Photos of readers

UPDATE: I found the episode of The Real McCoys with Barry on DailyMotion, and have put it just below. Barry shows up right at the beginning, as the lad who wants to marry Hassie.


Today’s photograph is from reader Barry McGuire, who has had an interesting life! His notes are indented.

Though I seldom post, I am nevertheless an avid daily reader.  Following is my submission for your reader profile segment. I hope you and readers may find it of interest.  Attached are two photos. Also, I include a link that will flesh things out considerably concerning my life’s events.
He also sent a poem:
This is the life
   That once I led.
All is in the past now.
   A past not totally dead,
Since the memories linger on.
I am spending the Covid lockdown rereading some of my favorite books during this my 91st summer. Perhaps readers can suggest a favorite book of their own that they would recommend. Am always looking to expand my horizons.

And this came without comment: a photo of McGuire dancing with Debbie Reynolds!

Well, after that I had to ask Barry, “what gives with the Debbie Reynolds picture?”, and he responded:

I began my career  in New York in 1952. I was in three Broadway shows, did lots of summer theater and acting in live TV show of the era…Studio One, Robert Montgomery Presents, Kraft Playhouse and others. I later went to Hollywood when live TV shows went to film.

I had the opportunity to work with a great number of the showbiz famous, many of whom are little remembered today except by fans of classic movie channels. The photo of Debbie and me is from the play “Years Ago” by Ruth Gordon.  She was already famous having completed “Singing in the Rain”.

Not long ago in one of your posts you mentioned Walter Brennan. I was in an episode of Real McCoys which is on YouTube. To view, type in its search box “Teenage Wedding Real McCoys”.  Some of my credits appear on


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Great stuff. Now we are meeting the famous people reading this site.

  2. craigp
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    When I saw the name and the mention of “an interesting life” the song “Eve of Destruction” popped into my head. Just a coincidence and not the same person I guess!

    • merilee
      Posted June 9, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Me, too, though never liked that song. Very interesting life has had this Barry!

      • GBJames
        Posted June 9, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        I liked it at the time, but I was a 15 year old boy who though such things were profound. I grew up later.

  3. BobTerrace
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing Barry “Jerry” McGuire. I certainly remmeber Walter Brennan and Richard Crenna.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    The pic looks to be Ms. Reynolds circa Tammy:

    • merilee
      Posted June 9, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Whenever I see the cottonwoods west I start singing (caterwauling) this song.

  5. Peter N
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I have a lot of the same books on my shelves!

  6. Janet
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    What an interesting life. I would love to hear more about how you turned “stone foundations into tiered native flower gardens”!!

  7. Debra Coplan
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I was going to recommend “The Swerve” but I see you have that on your shelf.
    I would recommend “Wishful Drinking” by Carrie Fisher. She was Debbie Reynold’s daughter. I read it some time ago but remember enjoying it immensely. If you need a distraction from the seriousness of what’s going on now, you might enjoy it.

  8. garry vangelderen
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I recognize one of my all-time favourite books on his shelf: “the Swerve” by Stephen Greenblatt. If anyone is interested, by the same author “The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve”. Also a good read.

    • merilee
      Posted June 9, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Me three for The Swerve!

  9. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Interesting! Thanks for sharing Barry!

  10. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, as PCC(E) writes, you have had an interesting life! I see that you also are or were a puppeteer, a magician and the one who revivified Elk Falls, Kansas. Learning those facts sent me to this story of the third time you settled in Elk Falls, and I hope you don’t mind if I post this link to that wonderful account,

    I started to watch the episode of the Real McCoys (which I watched as a child), then decided to refresh my recollection of Kathy Nolan and find that you’re about 3 years older than she is but you played the young guy who was engaged to her daughter. Coulda fooled me. Also, if in that first photo you’re anywhere close to 91, coulda fooled me again. Now I’ll return to the episode.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 9, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Mr. McGuire can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think “Hassie” was Luke’s kid sister not his daughter (and that, perhaps for some naming convention known only to those from “West Virginie,” “Little Luke” was his kid brother, not his son). 🙂

      • Barry McGuire
        Posted June 9, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Ken, you are right. Hassie was Luke’s younger sister.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 9, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

          I knew your “Jerry” wouldn’t be that much of a cradle-robber, Barry! 🙂

  11. GBJames
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Dancing with Debbie Reynolds. Simply awesome!

  12. Frank Bath
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Debbie Reynolds! Wow, you lucky man. Books to read? The Patrick O’Brian wooden navy historical novels.

