March 15, 2014
March 8, 2014
Glenn Ford (64) was released from Louisiana State Penitentiary on Tuesday 11th March. Wrongly convicted of the
a Shreveport jeweller in 1983, at the
his release Ford had been in custody for 30 years – most of
that time awaiting execution on Death Row.
Glenn Ford was a Hollywood star. In 1958 he topped the
‘Box Office champions’. Ford came to the
police when it was discovered he was keeping leghorn chickens in the
his Beverly Hills mansion. The
police ordered the
removal of the
Louisiana State Penitentiary is a prison farm built next to the
Mississippi River on the
former slave plantations. (Also known as Angola – where the
original slaves originated, the
prison property is bigger than Manhattan.) Inmates pick cotton, grow food crops and keep livestock – except maximum security prisoners including those on Death Row, such as Glenn Ford, who are kept in their 8’ x 10’ cells 23 hours a day.The
temperature in these cells exceeded 125 degrees on 85 days between May and September 2011.
In Superman (1978) Glenn Ford played Clark Kent’s adoptive father, Jonathan. ‘Superman’ is also the
a Texan air conditioning company which recommends servicing your AC system every six months.
prison gates, Glenn Ford said how much he missed seeing his son grow up. Now his baby boy has babies of
his own, he observed. Ford had not been outside his cell block for seven years prior to his release.
Glenn Ford played an escaped convict in The
Convict Lake (1951).
Glenn Ford was incarcerated in Angola when guards shot and killed 29-year-old escapee Tyrone Brown.
Glenn Ford campaigned for Ronald Reagan to become President of the
Ronald Reagan was in the
White House when Glenn Ford was first sent to the
In 1950 Glenn Ford was born in California, where actor Glenn Ford’s actor-friend Ronald Reagan would later become Governor, before going on to become President.
Glenn Ford was born in Quebec in 1916. As a child he moved with his parents to Santa Monica, California.Glenn Ford looked young for his age. Photographs issued at the time of his arrest suggest an overgrown boy with a 1970s-style moustache.
Glenn Ford was boyishly good looking. In westerns and war films alike, his small features affirmed that masculinity need not be brawny or brutish.
Jowly and overweight – he hadn’t been out of
his cell block for seven years, Glenn Ford now resembles a middle-aged lady. With a lightweight beanie stretched over his head (Huck Finn’s Widow Douglas might wear it with her curlers in), when interviewed by WVLA-TV at the
Angola, Ford’s face seemed somehow emasculated.
After a series of
minor strokes Glenn Ford died at his Beverly Hills mansion on 30th August 2006, aged 90.
After almost three decades as a dead man walking, Glenn Ford has come back to life in the outside world.Glenn Ford, ceci n’est pas Glenn Ford (look at the dark skin on his pinkie and you’ll see it immediately).
The not knowing was the worst, you will tell yourself later. But of course you knew all the time. Not as if an airliner can go missing; walk out without telling anyone, then turn up at the police station or pop back home after a name check on the radio.
Beijing International Airport: the
Chinese woman in the
white padded jacket; looks like Julia Roberts. Right now there’s an airline official on the
phone to her – the
phone painted with pink flowers (of
course she knows it’s silly).
Like wind across a wheat field, her face widens into panic, grief, collapse – call it what you will, and anyway it looks strangely like a smile.
As she hears of the disappearance of flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing (239 people on board), what I’ve just done to her – looking, making notes and comparing – is just what padded-white-lady can’t do. She cannot see herself doing what she’s doing. She’s not now going to notice the something that doesn’t square with something else you’d expect it to match. News of loved-one-missing-feared-dead has rendered her existence incomparable, at least for the time being.
Being beyond compare – how exceptional it is, even for a moment.
Until this very moment, padded-white-lady-in-waiting had been hanging around theairport lounge, window-shopping, people-gazing; killing time comparing this with that, him versus her……and look, there he is again.
At KL airport, back where the ill-starred started from, a chic geeky boy wears an Oasis T-shirt featuring a cartoon face-off between Noel and Liam Gallagher. Choosing to wear this T-shirt when he got dressed this morning, geeky boy was sort of saying: they’re a bit like me; I’m a little like them. It’s what he said, metaphorically speaking, outof the corner of his mouth. But now the news fixates him: straight ahead, full face; no scope for anything sideways-on.
Padded-white-lady is condemned to come back to this moment, over and over again. On one such occasion, recalling how she first heard about her lost love, she may also recall the Everly Brothers’ ‘Ebony Eyes’. Thinking about the 24 Chinese artists returning from an exhibition in Malaysia, who are also feared dead, geeky boy may liken this crash to The Day The Music Died. Or perhaps by then there will be a new K-pop song about Flight MH370. And in 12 months’ time surely a sociologist will have analysed the weekly flight paths of Far Eastern professionals, comparing them to early-sixties East Coast suburbanites and their daily commute ‘up state’.