Sterling Hayden  was a great actor & author of the late 50’s and 60’s. He was in many movies including Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing, General Jack Ripper in Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove and Captain McClusky in Coppola’s The Godfather. Before those major roles, he left his small time acting job and joined the military during the beginning of WWII. Upon arrival of training camp the 6’5″ cadet was moved to officer training. He skyrocketed to such high levels he was put in the OSS at its forming stages, a precursor to what we now know as the CIA. Sterling was a covert spy parachuting behind enemy lines and running guns to local militias in Germany! After the war, he returned to do his greatest work in the acting field. During the Red Scare period that followed WWII with Senator Joseph McCarthy, Sterling made some sympathetic Communist comments in a dinner conversation and came under heavy fire with the House Un-American Activities Committee. After which he fell amost entirely out of the public eye. He also during his life wrote several books, all involving nautical themes. He always detested acting and said he only acted to pay for his sailing endeavors. ‘Wanderer’ was his most highly praised book.


To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… “cruising” it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.

“I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of “security.” And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

Hunter’s earlier quote reminded of this gem…


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