Welcome to the American Revolution II

Welcome to the American Revolution II
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
"We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method..." and warned about what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals and continued with a warning that "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex... The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist... Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."Dwight D. Eisenhower

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Freedom loving Americans "a torch with no flame"

Charlton Heston inspiring to freedom loving Americans

Charlton Heston, Oscar Winning Actor

My Favorites Actor

(Charlton Heston-1923-2008)

“From my cold dead hands…”

Charlton Heston inspiring to freedom loving Americans
a torch with no flame


Charlton Heston

Moses (aka Charlton Heston) has died but He live on in our memory. Charlton, best known for his roles in Julius Cesar, Ben Hur, and the Ten Commandments has died in his Beverly Hills home. During his 62 career, he appeared in over 70 movies, though he is best known for the string of epics near the middle of his career. In 1998, he became the president of the NRA, and post which he relinquished in 2003.

Heroic Actor’s Most Controversial Role Came as Real-Life NRA Chief

Charlton Heston, who divided the Red Sea as Hollywood’s Moses and divided America as leader of the National Rifle Association, died at age 84 on Saturday night at his Beverly Hills, Calif., home after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

His wife said the first thing they had to do once he expired was to pry the shotgun from his cold, dead hands.

The accliamed actor, who was born, John Charlton Carter in Evanston, Ill., became known as much for his politics as his acting in his final decades in public life.

A towering figure in Hollywood, Heston defined his show business career portraying iconic and heroic figures, painting masterpieces as Michelangelo, racing chariots in “Ben-Hur” and defending the last vestiges of humanity in “Planet of the Apes.”

Offscreen, Heston was as fiercely outspoken as many of his characters. In the 1960s, he was a civil rights activist, marching alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Later in life, he saw gun advocacy as a natural extension of civil liberties defiantly hoisting a rifle in the air at NRA rallies and vowing that his opponents would have to pry it away “from my cold dead hands.”

In August 2002, Heston announced publicly, with the same bravery that defined his life, that he had a neurological disorder consistent with Alzheimer’s disease.

“For an actor, there is no greater loss than the loss of his audience. I can part the Red Sea, but I can’t part with you, which is why I won’t exclude you from this stage in my life,” he said.

King of the Epics

With his broad, 6’3″ physique, steely blue eyes and rich voice, Heston was not destined to play the common man. His movie career took off in 1952 when he starred as a circus manager in “The Greatest Show on Earth,” and catapulted to the upper reaches of stardom four years later, when he delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage in the Cecil B. DeMille classic “The Ten Commandments.”

Through the late 1950s to the late 1960s, Heston hit his zenith, winning a best actor Oscar in the title role of “Ben-Hur” and delivering perhaps his finest performance opposite Sophia Loren in Anthony Mann’s epic “El Cid,” about the 11th century Spanish soldier who defends his homeland against the Moors.

In 1965, Heston came to movie theaters as both Michelangelo in “The Agony and the Ecstasy” and John the Baptist in “The Greatest Story Ever Told.”

Still, it would be a mistake to say that the actor was typecast. He worked in a number of westerns and science fiction films, such as “Soylent Green” and “Planet of the Apes.”

Even before it was fashionable for celebrities to speak out, Heston asserted himself, serving as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1965 to 1971, and later, as a member of the National Endowment for the Arts and president of the Los Angeles Music Center.

In the 1960s, he was not only marching with King, but also visiting troops fighting in Vietnam. His service in the civil rights movement was honored when he was asked to appear as a narrator in the 1970 documentary “King: A Filmed Record … Montgomery to Memphis.”

“That guy Heston has to watch it,” singer Frank Sinatra said, after Heston won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1977. “If he’s not careful, he’ll get actors a good name.”

In 1980, when fellow actor Ronald Reagan was elected president, Heston served on Reagan’s Task Force on the Arts and Humanities.

Later in life, as a leader of the NRA, he came under attack for his outspoken politics, and, on a few occasions, had trouble maintaining the composure that served him so well on movie sets.

