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The Social History of Bourbon


Forbes
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Peggy and I were watching an old John Wayne movie, "The Undefeated", tonight. It is movie we have seen many times. In the movie it has what I consider as one of the all time bourbon related movie quotes:

As they talk they share a drink of bourbon. The Confederate Col. James Landon (Rock Hudson) tells the former Yankee Col. John Henry Thomas (John Wayne) “if I ever have the time I am going to sit down and write the social history of bourbonâ€

I used to think that this would be the perfect title to a book on bourbon. Then last year for Christmas Peggy found me a copy of the book, “The Social History of Bourbonâ€. The author Gerald Carson had already written a book with that title.

After checking the movie came out in 1969 while the book had a copywrite of 1963. My question, is this quote a coincidence of did it come from the title of Mr. Carson’s book?

Any other great movie bourbon related quotes?

Todd

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Well, I don't know, but that is a great question (a tad obscure, but still interesting). If I get a chance, I will try to do some research.

Tim

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I would think there has to be a relationship between the title of the book by Carson and the use of the same expression in the movie. Probably some screenwriter's private joke (i.e., referring also to the prediliction of some movie stars of the time to imbibe). The use of terminology such as "social history" in the later 19th century seems unlikely. Also, bourbon, while known at the time and called by that name, was just a regional American whiskey and did not achieve national, much less iconic, status until much later. So this is (I think) a sophisticated Hollywood in-joke of the time, influenced perhaps also by the "hard-boiled" dialogue style that was in vogue in previous decades and in truth had pretty much played itself out by 1969 with the advent of the new "sensitive"-type movie and stars. IMHO, anyway.

Gary

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