Image: Ernest Borgnine as Shack the railroad bull vs. Lee Marvin as the legendary hobo A -No.1 in Robert Aldrich’s Emperor of the North — a definitive hobo/train cinematic statement. Brutal.
Most people I’ve met have never heard of this one, and of those I bet several think it was just made up. Well, sure, but made up out of the stuff of the real world.
For example, A-No. 1 was real enough, and Brian Leno just popped me an interesting link to some hobo graffiti along the Los Angeles riverbeds which references A-No. 1 — might even show his mark. Brian, famous autograph hound, tells me that he “Bought a book a few years back from a fellow that he said had an A 1 autograph. I doubt it, but bought it anyway — still a cool book to have.”
A-No. 1, Emperor of the North Pole.
You know I follow hobo lit. Jack Black. And Jim Tully. And Hammett hanging out with head-breakers on Sapping Day.
If you like that era, too, make sure to hop the internet freight on over and check it out.