In a 1998 interview with The Sunday Telegraph of London, he broadly attacked the “fringe propaganda of the homosexual coalition; the feminists who preach that it is the divine duty for women to hate men, blacks who raise a militant fist with one hand while they seek preference with another, and New Age apologists for juvenile crime.”

Later on, after hearing unkind public remarks from George Clooney, the nephew of singer Rosemary Clooney, Heston fought back. “It’s funny how class can skip a generation, isn’t it?”

Still, his life’s work on-screen and off-screen left him with supporters who looked beyond the politics and saw a man deeply driven by his beliefs.

“Chuck has done so much for the cultural life of the country and for our town of Los Angeles,” actor Gregory Peck told ABC Radio in an interview in the late 1990s.

Many in Hollywood came to his defense after Michael Moore’s anti-gun documentary, “Bowling for Columbine,” in which the filmmaker looped a clip of Heston at an NRA rally holding up a rifle and declaring, “From my cold, dead hands.”

In the film, Moore hounds Heston for an interview and Heston eventually invites him into his home for a filmed chat, in which Moore confronts him, some say unfairly, about youths killed in gun-related violence.

The interview occurred before Heston publicly announced his struggle with Alzheimer’s, but the movie was released afterward, leading some to say Moore should have cut the ambush interview, which made Heston look vague and confused.

In 2003, Heston won the next of his impressive trophies, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Born Oct. 4, 1923, in Evanston, Ill., Charlton Carter was the son of a mill operator and a homemaker. His parents divorced when he was young and he adopted the last name of his stepfather, Chet Heston.

The family eventually relocated to rural St. Helens, Mich., where the closest theater was 25 miles away.

“All kids play pretend games,” Heston said. “And because of the isolated nature of my boyhood, I went on doing it longer than most kids.”

In high school, he started acting, earning a scholarship to Northwestern University in Chicago, where he studied drama alongside Tony Randall and Patricia Neal.

Struggling as a cash-strapped undergrad, Heston would later recall jumping the turnstile on the Chicago El and posing nude for art students for extra money. While still in school, he met Lydia Marie Clarke. They married in 1944.

During World War II, Heston served a three-year stint in the Air Force, mostly in the Aleutian Islands, rising to the rank of staff sergeant.

Upon his discharge from the military, he resumed his acting career, heading to New York and making his Broadway debut in 1948 in “Antony and Cleopatra.”

Heston and his wife, who celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2004, have two children, Lydia and Frasier.

With Frasier, a director, Heston established a production company, Agamemnon Films, which has released an animated version of “Ben-Hur” on DVD, and the video “Charlton Heston Presents the Bible.”

In later life, Heston had hip replacement surgery and fought prostate cancer, declaring himself cancer-free in 2001. Throughout it all, he continued to swim, play tennis and advocate for the NRA. In 2003, he stepped down as the organization’s president after serving for five years.

“For now, I’m not changing anything,” he said in a public statement about his illness. “I’ll insist on work when I can; the doctors will insist on rest when I must. If you see a little less spring in my step, if your name fails to leap to my lips, you’ll know why. And if I tell you a funny story for the second time, please laugh anyway.”

He ended his speech, appropriately, with a quote from Shakespeare: “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”

(Charlton Heston-1923-2008)

Oscar winning actor Charlton Heston died in his Beverly Hills home with his family in attendance. In 2002 Heston was diagnosed with symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer's disease.

Heston stunned the entertainment world in August 2002 when he made a poignant and moving videotaped address announcing his illness.

Late in life, Heston's stature as a political firebrand overshadowed his acting. He became demonized by gun-control advocates and liberal Hollywood when he became president of the National Rifle Assn. in 1998.

Heston answered his critics in a now-famous pose that mimicked Moses' parting of the Red Sea. But instead of a rod, Heston raised a flintlock over his head and challenged his detractors to pry the rifle "from my cold, dead hands."

(Charlton Heston in his "from my cold, dead hands" speech)

Heston has a distinguished movie, TV and acting career spanned from the 1950's to 2003 with many roles being larger than life.

