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Leaves Of Grass, A Fistful Of Dollars & Do You Feel Lucky, Punk??

June 5, 2012

I’ve been doing a series of Birthday Clock Caricatures. It’s a chance to experiment with different Photoshop techniques. I include a clock in the drawing, and use it to highlight career milestones of the people involved. When I discovered that American poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892) and tough guy actor Clint Eastwood (b. 1930) shared a May 31st birthday, I knew there was a great caricature idea in there somewhere. I was right– here’s the final:caricatures of American poet Walt Whitman who wrote Leaves of Grass and tough guy movie actor Clint Eastwood who starred as the Man With No Name bounty hunter in Fistful of Dollars and detective Dirty Harry Callahan, both men were born on May 31

Here’s a detail image of Mr. Whitman:caricature detail image of famous American poet Walt Whitman who wrote Leaves of Grass and O Captain! My Captain! about the death of Abraham Lincoln

And a detail of Mr. Eastwood, his laundry, and the clock. Eastwood became a star in the Sergio Leone film A Fistful Of Dollars. He wore a poncho which became an essential part of his western bounty hunter image. I decided to add a couple of clothespins, a sock, and a pair of red polka-dot boxer shorts.caricature detail image of actor Clint Eastwood dressed as his bounty hunter character in the Sergio Leone Italian westerns with his cigar and a shovelful of dollars, cigar smoke forming birthday clock for May 31 with Eastwood and Walt Whitman career milestones

Whitman used free verse in his poetry, giving it a new respectability. He is remembered for one work in particular: Leaves of Grass (1855). He paid for the first edition with his own money. He continued to revise and expand the work until his death. The first edition contained 12 poems. The final edition: almost 400 poems.

The title is actually a wonderful pun: at the time, “grass” was a derogatory term used by publishers for works of little value; “leaves” was just another term for the pages in a book. Mr. Whitman clearly had a sense of humor.

Whitman wrote O Captain! My Captain! (1965) as a tribute to President Abraham Lincoln following Lincoln’s assassination. Interestingly, Whitman used a conventional meter and rhyme scheme for this poem, rather than free verse.

I knew very little about Whitman before researching this post. I got quite a shock when I got to the end of Whitman’s Wikipedia entry and read the following:

Whitman also influenced Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, and was the model
for the character of Dracula. Stoker said in his notes that Dracula represented the quintessential male which, to Stoker, was Whitman, with whom he corresponded until Whitman’s death.

There’s no question that Stoker was a Whitman fan. He visited the poet several times, and the two did correspond until Whitman’s death. Here are two photos of Whitman. Is there a vampire lurking in there? Hm. I think I’d take that theory with a grain of garlic… : )
two photographs of famous American poet Walt Whitman showing him as an older man with a long white beard

Clint Eastwood trivia: How many people did Clint kill in his first credited film role? Answer: None. He played Jonesy, a sailor, in the comedy Francis In The Navy (1955). Who was Francis? A talking mule. No, I’m not making that up. The human star was Donald O’Connor.

Easy to spot Clint on the left in this still from the movie. Mr. O’Connor is front and center in his shorts. And yes, that’s Martin Milner, of Route 66 and Adam-12 television fame, standing behind O’ still from the 1955 movie Francis In The Navy, one of a series about a talking mule, Clint Eastwood had his first credited role in the film, which also starred Donald O'Connor, Martin Milner, and David Janssen

Eastwood became a television star in Rawhide, a western series about an ongoing cattle drive. It ran for seven and a half seasons (1959-66). He capitalized on this success by recording an album of “cowboy favorites” in 1963. It was distributed by a teen label. It includes Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Mexicali Rose, and Don’t Fence Me In. Have I heard
it? Alas, no…  : )photo of actor Clint Eastwood in his role of Rowdy Yates, a wrangler and cowboy on the old television western series, Rawhide; also record album cover for the album of cowboy songs that Eastwood recorded during time he was starring in Rawhide

In late 1963, during a break shooting Rawhide, Eastwood agreed to star in A Fistful Of Dollars for Italian director Sergio Leone. He played a bounty hunter, the now iconic cigar-smoking Man With No Name. He shot many of the same Italian actor bad guys in two sequels, including the famous The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. An interesting bit of trivia about his character: the cigar was director Leone’s idea; Eastwood is a non-smoker.

