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Thursday, 23 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 #94 – 23 July 1901

Former rodeo performer and actor Hank Worden was born on 23 July, 1901.  He was a qualified engineer and tried to enlist as a US army pilot, but failed the test.  So, as an expert horseman, he turned to the rodeo circuit.  On the circuit he befriended Tex Ritter and, (as these are brief posts), they drifted into acting.

Ritter became a big western movie star and singer and he gave Worden the opportunity to appear in some of his films.  One thing led to another and Worden joined director John Ford’s stock company.

Amongst others, he appeared, sometimes uncredited, in John Wayne westerns including Stagecoach, Fort Apache, Red River, The Alamo, McLintock!, True Grit and, of course, The Searchers in which he played his most memorable role, Mose Harper, a simple man who longed for a rocking chair by the fire.

He guest-starred in many television shows, mainly westerns.  His last screen role was in the 1990/91 cult show Twin Peaks where he played a waiter.

For western nuts like me, it is always a delight when Worden pops up in a film or TV show.  His lean physique and bald head made him one of the most distinctive supporting actors.

Hank Worden died at 91 on 6 December, 1992.

Hank Worden and Jeffrey Hunter in The Searchers

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