This little book ought to be read by Americans everywhere, both because Sergeant York is a national possession, and also because it teaches the priceless value of individual character and may warn us here in America from allowing our children, who have to use machines, from being themselves made into machines.
His is the story of Sergeant Alvin C. York of Tennessee, the outstanding hero of the World War and one of the greatest individual fighters in the history of modern or legendary warfare. In the heart of the Argonne Forest on October 8, 1918, practically unassisted, he whipped an entire German machine-gun battalion, killing twenty-eight of the enemy, capturing thirty-five machine guns and with the help of a handful of doughboys bringing in one hundred and thirty-two prisoners.
TO OUR OWN LEAGUE OF NATIONS
The American-born boys and the Greeks, Irish, Poles, Jews, and Italians who were in my platoon in the World War. A heap of them couldn’t speak or write the American language until they larned it in the Army. Over here in the training camps and behind the lines in France a right-smart lot of them boozed, gambled, cussed, and went A. W. O. L. But once they got into it Over There they kept on a-going. They were only tol’able shots and burned up a most awful lot of ammunition. But jest the same they always kept on a-going. Most of them died like men, with their rifles and bayonets in their hands and their faces to the enemy. I’m a-thinkin’ they were real heroes. Any way they were my buddies. I jes learned to love them. —SERGEANT ALVIN C. YORK.
Release Date: July 2, 1941
Release Time: 134 minutes
Gary Cooper as Alvin C. York
Walter Brennan as Pastor Rosier Pile
Joan Leslie as Gracie Williams
Margaret Wycherly as Mary Brooks York
George Tobias as Private Michael T. "Pusher" Ross
Stanley Ridges as Major Buxton
Ward Bond as Ike Botkin
Noah Beery Jr. as Buck Lipscomb
June Lockhart as Rosie York
Dickie Moore as George York
Clem Bevans as Zeke
Howard Da Silva as Lem
Charles Trowbridge as Cordell Hull
Harvey Stephens as Captain Danforth
David Bruce as Private Bert E. Thomas
Carl Esmond as German Major (as Charles Esmond)
Joe Sawyer as Sergeant Early
Pat Flaherty as Sergeant Harry Parsons
Robert Porterfield as Zeb Andrews
Erville Alderson as Nate Tomkins
James Anderson as Eb
Frank Faylen as But! Boy
Joseph W. Girard as John J. Pershing
Sonny Bupp as Boy in Sunday School
Tully Marshall as Uncle Lige
Douglas Wood as Major Hylan
Russell Hicks as General
Victor Kilian as Andrews
Gig Young as marching Soldier
Eddy Waller as Man at Church
1941 Academy Awards
Best Actor – Gary Cooper – Won
Best Film Editing – William Holmes – Won
Outstanding Motion Picture – Warner Bros. (Hal B. Wallis and Jesse L. Lasky Producers) – Nominated
Best Director – Howard Hawks – Nominated
Best Writing (Screenplay) – Harry Chandlee, Abem Finkel, John Huston, Howard Koch – Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Walter Brennan – Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Margaret Wycherly – Nominated
Best Art Direction (Black-and-White) – John Hughes, Fred M. MacLean – Nominated
Best Cinematography (Black-and-White) – Sol Polito – Nominated
Best Music (Score of a Dramatic Picture) – Max Steiner – Nominated
Best Sound Recording – Nathan Levinson – Nominated
100 Most Inspirational Films - #57
50 Heroes in American Cinema - #35
Drummer: [remarking on the area's isolation] What I'd like to know is, how do you fellows get into this valley?
Zeke: We was born here!
-------------------------'Pusher' Ross: An' you haven't even seen a subway?
Alvin: I ain't never even heerd o' one.
'Pusher' Ross: 'Heerd'? 'heerd' What kind o' talk is that? Do they all talk that kind of English where you come from?
Alvin: Well there ain't any English people down our way - just Americans.
-------------------------Sergeant: Where did ya learn to shoot York?
Alvin: Well I ain't never learned Sergeant, folks back home used to say I could shoot a rifle before I was weaned. But they was exaggeratin' some.
-------------------------Sgt. Early: [at the target range] Remember, guys, you're usin' real live ammunition! A bullet hasn't got any brains! It'll hit whatever you're aimin' at, so don't start murdering each other!
-------------------------Alvin: Well I'm as much agin killin' as ever sir. --- But it was this way Colonel. --- When I started out I felt just like you said, but when I hear them machine guns a goin' and all them fellas are droppin' around me --- I figured them guns was killin' hundreds maybe thousands and there wern't nothin' any body could do, but to stop them guns. And that's what I done.
Maj. Buxton: Do you mean to tell me that you did it to save lives?
Alvin: Yes sir, that was why.
Maj. Buxton: [amazed] Well, York, what you've just told me is the most extraordinary thing of all!
-------------------------Alvin: ...What we done in France we had to do. And some as done it, didn't come back. And that kind of thing ain't for buying and selling.
Reluctant Warrior Dies
Sgt. Alvin York, Legend In His Own Time, Was 76
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Sgt. Alvin C. York, the reluctant Tennessee mountain boy whose World War 1 exploits made him a legend in his own time, died Wednesday in Veterans Hospital. The specter of death had hung over the 76-year-old Medal of Honor winner for two years. He fought his way back from serious illness 10 times during that period.
Death came at 10:40 a.m., the result of "general debility" in the w ords of a terse hospital announcement.
At his side during his closing hours was his wife, "Gracie," the childhood sweetheart who had greeted him when he returned home a hero from the battlefields of France, and his seven children.
A conscientious objector, York finally resigned himself to the war, and on Oct. 8, 1918, single handedly killed 25 Germans and captured 132 more. That feat put his name alongside Davy Crockett and Sam Houston as idols of schoolboys and a nation.
An offer by Gov. Frank Clement to have the body lie in state at the state capitol was declined with thanks by the family. "We think it's best just to take him on back to Jamestown," said a son, the Rev. George Edward York.
The Rev. Mr. York said the funeral would be at 2 p.m. Saturday at York's Chapel at Pall Mall, where York taught Sunday school for many years before he became ill. Burial will be in Wolf Creek Cemetery, Pall Mall, and Jamestown are about 140 miles east of Nashville, in the Cumberland Mountains.
An American Legion guard of honor stood by as the body of the old soldier was taken from the hospital to a waiting ambulance. Mrs. York accompanied the body to Jamestown just as she had gone with him on his many trips to hospitals in the last dozen years.
York's last hospitalization came Saturday and his final days were spent in a coma. Multiple diseases, including a stroke which left York partially paralyzed and bedridden, finally took their toll, doctors said.
York tried to" enlist in World War II when he heard some Tennesseans were turned down by the Army because of illiteracy.
"Give me some of these Tennessee and Kentucky riflemen that the Army says are illiterate," he said. "I'd like to take a battalion of those boys and train them for combat duty .... they're the best soldiers in the world."
The War Department agreed and commissioned York a major, but the project had to be abandoned when York failed to pass the physical tests. He had suffered several heart attacks.
He made appearances and speeches in behalf of the war effort instead.
It was on Oct. 8, 1918, that York won everlasting fame. As a corporal of Company G, Second Battalion, 328th Infantry he was a member of a detail of 17 men including a sergeant and three corporals ordered to silence German machine guns pinning down Yanks in the, battle of the Argonne Forest in France. All but seven of the Americans were cut down by enemy fire. York took command.
"Sergeant York" was the title of a 1941 motion picture based on his life. Gary Cooper won an Academy Award for the title role, and another generation of Americans learned of York.
Date: 3 Sep 1964
Dallas Morning News
Alvin C York