First I shared with you Pilar Wayne’s recipe for Salmon Mousse (Why John Wayne walked funny), taken from her book Pilar Wayne’s Favorite and Fabulous Recipes, which I found in the laundry room of my apartment complex. Now, from that same book, I share with you (verbatim, exactly as it appears in the book) Pilar’s account of how The Duke proposed to her:
In 1954 Duke was filming a movie called “The Sea Chase” with gorgeous Lana Turner in Kona, Hawaii and John Ford was filming “Mr. Roberts” with Henry Fonda and Jack Lemon in Honolulu. Although there was a distance between the two locations they always found a way to get together, either in Kona on the big island of Hawaii or in Honolulu.
One morning just at the very end of the filming, the telephone rang, it was Duke’s lawyer, Mr. Frank Belcher, to tell Duke that his divorce from his second wife had become final after a long and unpleasant court trial.
Duke ran into my room saying, “I’m free, I’m free, please marry me today.”
Mary St. John, who happened to be with me at the time said “great, but we have to find her a dress.” Duke came over to me and grabbed me and kissed me and said “Mrs. Wayne, you better look gorgeous tonight, and don’t you forget it. You girls worry about the dress I’ll take care of everything else. We’re going to get married at sunset to the music of the ‘Hawaiian Wedding Song’ and tonight we’ll fly to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel for our Honeymoon.”
Mary and I dashed out of the house in search of a Wedding Dress. It was November First and I was in seventh heaven. I felt like the whole thing was a dream and I did not want to wake up. We found a lovely soft silk organza dress, and on the way home I picked some wildflowers for my hair.
The custom there was the groom cannot see the bride until the ceremony, so I waited in my room and could hear everybody having a great deal of fun. I thought sunset was going to take an eternity that night. I could hear everyone as they gathered by the ocean, and only a big wave could quiet the laughter and talk of the people there. I also wondered who they could all be.
Finally, I heard this small knock at the door, it was John Farrow, the Director of “Sea Chase,” who was going to give the bride away. John said to me, “are you ready?” I said “Oh John, I am so nervous I will probably fall right into the water, so please keep and eye on me, for I have never been happier. I love Duke so much.” He said, “Don’t worry, I’ll watch for you every second, and I know that Duke loves you very much too.” Then out we went, me holding on to his arm for deal life. I looked straight ahead through all of those people and saw Duke looking at me with a faint smile. All my fears disappeared and from then on everything went smoothly and easily. …
The ceremony was breathtaking, we exchanged our vows just as the sun was setting. There were hues of pink, red, and lavender when we were pronounced man and wife.
The Hawaiians mixed beautifully with the cast and crew from the “Sea Chase” and danced their typical dances and played various instruments till dark.
We cut the Wedding Cake (this one recipe I did not pay much attention to.) We changed our clothes and left Kona on our way to still another small reception at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu.
As I am writing this book I can not help but think how everything we do is connected with food. I love the expression “Breaking Bread Together,” it means friendship, love, and so many other things. Our whole lives revolve around food, and naturally you eat with the ones you love or like.
–From “Pilar Wayne’s Favorite and Fabulous Recipes,” PAX Publishing Company, 1982
And now, taken from her cookbook, is this picture of Pilar’s Bananas Flambe. (I’ll leave it to you to decide if that’s the spirit of John Wayne, captured on film one last time, arising within the green vapors and looking back at all that percolating deliciousness.)
The people who run it invite you to check out the site where they sell John Wayne collectibles.