“You really turned down a date with Marilyn Monroe?” Who would think they’d ever hear a statement like that from anyone, but hear it I did. The story goes something like this. First you have to understand the kind of man that could make a statement like this. I would have to say that this is no ordinary man. All you have to do is think about some great men that couldn’t say no to the charms of Ms. Monroe. There was one of the greatest men of all time, John F. Kennedy, the exceptional ball player, Joe DiMaggio as well as the great playwright, Arthur Miller among many other dalliances.
Jack was the kind of guy that had no fear. I think I need to clarify that by stating that he was not a man that would do fearless feats just for the excitement. You wouldn’t find him jumping out of an airplane for an adrenaline rush, but if his time serving his country demanded it, he’d do it. He was a man who flew a B-17 bomber over Germany in World War II as a US Army Air Force First Lieutenant. His plane was shot up over Frankfurt, but he still managed to return unscathed. He wouldn’t go hang-gliding for fun, but he would hang upside from a helicopter to get the perfect shot during his time as a commercial photographer. Jack was the kind of man that hitch-hiked across the country, even if at the time it was a lot safer than it is now, but still you’d have to be a certain kind of person to do such a thing. He was the type of man who always had an angel looking over him. He was scheduled to travel with Richard Halliburton, who was the Jack Kerouac of the 30s, on the Chinese junk the Sea Dragon. Halliburton was attempting to cross the Pacific Ocean from Hong Kong to San Francisco, but unfortunately it turned out to be his final and fatal voyage. Luckily for Jack, someone was watching out for him and he could not make the trek at the last minute.
There is a certain mystery about Jack and some, shall we say, uncertainties about his life story. The “holes” only exist during his youth when he was a good-looking masculine man about town. I guess it’s safe to say that when you live such a life and you have the world nearly at your feet, not to mention the talent to do more than most, what have you got to lose? I certainly feel that Jack never made a decision he regretted.
The multitude of talent he possessed took him many places in his life. He had skated with Sonja Henie, a three-time Olympic champion in the late 20’s and early 30’s, who also performed in film. There were also a few small roles in Hollywood films that can still be found today. The hob-knobbing with celebrities and politicians in the spotlight were certainly a part of his life, however it was obvious that was not the kind of life he desired to live. I believe there was always this desire to nurture; it was just a matter of finding himself first. There were a lot of roads taken, but no matter how many roads we take, there is always going to be that one road that we come to an end on.