About Me….




Hi. My name is John Walker Ross. I blog from Havana, Florida with the intention of saying things you don’t hear every day. Feel free to let me know how I’m doing.


50 thoughts on “About Me….

  1. NJ, I really like your thoughtful posts on Sheila’s blog. Very happy to see that you started your own blog. I did that just 3 month ago, started a German Elvis blog. If you find the time, just check it out and let me know what you think: http://www.memphisflash.de.


    • Thanks for the kind words Patricia. Very cool site (though I wish I read German…Google’s translator leaves something to be desired!) I’ll definitely check in regularly and let you know when I post anything Elvis-centric here.

      Especially love the interview with Whitney, which was entirely new to me.

  2. I stumbled upon Sheila’s blog page one cold afternoon b/c I have an inherent love for Elvis and I am always searching for whatever I can find about him (as if I haven’t already read too many bios and engaged in far too many dialogues on fan forums.

    Elvis notwithstanding, my ultimate goal was to find different blog pages, blog set-ups, blog topics, blog management, etc. I enjoy writing and certain interests and I was considering putting it all together so as to have a central location for my thoughts and interests, but also with the idea of engaging and educating others in those same interests.

    Being a fan of political blogs and websites, I can ascertain so much from the manner in which these sites are maintained. Being a fan of a few fan blogs, well, there is much leeway in setting up and maintaining those.

    Honestly, I am not any nearer to setting up a blog page than I was in the winter when I stumbled upon Sheila’s. And then there is also the fact that her blog is so well thought out, well organized and has a history, a continual stream of information over a substantial period of time – be it Elvis, her favorite movies, books, or just a personal story to share. Once I was pulled into her page, I certainly couldn’t just ask her “So, I want one like yours. How do I do it?” In fact, most the blogs I follow, I would never dare ask the blogger for any advice, but I am still looking.

    So, that is how I found myself here.

  3. Bethann,

    Based on my early experiences her I can definitely offer you a few basic insights:

    1) Don’t worry about catching Sheila.She’s the Elvis of bloggers. Her picture is probably next to the word “indefatigable” in every modern dictionary. She’s definitley my biggest blogging inspriation, but I realized before I even started that I would have to go at my own pace and head in my own direction. (And remember, even she had to start somewhere!)

    2) Pick some narrowly focused set of subjects. (Not narrow subjects, just narrow focus). Elvis sounds like a great subject for you but in any case something you’re consistently interested in. I mean I want to write about a lot of other subjects besides popular music (movies, sports, politics, history) but having a set of parameters really helps me get my mind around what I’m doing. If I can add that other stuff later, then that’s great, but for now, it’s fun to just do what I can do.

    3) Jump in and learn as you go. I spent seven years thinking it over, hoping somehow all the necessary tech-knowledge and some brilliant organizing idea would somehow magically implant itself in my brain. Never happened. I finally just decided to start with something really personal to let people know something about where I was coming from and go from there (all relating to my main subject of course!) I’m still adding bits of how-to knowledge day by day (just learned to track my site’s traffic two weeks ago…exciting stuff!)

    4) Know that following step two makes step three a whole lot easier.

    I’m stil a babe in the proverbial woods, but please feel free to ask me any questions you have. If I know the answer I’ll tell you. If I don’t know the answer I’ll freely admit it…I like keeping it simple!

  4. Your writing is exceptional. I hope you don’t mind, I’ve added your blog to my “links” page at directedbyjohnford.com.
    april lane

  5. “Johnny”—just for fun I’m going to make a stab at the movie still in your header….is it Susan Hayward?

  6. Very nice essay on Look. And Archuletta did indeed have a lovely voice, I’ve always been struck by it and thought it must belong to a lovely person.

  7. Thanks for your kind words Tom…Please keep checking back. I’m going to resume my series on The Searchers within the next couple of weeks, starting with the Edwards children (fingers crossed!)

