Lone Pine Film Festival included seeing eight films!
Two of the movies were Hopalong Cassidy films. My husband's a big Hoppy fan, but somehow I'd never caught a film from the long-running series starring William Boyd.
IN OLD COLORADO was cowritten by Russell Hayden, who plays Hoppy's young sidekick Lucky. Hoppy, Lucky, and California (Andy Clyde), employees of the Bar 20 Ranch, are on their way to purchase cattle from Ma Woods (Sarah Padden) when they're robbed of the $20,000 they're carrying for the cattle buy.
Will Hoppy and his pals find the missing money and settle all Ma's problems? What do you think?!
IN OLD COLORADO has quality production values, including a good cast and very nice black and white location photography by Russell Harlan, a six-time Oscar nominee.
That said, I'm not sure I completely "get" Hoppy, at least at this point. I think part of my issue is that, like Gene Autry, Hoppy isn't in any way a romantic leading man. I prefer my Westerns with a dash of romance! Or at least a lead actor with a lighter personality, like the congenial Johnny Mack Brown; Hoppy is such a straight arrow I'm not sure it allows for much else to show through in Boyd's performance. Of course, I may be revising this opinion as I get to know the series better!
This 66-minute movie was directed by Howard Bretherton. The supporting cast includes Margaret Hayes, Cliff Nazarro, James Seay, Morgan Wallace, and Eddy Waller.
IN OLD COLORADO is available on DVD in the five-film Hopalong Cassidy: Volume 3 collection.
As soon as the 7:30 a.m. screening was over we left the auditorium and hopped on a tour bus, which took us to the Alabama Hills, just a few minutes' drive outside of Lone Pine.
Our tour guide, Don Kelsen, was also the guide on last year's locations tour for the Tim Holt film DYNAMITE PASS (1950).
Don is a Los Angeles Times photographer and videographer who's been associated with the festival for a quarter-century. Armed with nothing but pages of screen caps, Don combs the Alabama Hills putting together the "puzzle pieces" of various movie locations; he was also our guide for the next day's tour of locations for THE HIRED GUN (1957).
Among the many challenges for this kind of movie detective work: Thanks to "movie magic," a character may be filmed against a background which is miles away from what the character is shown to be looking at!
When we arrived at various sites used in the film we'd flip to our packet of screen shots from the film and match it up with what was in front of us:
Also along for the tour was John Gilliland, who has painstakingly put together a replica Hopalong Cassidy costume, right down to the spurs!
There were also members of a Hopalong Cassidy Fan Club on our tour. It's heartwarming that the Hopalong Cassidy films continue to have such a devoted and knowledgeable following.
My "Hoppy education" this weekend also included a current display on Hopalong Cassidy at the Museum of Western Film History, including posters, dishware, and other ephemera:
As a postcript, it seems fitting that earlier this year we were able to pay our respects at the Glendale mausoleum where William Boyd and his wife Grace were laid to rest.
Coming soon: Another Hoppy film, HEART OF ARIZONA (1938), including a personal appearance by Billy King, who as a boy costarred in four Hopalong Cassidy films released in 1937-38. (Update: Here's the link for my post on HEART OF ARIZONA.)