As Martin Scorsese ramps up production for his movie of David Grann’s book, Killers of the Flower Moon, concerning the tragic murders of members of the Osage tribe in and around my home town of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, I thought Mr. Scorsese might appreciate a little movie making advice. Here is some information he may find helpful.
Ten years before Pawhuska’s favorite son, Ben (Son) Johnson, Jr., won an Academy Award for his role as pool hall/movie theatre owner Sam the Lion in The Last Picture Show I sold him a Stetson hat. Son, I called him Mr. Johnson, was home for a visit in Pawhuska, Oklahoma in 1960 and I was working Saturdays at Hub Clothiers Men’s Store on Kihekah Avenue. Son had just that year had a gun fight with Marlon Brando in One-Eyed Jacks. I am not suggesting I deserve any credit for Son’s later success but I am pretty sure the hat he wore in The Last Picture Show was the one I sold him; it looked about right for wear and tear.
In addition to that association with stardom I would like to point out that one summer during Vacation Bible School my Sunday School teacher at the First Christian Church, Violet Willis, had our class film a re-enactment of the Christmas story. It was in July and we threw up a manger of blankets and black jack posts on the banks of Sand Creek near the falls in Osage Hills State Park. I played a shepherd. Now I know there aren’t too many sheep in Osage County but I thought my portrayal was still pretty authentic. And it may be of note to Mr. Scorsese as he directs his new movie about Osage County that Violet both lived and worked at the Osage Agency and was herself Osage.
My memory is that Violet used an 8-millimeter hand-held Bell & Howell camera and that she cast my friend and classmate, Glenda Van Dyke, as Mary. Glenda was blond haired, blue eyed and ten years old but she pulled off the young Hebrew mother role quite well I thought. I wish Glenda was available for a casting by Mr. Scorsese now.
Another person who might merit consideration is my big sister, Janie. Much as Lana Turner was discovered at the soda fountain of the Top Hat Café on Sunset Boulevard in Burbank, California, Janie used to work at the soda fountain of Mom and Pop Curry’s snack shop next to the Kihekah (now the Constantine) Theatre in Pawhuska. Janie might be of more utility behind the camera as she is good at giving directions.
And although I do not wish to accentuate my own resumé, I think in fairness to Mr. Scorsese I should mention that I did have a role in my high school’s junior play. Further, I am generally available except when Peg has me doing some chore around JPeg Osage Ranch.