A few highlighted films of Heston's career:

One of the first times I remember seeing him in a movie was "The Greatest Show on Earth"
(1952), which was made before I was born, but it was a favorite of my mother, so we watched it every time it played.

Heston played a circus manager Brad Braden engages The Great Sebastian, though this moves his girlfriend Holly from her hard-won center trapeze spot. Holly and Sebastian begin a dangerous one-upmanship duel in the ring, while he pursues her on the ground.

(From left- James Stewart, Buttons the Clown, Cornel Wilde, The Great Sebastian and Charlton Heston as Brad Braden)

That movie won an Academy Award for Best Picture. It also won an Oscar for Best Story.

Heston continued to work steadily throughout his career but I will never forget another movie made before my time, in 1956, where Heston played the part of Moses in "The Ten Commandments."

(Charlton Heston in "The Ten Commandments")

(Charlton Heston as Moses in The Ten Commandments)

Heston also won the Academy Award for best actor in another blockbuster film in 1959, "Ben-Hur," racing four white horses at top speed in one of the cinema's legendary action sequences: the 15-minute chariot race in which his character, a proud and noble Jew, competes against his childhood Roman friend.

(Charlton Heston in "Ben-hur")

His movie, TV and acting appearances are too long to list each and every one, so you can see a list of his acting accomplishments here.

I will end with one of my old favorites as a child, which is "The Planet of the Apes", made in 1968, where an astronaut crew crash lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.

(Charlton Heston in "The Planet of the Apes")

Heston played the leader of that voyage, George Tayor, whom was shot in the neck as the apes captured humans in a hunt, because of that injury he couldn't speak, his communication with the ape scientists was limited to hand signs and then in writing and I don't think anyone that was a child and watching that movie, could forget when he tried to escape and got caught in a net with the apes all pawing at him when he finally found his voice and screamed,
"Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!"

Another memorable scene was the very end of that movie, when Taylor (Heston) finally figured out he wasn't on another planet or another world, but was, indeed, in the future.

(The end of the first segment of the Planet of the Apes series)

A long, distinguished career from a man that gave millions of television viewers and movie watchers a good show and I, for one, will always remember him fondly.

"To his loving friends, colleagues and fans, we appreciate your heartfelt prayers and support. Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life. He was known for his chiseled jaw, broad shoulders and resonating voice, and, of course, for the roles he played. Indeed, he committed himself to every role with passion, and pursued every cause with unmatched enthusiasm and integrity.

We knew him as an adoring husband, a kind and devoted father, and a gentle grandfather, with an infectious sense of humor. He served these far greater roles with tremendous faith, courage and dignity. He loved deeply, and he was deeply loved.

No one could ask for a fuller life than his. No man could have given more to his family, to his profession, and to his country. In his own words, "I have lived such a wonderful life! I've lived enough for two people."

He was an activist for civil rights and fought against racial segregation believing that it advanced the cause of communism.

In his earlier years, Heston was a liberal Democrat, campaigning for Presidential candidates Adlai Stevenson in 1956 and John F. Kennedy in 1960. A civil rights activist, he accompanied Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights march held in Washington, D.C. in 1963, even going so far as to wear a sign that read “All Men Are Created Equal”. Heston later claimed it a point of pride that he helped in the civil rights cause “long before Hollywood found it fashionable”, as he often says in his speeches. Heston had also planned to campaign for Lyndon Johnson, but was unable to do so when filming on Major Dundee went over schedule.

By the 1980s, Charlton Heston became more conservative. He was an opponent of abortion, supported gun rights, opposed affirmative action, and joined the Republican Party as a supporter of Ronald Reagan. He also campaigned for President George HW Bush and President George W. Bush. He also had no time for political correctness, saying:

In an address to students at Harvard Law School entitled Winning the Cultural War, Heston expressed his disdain for political correctness and its chilling effect on free speech, stating “If Americans believed in political correctness, we’d still be King George’s boys - subjects bound to the British crown.”

A Hollywood legend in the mold of John Wayne, Gregory Peck, or Jimmy Stewart.

Charlton Heston receiving Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush at White House ceremony

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