  13. Posted June 9, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    That dance with Debbie Reynolds must have been a memorable experience. I’ve loved Debbie ever since I was a kid and saw Singing in the Rain. I’d give anything to have danced with her.

  14. Mark R.
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    You are quite the polymath Barry! I really enjoyed the write-up by your Kansas friend. Poignant poem as well. 91? You sure pull that off well.

  15. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    I live in Wichita, Kansas, but I had to look up Elk Falls, looks to be about 50 miles east. Also about 95 population.

  16. max blancke
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    What an interesting biography. There are an amazing number of truly singular people here.

    I go through that part of Kansas several times each year, sometimes through Elk Falls, and find it very pleasant.
    When I was a kid, I accompanied my Dad for several weeks each year on his annual Kansas bird hunts. Lots of happy memories there.

  17. Posted June 9, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    What an excellent bookshelf! And what a life! Despite being a young ‘un, I do know of Debbie Reynolds, though I’ve not seen her movies. As I like ‘older’ stuff, I should rectify that. But I know she was Carrie Fisher’s mother, who I’m a fan of.

    Anyway, great post, what an audience WEIT has!

  18. BJ
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    So cool! What a life. And 91?!? You are looking very good, my man!

    As for books, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations (the Gregory Hays translation). It’s and excellent read for these difficult times.

    My favorite biography is a very difficult choice, but Roy Jenkins’ Churchill is up there, as is Zappa, by Barry Miles.

    My favorite mystery novel: Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, which also became an excellent movie (I don’t have to specify that I’m talking about the 1946 version, do I?).

    My favorite book about making movies: Sidney Lumet’s Making Movies.

    • Barry McGuire
      Posted June 9, 2020 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Meditations is one of my treasured books though I know little of the version I have. It was translated by George Long and published by Montgomery Ward & Co. which was a sort of Amazon of its day (a long gone competitor of Sears). There is no date of publication in it. It is obviously old but still in quite good condition. Wish I could find out more about it. Any ideas?

      • BJ
        Posted June 9, 2020 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        Here’s one!

        As far as I can tell, there are many different prints currently available on Amazon that say they are translated by George Long, but, unfortunately, I cannot locate a record of the Montgomery Ward & Co. edition for you. However, for other prints of Long’s translation, just type “Marcus Aurelius Meditations George Long” into DuckDuckGo (or your preferred search engine) and they should all come up, though they might not all be listed in the first few results. And, of course, I can’t promise that any of them will have everything contained in your version.

        Word of caution to those buying books (or DVDs, BluRays, really just about anything) that have multiple prints/versions listed on Amazon: don’t trust the ratings/reviews. Amazon very often combines the ratings of various prints, so you don’t know if the aggregate rating or reviews are actually for the edition you’re considering or for another. Even in this instance, it seems Amazon’s faulty innards have combined ratings/reviews from several different translations (every edition that has 4,399 ratings at this time). I went to several websites to try and find a consensus on the best translation before purchasing my version, as I couldn’t trust Amazon’s system. People seemed to like Gregory Hays’ translation, so that’s the one I purchased.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 9, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      … Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, which also became an excellent movie …

      Better than the adaptation of another of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels, The Long Good-Bye, Beej?

      Hawks vs. Altman?

