In 1926 there was a seldom used lineman on the football team at USC named Marion Morrison who went by his nickname "Duke". He had his eyes on bigger things than football and to make some extra money he took odd jobs at the film studios around campus. At first he was manual labor, then gradually he was given some bit parts due to his size and good looks. Eventually, he saw a bigger future in Hollywood than on the gridiron and he dove all in to the film industry... the world would never be the same as a result. Studio executives loved the nickname "Duke" but that was it. A name change was in order and John Wayne became the biggest movie star in Hollywood history. In the entire world there are estimated to be less than ten original photographs of Wayne in uniform as a college athlete at USC with this being the only vintage 1 example we have handled in person! Originally this contact print from a USC photographer simply had an ink notation "Duke Morrison T. USC" but after he became a film star a typed caption "as John Wayne" was added. The ink on the bottom right corner also appears to be the earliest form of a John Wayne autograph as well! The importance of this image can not be over blown and aside from being the only original we have handled of him in uniform, it is the only known example of this particular photograph known in any form. Not even a reprint of this image exists from our research making this a unique piece of Hollywood history being offered here to the general public for the first time ever!
Designation: Vintage 1
Overall Grade: 8/10