Word of the Week 032920

Strother Martin

Greetings Word of the Week fans and welcome to the March 26 edition of Clarion County's favorite word game.

It was on this date in 1919, movie actor Strother Martin was born in Kokomo, Indiana.

You might not know him by name, but you likely saw him in many movies as a character actor. He was in many well-known movies.

Martin appeared in The Red Badge of Courage, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, True Grit, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, Hannie Caulder, Roster Cogburn and many others.

You might have heard the line "What we have here is failure to communicate."

That was Martin's character in "Cool Hand Luke."

He appeared six times each in films with John Wayne and Paul Newman.

In the last year of his life, Martin had been under a doctor's care for cardiac problems and he died of a heart attack on Aug. 1, 1980, at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California; he was 61.

The Word of the Week team is a fan of Strother Martin and remembers him on his 101st birthday.

And this week's word is tocsin.

It's a noun. Does tocsin mean:

A: A grave. "I want you to dig your own tocsin," the captain told Luke. "In other words, get your dirt out of your tocsin."

B: An alarm. "Look, I don't want to trip any tocsins, but you boys look familiar," the mine boss told Butch and Sundance.

C: An old horse. "Now don't you be sellin' me a tocsin," Rooster told the horse dealer. "I want one that will chase Ned Chaney to Hades and back."

D: An oasis. "Gee, you done real well for yourself, finding this tocsin where there ain't no water," the bumbling crook told Cable. "Maybe you need a partner."

A real-life Strother Martin quote: "Age is as much an asset for character players as it is for good wine. Human experiences, both good and bad, leave their marks on one's face and bearing.

"A few lines on the face and a few gray hairs coupled with the idiosyncrasies an actor adopts throughout life help out round out the actor's personality.

So far as I'm concerned, the older a character actor gets, the firmer his position is."

The correct answer to the Word of the Week challenge is "B."