      • BJ
        Posted June 9, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        I am an enormous fan of Altman’s The Long Goodbye. It sits on my hallowed Favorites Shelves. A lot of people seem to hate his interpretation of Philip Marlowe, but I think his vision of the character was a perfect reflection of the time. A Philip Marlowe of the 1970’s could easily be like Elliot Goulde’s portrayal. And the movie has so many brilliant strokes aside from the direction, like the reimagining of Marlowe, Sterling Hayden’s powerful imitation of a drunken hurricane, the innovative score that’s at once both constantly changing and repetitive like the world around him, the overall mood. I like that Marlowe is sort of a man both of and outside of his time, bedraggled and insouciant, somewhat bemused but ultimately amused and unbothered by these crazy New Age cats springing up around him (even his actual cat can’t be arsed to keep a schedule or play by the rules). He’s a man who doesn’t really care about anyone but himself until he gets dragged into the central mystery, which drags him into the time and culture around him.

        What say you?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 10, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

          On my Altman list, I vacillate whether The Long Goodbye belongs on the list of the half dozen truly great movies Altman made, or whether it belongs among the half dozen or so near-greats.

          Either way, it’s a film I love.

      • BJ
        Posted June 10, 2020 at 1:00 am | Permalink

        Just to be clear, Hawks’ The Big Sleep is also on my Favorites Shelves. It’s one of the few movies from the 1930-1960 era that’s earned a place there. But, if forced to choose, I would take The Long Goodbye without hesitation.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 10, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

          Maybe you should make more room on your Favorites Shelf for 1930 to 1960, BJ, which essentially corresponds to the golden age of the Hollywood studios. There were a lot of great films made then. (Admittedly, there was a lot of crap made then, too. There were simply a lot more films being made, before people started staying home planted in front of their tv sets. They ain’t making great “B Movies” like they used to; that’s for sure.)

          • BJ
            Posted June 10, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

            I know that it’s considered the “Golden Age” of cinema, but, for a young person like me who grew up watching films from between the mid-to-late-60’s through the 90’s, the direction in most of those movies is just too static, the dialogue often stilted or too exaggerated, the plots too slow or meandering, etc. As someone who didn’t grow up with movies from the “Golden Age,” it’s hard for me to go back and watch most of them. Cinema’s creativity really grew after that, and I have a difficult time paying attention throughout even films considered to be among the greatest. I even find nearly all of Hitchcock’s output to be boring in many places (almost all of his movies seem to be far longer than they need to be), though I can still appreciate how innovative he was for his time. Even earl to mid-60’s movies are often a slog for me, like Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy.” I grew up getting my movies from the local rental shops, so I grew up with directors like Scorcese, Tarantino, Cronenberg, Frears, Kaufman, Coppola, Ridley Scott…

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted June 10, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

              Hey, you don’t have to convince me of the golden era of Raging Bulls and Easy Riders — that era coincides with my teenage years and young adulthood. It’s when (and largely why) I developed an abiding interest in film.

              • BJ
                Posted June 10, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

                It’s funny that, looking back on it now, I developed all that love for so many movies on VHS, where they were almost always in the cropped 4:3 format.

  19. Posted June 9, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations on your 91st summer, Mr. McGuire! You look as handsome as you did back in the days of the McCoys which I used to watch as a child. I enjoyed your poem.
    Since you’re cloistered during the pandemic, if you’re interested in a bit of escapist fiction, how about Shogun by James Clavell? (I feel like a broken record as I always seem to recommend this book!)

  20. Posted June 10, 2020 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    Marvelous story, Barrie. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Joe Baldassano
    Posted June 10, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I do in fact remember watching The Real McCoys as a child on an old Westinghouse B&W TV; and, as I recall, it was a good show. I was pleased to learn that you read Dr. Coyne’s blog daily, as I do. The blog features fascinating topics and the readers’ comments are equally stimulating!

    As for books you may find of interest, I am about midway through the book Evolving Brains Emerging Gods (Early Humans and the Origins of Religion) by E. Fuller Torrey. I highly recommend this book. However, be forewarned, it’s a real page turner and hard to put down once you’ve started.

  22. nay
    Posted June 10, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Still a cutie-pie at 91! Thanks for sharing, Barry. (Also loved Debbie Reynolds. Sigh.)

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