John Wayne in Bodie

John Wayne walking the empty streets of Bodie Ghosttown.

Bodie State Historic Parc, north of Mono Lake in California, is the sprawling ghost town John Wayne used in the only outdoor sequence of his TV special, Swing out Sweet Land. On November 29, 1970, roughly 77,000,000 people saw it, a 58 percent share (later retitled John Wayne's Tribute to America). The whole show was pre-recorded on the stages of Universal. All except for the sequence that shows the Duke riding into Bodie on ole Dollor. 


Swing out Sweet Land used Bodie Ghosttown for a sketch with John Wayne.

Swing out Sweet Land was by then the most expansive single show produced for television; sponsor Budweiser put roughly $2,000,000 in it. However, no outdoor sets had to be built for the "western" sequence. The buildings used in this segment with John Wayne are still standing in the ghosttown of Bodie.  The stone plate shown at the bottom of this picture - the Duke steps on it as he gets up to the saloon - is still there. 

John Wayne takes a look into the jail at Bodie Ghosttown.

 In this sequence of his Budweiser special, John Wayne discovers Bodie's ghosts, still locked up in jail...

The jail John Wayne used for Swing Out Sweet Land still stands in Bodie Ghosttown, California.

...and the jail is still there, waiting for new customers. John Wayne's TV special Swing out Sweet Land captured the spirit of the Calfornia ghost town Bodie.

John Wayne at the church of Bodie State Historic Parc.

The same goes for the church of Bodie State Historic Parc. In the sequence, John Wayne hears singing from inside...

The church used for John Wayne's Swing Out Sweet Lands still stands at Bodie Ghosttown.

...and takes his hat off, looking at the bell tower. It looks unchanged to this day, standing in the ghost town of Bodie, a memory of both the spirit of the pioneers and John Wayne's appearence. 

The Budweiser special "Swing Out Sweet Land", hosted by John Wayne, used Bodie Ghost Town in California as a set.