Eastwood is also famous for playing trigger-happy San Francisco police inspector Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry (1971) and four sequels. In the original film, Harry dares bad guys to reach for a gun, asking them if they “feel lucky.” In the fourth film, he issues a similar challenge, using the more famous line: “Go ahead, make my day.”

Below left: Eastwood as the nameless bounty hunter in Fistful Of Dollars; right: as Dirty Harry.

photos of actor Clint Eastwood in his movie roles of the nameless bounty hunter in Fistful of Dollars and other Sergio Leone westerns, and as the tough San Francisco detective and police inspector Lieutenant Dirty Harry Callahan who was famous for saying Do you feel lucky? and Make my day

What do you think? Can you see “Count” Whitman skulking around in a black cape, biting people on the neck? Do you think Clint should have worn that cute little sailor hat in his Italian westerns? Hope you’ll leave a comment.

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

Fred Mertz Meets The Man In Black & The Guy Who Climbed Blueberry Hill

Pass The Popcorn And Embrace Your Inner Child!

Oh, No– Abducted By The Cake People!!

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2012 3:45 PM

    This is my favorite from Clint Eastwood: “Go ahead punk, make my day!”

    And from Whitman: When I was in my primary school around 10 years old, I was my school representative to compete for Recitation/Declamation Contest, and I recited “Oh Captain! My Captain!”… Whew, that was a long poem to memorize! But I brought home the bacon… yiheeyy!

    Another amusing Birthday Clock Caricature. You are really following in Toothsome’s footsteps. Keep up the good work 🙂 hahaha


    • June 5, 2012 8:24 PM

      Wow! That was an excellent Clint Eastwood impression!! The hair stood up on my head when I read it, and my mustache went in every direction!! I think my breathing is just starting to return to normal… whew!

      I’m imagining some poor guy in a dentist chair, with this big drill hovering in front of his face, and he hears this voice say: “Go ahead punk, make my day!” And he just faints dead away, poor devil. I think there’s a movie there. We could call it, Dirty Toothsome… : P

      That was a wonderful story about how you recited O Captain! My Captain! and won first prize. I especially liked how the prize was bacon. Usually in a school competition, you just get a little trophy or a ribbon. But you got a big package of bacon that you could take home and cook and then eat the whole thing yourself. Excellent! Now that’s what I call a prize!! : )

      Thanks for the encouragement: “Go ahead, punk– follow in my footsteps!!” Well, I’ll do my best, but gosh, it’s not easy following The Master… : P


      • June 12, 2012 1:45 AM

        LOL Mark! I was hoping when I clicked into the comments that you’d’ve written a response that was going to make me hungry for bacon and sure enough . . . I am now starving for bacon! I knew I could count on you Mark!


  2. Androgoth permalink
    June 5, 2012 7:00 PM

    This is my first visit to your Space my friend
    and i will be calling back again soon, this morning
    I am visiting you from Dolly’s ‘Allaboutlemon’ 🙂

    Have a great day my friend and
    keep up the most excellent work 🙂



    • June 5, 2012 8:32 PM

      Hi Androgoth, and welcome. It’s extremely kind of you to visit, and I’m delighted. Any friend of Dolly’s is certainly a friend of mine.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and I sincerely appreciate your kind words and wishes– it means a lot.

      Wishing you all the best here, and thanks again for stopping by! : )


  3. June 6, 2012 1:55 AM

    Love it! They say the boyfriend looks like Clint Eastwood – sometimes I wonder? Great post, enjoyed the pics too!


    • June 6, 2012 9:44 AM

      Hm. Does the BF walk around in a poncho, squinting, and hissing things like: “Go ahead, ride my bike!”–? Well, yes, then there could be a resemblance… : )

      Glad you enjoyed the post, great to see you here, thanks so much for pedaling over!


