a liberal democrat and my dad did not like the guy so just to irritate him my father stuck right on our front lawn a George Wallace sign.

:lol:

my dad could be a laugh riot.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

© 2022 Turner Classic Movies Inc. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...