  8. Thanks, NSJ, for the shout-out about my novel, The Dead Circus. Didn’t like the sex scenes? Well, okay, but that’s a first. Keep reading. JK

  9. John, It’s great to hear from you….I have to say I was picking a nit. Just a pet peeve of mine. No matter who writes them or how germane they are to the plot, I always come away thinking all sex scenes are a modern version of bodice-rippping. Still thought it was a wonderful, wonderful novel (just finished it last night)–had at least a dozen scenes I really wish I had written and believe me that’s not something I say often about a novel written in the last, oh, fifty years…I’m gonna get hold of Stars Screaming soon!

    • John,
      Facing criticism is an occupational hazzard, and I’ve learned that its fair for a reader to get a vote. But once again, thanks for the kind words. BTW: Greil has been responsible for getting a lot of people to pick up my novels, so I’m grateful that you found the link.


  10. Hey John, I really appreciate your response…I’ll be happy to send you a link if/when I write a more in-depth piece (I’ve learned not to promise, but I’ll almost certainly do more–too much good stuff in there to leave it alone)…In any case, best of luck with your future endeavors. I’ll definitely be a follower from now on.

  11. I’m tired, so this is going to be short, but needs to be said: just found your piece on Beulah Archuletta while researching wether she’s Native American … because I’m writing a book on women in Westerns and felt compelled to write a big chunk about Wild Goose Flying In The Night Sky as I reverently choose to call her. So that’s my credentials and what I need to express is how awed and happy I am about your piece on her. I totally agree (so glad I finished my piece before I found yours) and I never laughed at but always loved her dearly, and now discovered in one of your stills an Indian Version of the Law and Order League in the background. There’s no end to the bliss science and art provide…

  12. HI Ann…Thanks for much for visiting and commenting. I’m always glad to hear from another “Look” fan! Please keep me posted on the progress of your book. I have a special interest in women in westerns and there isn’t nearly enough scholarship out there regarding their importance. I have a saying that there are no really great westerns (and few good ones) that don’t have a t least on great female role.

    • Mr. Ross,

      I’m constantly amazed when I stumble upon deeply insightful writing in less traveled corners of the web. Your entry about the character Look in John Ford’s The Searchers was extraordinary. I haven’t found anything that even comes close to rivaling it. You have done this actress and the character she played a great service. I believe there are many Looks around us, and having learned from your writing and commentary, I will never treat them the same again – whether overtly, or by mentally forming an opinion and judging them. Perhaps we all carry qualities of Look inside. Every last one of us. Well done sir, well done.

      • Many thanks Howard. I’m pretty proud of that piece because I think both Ford and “Look” have been deeply misunderstood and if I’ve shone a little light on her for others it makes what I do here worthwhile!

    • ah, I certainly agree with that saying of yours … but one has to include very small roles like that of Rada Rassimov in Il Buono, Il Brutto, E Il Cattivo. Meaning I consider that a great Western, with almost no women, but the few we do see are well characterized. You see them for only a short time, but if you look carefully, you can deeply understand every one of them. And you know exactly why Maria gave Bill away even though she is anything but the worthless slut superficial consumers are apt to see in her.

      But I’ll take your saying one step further, because I have a motto that says an artist of any kind that can’t see women as humans isn’t worth a nickel. No matter when, or where, as an artist, you are supposed see beyond the fashions of times, beneath the surface of gender or race, and find the underlying truth.

