It turns out Indiana Jones wasn’t the first Hollywood hero to be named after his dog…
I’m working my way through William Patterson, Jr.’s highly interesting biography Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Volume 1 (1907-1948): Learning Curve. The month before Heinlein graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1929 a trainload of Hollywood moviemakers, actors and extras traveled to Annapolis and filmed the movie Salute on campus. Heinlein wasn’t involved in the movie, but he’s the reason why an article about this production caught my eye.
The hook in the LA Times story is that Salute was one of the earliest movie appearances of former USC football player Marion Morrison, an actor who adopted more than one professional name before he achieved fame:
Morrison, whose real name was Marion Morrison, played on the 1925 undefeated USC freshman team. He was also on the 1926 varsity team but a shoulder injury — sustained while bodysurfing off Newport Beach’s Balboa Peninsula — and a Fox Studios job offer ended his football career.
At Fox, Morrison, a prop man, found work as a football-playing extra in the movies “Brown of Harvard (1926), “The Dropkick” (1927), Columbia’s “Maker of Men” (1931) and the previously mentioned Fox “Salute” (1929).
Along the way, Morrison changed his professional name to Duke Morrison — Duke being the name of a childhood dog.
In 1930, Fox Studios officials changed Morrison’s professional name to John Wayne.