We need another hero

Killing off the great before their time         13 June 2006

We all grew up with idols and some of mine who include Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Steve McQueen, Barry Cable, Graham Farmer, J.J. Miller, Bart Cummings, Tobin Bronze, Clive James and the character, Felix Unger, have turned out to have clay feet.

So we don’t need our heroes killed off for no reason when attrition takes care of some of them after their moments of glory.

Last week, two of my heroes were ‘killed’ but to paraphrase the famous Mark Twain riposte when confronted with reports of his own demise: ‘News of their death was greatly exaggerated’ or in this case totally misguided.

First we had a regular feature of this site, Mark McGowan, declaring Alan Ladd was dead at the end of Shane.


Mark couldn’t help himself after his leader – the movie buff Alan Carpenter – gave a long speech of praise about Geraldton MLA Shane Hill, comparing him to Ladd’s heroic and laconic character in the George Stevens’ film, Shane (1953).

The Minister for Telling Tales rose to his feet in response to a question on Sunday trading for liquor stores and prefaced his answer with: I inform members that, of course, when Shane rode off into the sunset in the movie, he was dead at that point!

Not my recollection Mark. I recall Brandon de Wilde crying out ‘Shane! Shane!as Ladd disappeared into the distance.

Then Tale Teller got into real stride and covered his portfolio with his usual smarmy style.

Backed into a corner as to why the Health Department would pursue legal charges against a Subiaco couple running a wine shop selling cleanskins in what appears direct opposition to soon-to-be legal liquor reforms that he is championing, McGowan took a form of the Nuremberg defence: I was taking orders from the Oberst.

The member who asked the question is a new member of the house, therefore I will overlook his ignorance. Perhaps the member should address his question to the minister who has responsibility for the actions of the health department.

Hansard May 31

Oh, it wasn’t me, it was him. Tough stuff Minister.

Then a football commentator killed off Steve McQueen during West Coast’s fight back against Carlton.

Wayne Carey told the audience that The West Australian had put a picture of Daniel Kerr on a motorbike and called the Eagles win in similar circumstances against Geelong, ‘The Great Escape’.


One of his co-commentators – and apologies for not being able to track him down yet – said Steve McQueen was killed in that film and who would West Coast conjure up to help them escape this time.

McQueen’s Captain Hilts (aka The Cooler King) was recaptured but still alive at the end of The Great Escape (1963).

My God, Alan Ladd and Steve McQueen in less than a week. It’s hard work being a hero, even more than 40 years on.

Unless you die young like James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison, you’re never safe in posterity.

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