      My book, though, is written in German because I only found a German editor. Admittedly I didn’t search very hard elsewhere, because I am German and live here as well. I would dearly love to translate it, though, and have it hit worldwide. Because, something rarely the case with me, I am quite taken with my work on this. Also, I have studied film in Germany and the Netherlands and have been doing research for almost two decades before I even started. So I do consider myself as having some insight into the subject.
      Now I am almost finished. Currently finishing the chapter on historic legends (Calamity, Belle Starr, and Annie Oakley after a few thoughts on Zee James and Libby Custer). After that will remain just the Adventuresses, Gunslingers, the Outlaws and last but strong: the bad women. That may seem a lot still to do, but compared to what’s written already it’s just the tail-end.
      The first chapters were about schoolmarms (with an extensive look on The Virginian, and a comparison of all the movies, and the novel), working girls, relatives, farmers, ranchers, cattle-queens, pioneers, saloon-girls, gamblers, bosses, non WASPs, … that’s it. It will be quite a fat book, and contains pieces of various lengths on 350 movies.
      It’s also funny in parts, in others poetic, and … well I better stop, because it’s too obvious how deeply I’m in love with this baby, so you won’t believe me anyway. And I can bragg all I want without you being able to check on it, unless you know German. Still, all my test-readers agree with me.
      Back to Stanwyck now!

      It certainly was nice hearing from you!

      • Hi Ann, it’s great to hear from you and I’m happy things are progressing well. I agree with the points you make (perhaps no surprise!) and that it’s a bottomless subject which needs the kind of care and research you are evidently giving it. Disappointed I can’t read German, but keep me apprised of the progress….I, too, hope you get that translation and that worldwide hit!

  13. Loved your piece on Joel McCrea and hope for more discussions of Ford, Ford, Ford. 🙂

    I have been without TCM for months and my DVDs are in mothballs as I am in-between-domiciles. I feel so flotsam-jetsam without my classic “fixes”. I have to content myself with YouTube videos, mostly of series like “Gunsmoke” because it’s too pitiful to watch feature length movies on a laptop.

    I just wanted to pop in and say “hello” and thanks for the enlightening (and often amusing) postings.

    Digression: Funny how things (as ephemeral as “popularity” or the even less substantive “critical appreciation”) go up and down: a couple of years ago both John Wayne and John Ford enjoyed a slight wave of rediscovery and popularity, mostly due to new biographies on Wayne and the auction of his “life” by his heirs—but in today’s polemicized climate? I don’t know. I think they’d both be swatted with the giant bat labeled “racist pig”. 🙁

    • Hi April. Thanks for checking in as I always look forward to hearing from you…Yes, I definitely need to get back to writing about Ford. It’s funny that, as you say, he would probably be toxic right now, because we need him more than ever. It is ever thus (as I’m sure he would have understood).

      Hope you’ll be able to get settled soon. I’ve been through a few periods like that myself so I know the frustrations.

      And I still miss your site!

  14. Hi John. I would love to know more about the image/art piece that features Michelle Philips. Re – UPPITY WOMAN SLAPPED DOWN…L.A. STYLE…(Found In the Connection: Rattling Loose End #40)
    Can one buy a print? What is it? Who produced it? I love it.
    Confused. Kent. England

  15. John–I hope this finds you. I have begun research on a book about the Jewish influence/participation in rock ‘n roll. I’ve gottten to George Goldner and find him absolutely fascinating. I am also a big fan of Mary Weiss and the Shangri-Las. I tried contacting her on FB, but haven’t heard back. I was wondering if you had any more anecodotal stories of the band, Mary and George. I’ve also started a couple petitions to get the Shangri-Las into the RnR HOF. I can’t understand why they aren’t in yet.

    Thanks in advance,


    • Hi Barry. Sorry I’ve been a little slow responding. I’ve been looking for a way to help! My blog friend Chris has had some luck contacting Mary’s manager, Ed Ryan, at the email address at MaryWeiss.com which is


      On my end, you’re certainly welcome to any research I’ve collected or thoughts I’ve expressed on this blog, which contains pretty much everything I know (or THINK I know) about the Shangri-Las under the category SHANGRI-LAS FOREVER on the right side of my home page. (You may have already perused this, but, if not, I encourage you to do so.) If you want to use anything I’ve said, feel free (just make sure it’s something I said, not something I quoted from another source!), just please give attribution as I do appreciate anything that drives traffic to the site.

