Lone Pine’s annual celebration of the county’s rich film history – and the movies, TV shows and men and women who contributed to this cinematic legacy – returns to the spotlight next weekend.
The classic Lone Pine Film Festival festival highlights, such as the parade and tours in the Alabama Hills, are back on the script this year, joining some new scenes and attractions.
Special features for 2010 include the screening of a rare silent film, shot primarily on Lubken Canyon Road, several new location tours and one-on-one interviews/panels where some new faces will talk about their careers, experiences before and behind the camera and answer questions from the public.
“This will be the 21st time we have rolled out the welcome mat to celebrities, fans and the curious who just happen by,” said Chris Langley, Festival spokesperson, Inyo County film commissioner and local film historian.
The festival kicks of Friday, Oct. 8 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 10.
The theme this year is “The Trail to Lone Pine,” in recognition of the 75th anniversary of Republic Pictures, which made many films locally.
“Its first film western, ‘Westward Ho,’ was made in Lone Pine,” Langley said. “The studio heads and personnel created the American Singing Cowboy on screen, and in the process started the careers of Roy Rogers and Gene Autry who starred in many Republic B-Westerns. Another new screen persona was John Wayne, who made several films here for the Republic moniker.”
The career of Tyrone Power in Lone Pine will be celebrated as well, and his image from “Rawhide,” will be on the souvenir button this year. Power starred in “Brigham Young,” “Rawhide,” and “King of the Khyber Rifles.” The movies stand as very different, but hallmark, films of the Lone Pine locations and show the diversity of roles which Power selected.
These themes are followed up by actual tours in which fans can travel by bus and car to locations seen in several of the movies that will be screened during the weekend. Langley will lead “The Duke Stopped By,” which will visit sites where “Tycoon,” “Westward Ho,” “The Lawless Range,” and “I Cover the War” were filmed. At one of the various stops along the tour, the passengers will be met by Jake Thorne, a John Wayne impersonator, who will tell the story of Wayne, firsthand in a Chautauqua format. “It will certainly be a rich way to understand the man named Marian Morrison who became John Wayne,” Langley said.
Another tour devoted to the three Power films will be led by Melody Ogburn, the daughter of festival co-founder Dave Holland. A major feature of this tour will be the time to explore the location of the stagecoach stop set built for “Rawhide.”
Another new location tour is called “Hoppy Hop-on” and is led by Mike and Janet Houle, probably the people most familiar with the film locations in the Alabama Hills. Before embarking on this trip, tourists will first view “Dangerous Venture,” at the Museum of Lone Pine Film History, the starting point for most of the tours. The film stars William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy. Tourists will then go immediately out to the locations in Cattle Pocket and several other stops where the scenes were filmed.
Mike Prather will focus one of his tours entirely on a fan favorite “Tremors” with “Chasing the Sand Worms.” He will also reprise the popular “Sci-Fi Sets to Avocets” tour.
Veteran guides, Burt and Donna Yost will bring a new look to the tour south and east of Lone Pine with “Hollywood’s Back Yard- Lone Pine Back Lot Movie Tour.” The Yosts will also feature local history and they have found pictures of the Owens Lake Steamers actually on the now dry lake, plying the waters. Until their discoveries, locals assumed there were no such pictures existent.
A brand new stop, never before used for any tour is Diaz Lake, where “Buffalo Bill Jr.,” and “West of Pecos” with Robert Mitchum, and other films worked.
Langley will be reprising his “Tom Mix Tour,” which goes to some difficultly to find locations for this early cowboy hero. Catherine Kravitz will be leading her “Ansel Adams Tour” Saturday and Sunday and Debbie Kielb will guide visitors to see the Anchor Ranch set locations.
The movie highlight will be the screening of the silent film, “The Stolen Ranch,” with a brand new musical accompaniment created by Bishop’s own maestro, Bill Schuck. He will also be playing on Sunday to Tom Mix’s version of “Riders of the Purple Sage.”
“The Stolen Ranch” was directed by three-time Academy Award-winning director William Wyler and was shot mostly in Lubken Canyon at the old Lubken Ranch. “The feeling of the film, which stars Fred Humes is quite different from those shot in the nearby Alabama Rocks,” Langley said.
Guests this year include Bruce Boxleitner, star of the new “Tron” film, Lee Horsley, Robert Dix, Donna Martell, Hugh O’Brian, Andrew Prine, Buck Taylor, William Smith and several Festival regulars.
The museum will get into the spirit with several new short films screening in its spacious theater, musical entertainment and Thorne’s full John Wayne show.
Buck Taylor, coming as a Western artist rather than Western film star, will be opening his year-long personal collection of paintings, one of which is on the T-shirt, program and Film Festival poster. The new Nudie’s, Stuntman, Bad Men and William Wellman exhibits will also be opening during the weekend.
All told, it will be a fun weekend filled with films, fantasy and fillies as well as the parade, the closing campfire and a very popular Arts and Crafts Fair in the Park under the direction of Nancy LaMarr Overbey and Marilyn Dell. There will be more than 65 booths at Dehy Park, many of them new this year.
There is also the Friday night concerts at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Lone Pine High School Auditorium featuring Don Edwards with opening act Sourdough Slim.
“Come home to Lone Pine, or come for the first time because there is even more to discover than what I’ve mentioned here,” Langley said.