"John Wayne's Tribute to America" (originally aired as the television special, "Swing Out, Sweet Land", in 1970), isn't great TV, or an accurate American history lesson, but it IS fun, and reflects the genuine love and pride 'the Duke' felt for his country.
The special serves best as a 'time capsule' of entertainment of the era, which will bring a smile to older viewers, but may have today's kids scratching their heads...John Wayne, as the host/narrator, introduces slices of American history, 'Hollywood 1970' style...skinflint Jack Benny retrieves George Washington's tossed silver dollar, Bob Hope and Ann-Margret entertain the troops at Valley Forge, Dean Martin invents the cotton 'gin' (get it?), Rowan and Martin are the Wright brothers, "Bonanza's" 'Little Joe' Michael Landon buys Manhattan Island from 'Hoss' Dan Blocker (and 'Ben Cartwright' Lorne Greene plays George Washington, in another segment, featuring Hugh O'Brien as Thomas Jefferson, and William Shatner as John Adams)...Obviously, the material is 'dated', and everything is celebrity persona-'driven'...but some moments do shine! Johnny Cash performs a terrific musical number on a locomotive, Glen Campbell is very good, as well; Bing Crosby and Roscoe Lee Browne, as Mark Twain and Frederick Douglass, have a surprisingly sensitive, if brief, conversation about racial equality (so good that it almost seems out of place, amid the sillier moments). Yes, the musical finale is a bit 'over-the-top' (and proves that most actors can't sing a 'lick'), but Wayne keeps things light and patriotic, and is obviously enjoying himself!
As another of the releases to celebrate the Duke's 100th birthday, this nostalgia piece is a wonderful addition to any Wayne collection!