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the Men in Black
Sat Aug 5, 2017 10:18am

Nice analogy, Britzen --- all points raised are spot-on. Alas, I haven't found any direct connection between Van Cleef and Cash.

It'd be fun if we could prove Johnny was inspired by Lee's performances in FF$M & GBU when he donned the garb and moniker, "the Man in Black".

Of course, there were many other "Men in Black" in Western Film & TV productions before LVC's characters.

When questioned as to his "MiB" persona, Cash himself most often replied that it was a reminder of the US involvement in Viet Nam -- at least, from 1971 onward, with the release of his song, "The Man in Black", which contains the couplet:

"I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
"Each week we lose a hundred fine young men."

(And yes, there are many other lines in the song claiming other/additional reasons for Cash wearing black. But Viet Nam is the cause he most frequently cited, iirc.)

You mention that Lee sang in some of his films, Britzen -- it's interesting to note that while LVC did attempt to "sing" on "Rye Whiskey" (THE STRANGER AND THE GUNFIGHTER, 1974, aka: BLOOD MONEY), his other vocals were much more in the tradition of Johnny Cash and other "spoken word" stylists. (Some reports suggest Johnny "invented" the vocal stylings he utilized; however, I'm fairly certain one could trace earlier sources for similar singing methods --- but no question, Cash perfected a unique Voice to accompany the melodies on his songs, so he deserves full credit for that, at the very least!)

I'm sure there's lots more than can be said about this pairing --- glad you brought it up, Britzen. ;)


  • Johnny Cash and LVC?Britzen , Fri Aug 4 11:41am
    I'm curious if anyone knows of a connection between Lee Van Cleef and Johnny Cash. Ever since I was in diapers, JC has been an integral part of my life-songs, books, spoken words and even his... more
    • the Men in Black — DCG, Sat Aug 5 10:18am
      • Re: the Men in Blackbritzen, Sat Aug 5 11:35am
        The black outfit was way before LVC hit it big. JC and the Tennessee Two (at the time prior to W.S. Holland joining ranks) happened to all have something black to wear on stage, and it covered dirt... more
        • Hey, B...DCG, Sun Aug 6 12:26am
          ...can't seem to find your email. Want to ask you something... Could you shoot it to me, again? (Click on the highlit "DCG" above, for mine.) Thx! DCG.
          • DCG emailBritzen , Mon Aug 7 4:11pm
            Hey Chief, I clicked on your highlight name to no avail, I'll be older than my Mom before I get anything that. I think I got my email posted in this message, not sure how everything works. Britz
            • Well, we can work out...DCG, Mon Aug 7 5:15pm
              ...what went wrong off-board, but if anyone else needs help: Hover your cursor over anyone's "highlighted" handle in the header above their post(s) -- if the name is *not* highlit, then they didn't... more
          • Which "B"?Britzen , Sun Aug 6 6:06am
            To whom are you addressing? Bob or Britzen?
            • Sorry if I was bein' too...DCG, Sun Aug 6 1:45pm
              ...obtuse, Britzen: I sometimes lapse into shortened/familiarized versions of people's names. I was responding to your post, not bobO's. And I always call him "bobO" --- it's an old handle he used... more
        • Johnny CashBob O, Sat Aug 5 1:25pm
          I was thrilled to meet Johnny Cash. I was working back stage at an old theater in Johnson City, Tennessee. During the summer and fall of 1969, the theater had a country music show on Saturday night.... more
          • Faron YoungBob O, Sat Aug 5 1:32pm
            Faron Young was on a different show. I asked him about Lee Van Cleef and he said is Lee in those Italian Westerns. I said yes. He said he thought that was the same actor who worked with him, Marty... more
            • Re: Faron YoungBritzen , Sat Aug 5 2:12pm
              Yes! Raiders of Old California! JC and Faron Young were best friends, they scattered Young's ashes after his demise on the Cash property, though it was really windy, so "Faron ended up everywhere",... more
              • Badge of Marshall BrennanBob O, Sat Aug 5 3:46pm
                and Raiders of Old California were shot at the same time with virtually the same cast by Albert C. Gannaway. Country star Carl Smith was in Badge and Faron Young was in Radiers. Marty Robbins was in... more
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