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John Wayne mug for the 1951 movie Flying Leathernecks, front side.
John Wayne mug for the 1951 movie Flying Leathernecks, back side.

Flying Leathernecks 1951

Where it all Began…    In 1951 the production company of RKO Radio Pictures approached artist Bob Williams and asked him to produce a prop for their upcoming movie “Flying Leathernecks“.  They brought him the mug he is holding in his left hand and asked if he could use it as a model.  The result was the mug he is holding in his right hand, which was featured prominently in the movie.  This was the first mug Bob Williams at the McFarren Company, created for a John Wayne movie.  It began a tradition that spanned 25 years and included 43 mugs, the first 23, hand painted by Bob.  In the movie, each pilot had their own coffee mug hand painted with their name and squadron emblem.The mugs were so popular, they began to disappear on set.   An emergency phone call was made to Bob for an overnight rush order to complete filming.  In total, there were 200 mugs made for Flying Leathernecks.   Bob used a Wallace China mug for his creation.  They were very heavy, as they were made primarily for restaurants.  They had an interesting beige color that could have slight variations due to the firing process of the ceramic and aging through the years. 

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