Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Lone Pine Film Festival: The Building and the Backlot Tour

When the featured guests at the Lone Pine Film Festival aren't at screenings or giving talks, they can often be found in "The Building." The Building is the town community center where the guests are available to interact with festival attendees.

Visitors can purchase books or photos for signature, or simply say hello. I was happy to have Cheryl Rogers Barnett sign her book COWBOY PRINCESS, which I'd purchased a decade ago, and David Rothel signed his wonderful book on Tim Holt for me. It's great news that the Holt book is back in print in a softcover edition!

I really enjoyed the chance to meet Johnny Crawford of THE RIFLEMAN, an absolutely lovely gentleman who -- like the other festival guests -- was so nice and friendly. I'm now on his email list for news of his appearances.

I was glad to have the chance to tell him that he is part of happy childhood memories of watching THE RIFLEMAN with my brother. It was one of my brother's favorite shows. (With favorite series like THE RIFLEMAN, HIGHWAY PATROL, and ADAM-12, small wonder he became a police officer.) I'm sure actors such as Crawford probably hear those kinds of stories with some frequency, but at the same time I think it's important that we let them know, when we can, that they have been a good part of our lives.

Here are a couple shots capturing the general scene in The Building, including Edward Faulkner (brown shirt in the top two photos) and Bruce Boxleitner (at right in the bottom photo) chatting with festival attendees.

In the afternoon my husband and I went on the "Lone Pine Backlot Tour," which was a very interesting three-hour car caravan tour. At each stop we would get out of our cars and our guides would explain the significance of the location and show us large movie stills related to the site.

Hopalong Cassidy's cabin! This building, seen in many Hoppy films, is still lived in today, and this was as close as we could get. Click on any photo to enlarge it for a closer look.

A slightly closer view:

This building is known as the "Tim Holt Cabin," as he shot several movies in and around it.

Both the interior and the exterior of the cabin were used for filming.

The Lone Pine Film Museum would like to purchase the cabin, restore it, and move it to the back of the museum grounds, although it's in such fragile condition, if the project comes to fruition they may have to build a replica cabin instead.

Here our guide holds a still of Tim and Richard Martin (Chito) outside the cabin:

Robert Mitchum also shot one of his mid-'40s RKO "B" Westerns here:

Leaving the Alabama Hills and heading the opposite direction out of Lone Pine, you can start down the road to Death Valley and find this ghost town, Dolomite, at the site of a dolomite mine. (The specks of white in the foreground of the photo are dolomite.) This was "Soda City" in Hitchcock's SABOTEUR (1942).

The mining company which owns the property allowed our tour group access but we had to remain this far back from the buildings:

Continuing a bit further along the road to Death Valley, this gas station in Keeler (population 50) was seen in I DIED A THOUSAND TIMES (1955), a Jack Palance remake of another Lone Pine film, Humphrey Bogart's HIGH SIERRA (1941).

The gas station as it looked in I DIED A THOUSAND TIMES:

This decaying train depot on Railroad Avenue in Keeler was seen in the silent film GREED (1924):

Diaz Lake, seen in the background of various Westerns:

And some local residents wondering what we were doing!

For more on the Lone Pine Film Festival, please visit The 25th Lone Pine Film Festival in Review, which includes all links to all of my festival coverage at the end of the post.

Additional Lone Pine Film Festival Posts will be coming soon!


Blogger rockfish said...

Laura, thanks for taking us through this fabulous tour! All the sights and sounds (and films) makes me want to schedule this festival on next year's calendar, though its a fair drive from Vancouver. Thanks again!

6:26 PM  
Blogger mel said...

Wonderful pictures, Laura!

Thank you.

2:38 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

"I think it's important that we let them know, when we can, that they have been a good part of our lives." Nice.

Such a fun tour.

4:27 AM  
Blogger Robby Cress said...

Fascinating Laura! Great to see so those buildings that are still standing! Incredible that none have been demolished. Beautiful country too.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Quelle Books said...

Wow! This festival looks amazing. Great coverage Laura. I really want to go to this now!

8:21 AM  
Blogger Jerry E said...

Some really wonderful shots, Laura. Thanks so much for bringing the beauty of Lone Pine into our homes.

I also need to thank you for the heads-up about the reissue of David Rothel's 1994 book on Tim Holt. It is one I missed at the time (idiot) and recently I found it offered on Amazon at $150 and thought it was lost to me for ever. But now...well I have already ordered my copy today.

So nice that you got to meet Johnny Crawford. All reports of him are of a really sunny, nice guy. "THE RIFLEMAN" is a big part of my viewing pleasure and he plays a very big part in that enjoyment. There is terrific warmth between father and son that I gather was genuine, on and off-set.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you all so much for the kind comments! I really hope that my posts will encourage some of you to visit the Lone Pine Festival in future years; you couldn't help but enjoy it! Please do come!

And Jerry, I'm thrilled that you have ordered the Holt book. I understand the Lone Pine Museum was behind it coming back into print. I hope that thanks to the Warner Archive sets there are an increasing number of Tim Holt fans who will want to read the book! It's a wonderful resource. You'll love it.

Nice comments on THE RIFLEMAN! "Sunny" definitely describes Johnny Crawford. I saw him from a distance earlier this year when he participated in the Loretta Young Centennial Tribute but it was very nice to be able to say hello!

Best wishes,

12:19 AM  
Blogger SimpleGifts said...

Hi, Laura - I wish I could have attended the Lone Pine Festival this year but the next best thing to being there is reading your posts! You sure did take advantage of the offerings. I knew you'd enjoy the "down home" feel of the festival! Jane

5:21 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I wish you'd been there too! Maybe next year?! Had such a wonderful time. Great to see Wyatt up there.

I'll have a couple more posts to wrap up my coverage coming soon!

Best wishes,
Laura (wishing she could eat at the Alabama Hills Cafe again...)

5:34 PM  
Blogger KC said...

I can't believe all those buildings are still there. You'd think structures as fragile as that wouldn't endure.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Isn't it amazing? They did end up having to tear down the "Anchorville" town set at Anchor Ranch, which I'll focus on in a future post, as they were just three-sided buildings open in back to what is sometimes harsh weather; they were eventually worn down to the point where they were no longer safe.

Best wishes,

9:32 PM  
Blogger Beth Ann Gallagher said...

Thanks for pointing me to this great post! It has a lot of good details about the film festival, especially the backlot tour, that leaves me looking even more forward to the festival.

1:20 PM  

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