      I’ve also had some thoughts about George Goldner, which you can find by putting his name in the search engine on my home page (complicated man, to say the least, but certainly a genius record man.) Since you’re researching Jews in the record industry, once you’ve got to George Goldner, you’ll soon be getting to Morris Levy if you haven’t already. I’ve had some thoughts on Morris, too, so you might want to plug him into the search engine as well.

      If there’s anything else I can do to help please let me know. And if you find out whether Mary, or any of the Shangri-Las, are actually Jewish, I’d definitely like to know. Like a lot of things about the Shangs, that seems to be a bit of a mystery. (I find the common assumption that they are Jewish, absent any real evidence one way or the other, fascinating in its own right–might make an interesting angle for your writing, whether they are nor not.)

      And FYI: There is one long post on my site, called Mary Weiss Remembers, which is a transcript of an interview she gave to Norton Records when she released her solo album in 2007. That interview is copyrighted by Norton, so anything you use from that needs to be credited to them (and if you’re going to publish, will probably need to be cleared with them). As I stated in the post, I only re-created it because it is no longer available on Norton’s website and it’s such an important interview I thought it should be available somewhere.

      Finally, if you want to interview me about my Shangs obsession, or any of the rest of this stuff, just send me your questions. Glad to discuss THIS subject any time.

      Best of luck!

      John R.

    • No news about where your petitions are located, Barry? Or, Heaven forbid, a thank-you to John for his detailed reply to your question?

      (I guess you’ll zap this if you don’t want it here, John, and fair enough…I couldn’t help but to say something, I guess!)

  16. John, if you’re the individual writing about the Kent State shootings, I sincerely thank you. I know a Holocaust survivor from Cleveland who was friends with Martin Scheuer. I am writing about Sandy Scheuer. Do you believe she was targeted by a Guardsman or do you think was killed by a stray shot? I don’t understand why she didn’t stay with Sharon Swanson and hide behind the red sports car. You can write to me at my email address.

    • Hi Mike. Yes, anything written directly for this site is by me…I think the links to others are clearly marked and by my stats I assume you’ve been reading them.

      I don’t have much in the way of first hand information but I’m happy to share all I know/remember from research and visits to Kent State. I don’t see your email address attached to anything here so feel free to email me at


      I very much look forward to hearing from you!

  17. My favourite movie, my favorite characters- and you’ve nailed ’em all ! Excellent.
    Haw, haw…………………………haw.

  18. I

    I also JUST watched Family Band: The Cowsills Story and I gotta be honest…
    I am pretty much heartbroken. I mean, I am old enough (and also come from a pretty dysfunctional family) to know the true pain of having parents who were totally unprepared to be parents… but, it still pisses me off when I learn of the devastation it has done to perfectly innocent and beautiful children.

    Having said that, I am now curiously searching the Internet to find out more about these charming humans… and have stumbled upon your writings!

    Having said THAT!!! I have only just begun clicking around… and I read what you wrote about Miley Cyrus on SNL and I am sitting here laughing, like an idiot, by myself! ‘haven’t watched SNL in a LONG time but I am going to listen to her performance because, for some reason, I trust you. ; )

    Anyway, I just wanted to say, Hi… and let you know that I am now a new Fan!

    Kindest Regards,
    Mary Elizabeth

    • Mary Elizabeth…welcome! I’m especially delighted you found me through the Cowsills. I was always a fan but developed a much deeper appreciation after I found the documentary about their lives. One of my persistent themes here is artists who almost made it, or “made” it for a short time and then had greater success snatched away by circumstances beyond their control (one reason I’ve written so much about the Shangri-Las) or artists who did make it really big and have been swept under the rug (see Brenda Lee!).

      One thing worth knowing about me and my site is that I welcome debate and disagreement as long as it’s civil…Say what you feel and comment on anything you like. It will always come to the top!


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