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Saturday, 18 July 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping (40 years in retailing), the golden age of Hollywood (including westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. I wrote a book on retailing, on dealing with job losses and a biography of Stephen Boyd.

This is a series of very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #89 – 18 July 1902

Actor and singer, Theodore Childress “Chill” Wills was born on 18 July, 1902.

He was lead singer in the Avalon Boys Quartet in the 1930s.  The group appeared in the Laurel and Hardy classic film Way Out West (1937). Wills provided Stan Laurel’s deep voice on The Trail of the Lonesome Pine song.

He was a very familiar supporting actor in many a western on big and small screen.   He appeared in Giant (1956) alongside Rock Hudson, Elizabeth and James Dean.

He was the voice of Francis, the talking mule in several films.

He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for The Alamo (1960) but it was reported that he ran an aggressive, some say blatant and embarrassing, campaign to ensure he won.  His efforts failed and the Oscar went to Peter Ustinov for his role in Spartacus. 

He has a star on the Hollywood Blvd Walk of Fame.

Sources: Various.

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