paul s. newman

There’s a long-standing tradition of Americans taking a silly bit of Irish culture and pretending it’s theirs just because one of their ancestors died in the potato famine. But what they never realize is that that kind appropriation can cut both ways. Colin Farrell, the most Irish of Irish actors, can attest to that, because he spent a brief spell of his early life introducing the Emerald Isle to the joy of line dancing.

Line dancing, ironically the most square of all dances, actually traces its origin all the way back to European country dancing, but you can’t look at Farrell in his sleeveless studded vest and black choker and think that he’s taking line dancing back for the motherland. As a 19-year-old aspiring actor, Farrell basically had the choice between being a waiter and, strangely, a line dancer – which paid a lot better. So until his big Irish break about two years later (which, fantastically, was in a movie called Falling For A Dancer) he earned a really good living touring nightclubs across Ireland and clutching his belt to some good ol’ country and western music. And, much to Farrell’s regret, someone got it on tape. Bless their heart.

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Downtown Las Vegas, April 1966. Unknown photographer on Fremont Street between 1st and 3rd. Four Queens is under construction. Paul Newman’s “Harper” plays at the Fremont Theatre. Thanks to Tim for the Kodachrome slide scans (“straight out of the scanner, the real thing sans Photoshop”).