  4. June 8, 2012 7:33 PM

    I happen to think this illustration would make a great animated piece. Maybe Eastwood could be chasing Whitman around with a garlic gun.

    Hey, if Abraham Lincoln can be a vampire hunter……


    • June 9, 2012 5:39 PM

      A garlic gun– of course! Clint must have one, probably an onion gun and a pepperoni gun, too– what else would he use to apply his pizza toppings??

      I was a bit shocked at your implying that Honest Abe was a vampire hunter, so I googled a bit, and sure enough, you were right. I really had no idea. Why this wasn’t covered in my American History class in high school, I can’t begin to fathom. What’s a Lincoln Log but a wooden stake that hasn’t been sharpened?? It all seems so obvious now… : P

      Your visits are always informative– many thanks!! : )


  5. June 9, 2012 2:13 PM

    Very clever, Mark … a pair of gardeners: Walt raking up the leaves (or is that grass?) and Clint planting his money tree. Delightful as always.


    • June 9, 2012 5:46 PM

      Yes, that was supposed to be a pile of marijuana leaves, I’m afraid. A kick in the pants for me for including a drug joke– really.

      Clint planting a money tree– now there’s a delightful interpretation that never occurred to me! He certainly did starting harvesting a heap o’ lettuce after that first spaghetti western. Talk about a cash crop… : P

      Many thanks for saddling up and riding by! : )


  6. June 11, 2012 4:42 AM

    Now I’m not a great fan of Clint’s films though I do appreciate his genius; he’s certainly made his mark (no pun intended) on our lives. Howeverrrrrrrr; whenever there’s a Clint film on the telly (you guessed it) I watch…. Now, what does that mean…!?!
    Thoroughly good read Mark… 😉


    • June 11, 2012 2:35 PM

      Ha! I hear you (despite all that gunfire ringing in my ears). I suffer the same compulsion, though it seems to be restricted to his three Italian westerns. I’ve even watched clips from same on YouTube. There’s Clint. He’s squinting. He’s relighting his quarter-inch cigar. He’s flipping his blanket over his shoulder. He’s shooting all the same bad guys again… Haven’t I seen this before?? Oh, only about five million times or so. What on earth compels me to watch it yet again??? I don’t know the answer, and I don’t wanna know!! It’s all too embarrassing… : P

      Delighted to see you, Carolyn, glad you enjoyed the post, and many thanks for your good-humored support!! : )


  7. June 12, 2012 1:55 AM

    Now if only Clint Eastwood would have played Dracula in a movie wouldn’t this post have gone deliciously full circle (I say deliciously because I’m still thinking about bacon). I learned a lot from this post, I really did. But how fascinating that Dracula was based on Walt Whitman! I wouldn’t have seen that coming in a million years or even a trillion years, probably in a zillion years I might and I’m emphasizing MIGHT have guessed it. I gotta say you really captured Walt’s Dracula essense! And Clint’s too for that matter! I love your clocks! 😀 Great Post Mr. MacGiggles!


    • June 12, 2012 9:21 AM

      Yes… yes, I can see Clint playing Dracula. He’d wear his cape backwards so he could flip it up like a poncho before shooting people and drinking their blood. And if he ran outta cigars, he could always light one of his fangs… : P

      I’m still shaking my head over the idea of Walt Whitman being the model for ol’ Drac: “I vont to reet you PO’et-tree…” Nah– that pan o’ bacon just won’t cook!!

      You are a delightful visitor to my Bat-blog. Come back soon– and bring bacon!!! : )


  8. June 18, 2012 2:33 PM

    I didn’t know about Mr. Whitman until reading your post, Mark, but I do know Clint Eastwood from some of his movies.
    Nice info about Mr. Whitman. It seems like Clint is more suitable to be a Dracula than Mr. Whitman. Look at your cartoon! Clint has killed lots of people! LOL


    • June 19, 2012 7:52 AM

      Thank you very much, Inge! Yes, Clint would make a great vampire. As you pointed out, he’s long been associated with coffins!! : )


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