John Ford

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There is some uncertainty about the identity of Ford's first film as director—film writer Ephraim Katz notes that Ford might have directed the four-part film Lucille the Waitress as early as 1914 —but most sources cite his directorial début as the silent two-reeler The Tornado, released in March 1917. According to Ford's own story, he was given the job by Universal boss Carl Laemmle who supposedly said, "Give Jack Ford the job—he yells good". The Tornado was quickly followed by a string of two-reeler and three-reeler "quickies"—The Trail of Hate, The Scrapper, The Soul Herder and Cheyenne's Pal; these were made over the space of a few months and each typically shot in just two or three days; all are now presumed lost. The Soul Herder is also notable as the beginning of Ford's four-year, 25-film association with veteran writer-actor Harry Carey, who (with Ford's brother Francis) was a strong early influence on the young director, as well as being one of the major influences on the screen persona of Ford's protege John Wayne. Carey's son Harry "Dobe" Carey Jr. , who also became an actor, was one of Ford's closest friends in later years and featured in many of his most celebrated westerns.