When I was a little kid I developed a serious addiction to television. My parents became somewhat concerned about my viewing tendencies, enough so that the most common punishment I received in my younger days was being banned from watching TV with the rest of the family.
Oh, the travails of our younger years.
As it happens, one of the movies I saw during my early, entirely uncritical viewing experience was “The Flying Tigers,” starring John Wayne. A black and white movie showing on a black and white TV. Perfect.
And although it’s another story for another day, I had no idea that John Alison, a real pilot who flirted with the real Flying Tigers would play a role in my own entry to aviation. Not that John Wayne’s Flying Tigers had much to do with real life or the men and women of the actual Flying Tigers.
In any case, one exchange between characters in that movie stuck with me. At least I think it was that movie. It’s been decades since I’ve seen it, so I could be wrong. Memories do have a tendency to fade and rearrange themselves over time. The conversation I remember had to do with boots. Specifically, cowboy boots.
As I recall it The Duke chastised one of his pilots for wearing cowboy boots in the cockpit. Wayne’s character perceived them as a poor choice for a pilot. His subordinate wore them anyway, with predictably mortal results.[Read more…]