“This year’s 24th Annual Lone Pine Film Festival is being held Oct. 11-13, and pays tribute to the film heritage of our Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Alabama Hills west of Lone Pine,” said Lone Pine Film Museum Director Bob Sigman.
Sigman is a man who knows a little bit about the film industry as the former president and CEO of Republic Pictures. Republic Pictures was an independent film production company from 1935 through 1959, best known for specializing in westerns, movie serials and B films that emphasized mystery and action. Among its most famous film stars were John Wayne, Gene Autry, Rex Allen, and Roy Rogers. Republic is now a wholly-owned division of Paramount/Viacom.
According to the press release “Lone Pine: Where the Real West Becomes the Reel West,” this year’s film festival celebrates a diverse group of actors who appeared in films shot locally such as Emmy Award winning actress Mariette Hartley who starred with Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea in Ride the High Country. Shooting locations included the Inyo National Forest in Bishop and Mammoth Lakes. Clu Gulager, who enjoyed a 50-plus year career in television, had a co-starring role as William H. Bonney (Billy the Kid) in the 1960–1962 NBC television series, The Tall Man. He is equally well known for his role as Emmett Ryker in another NBC western series, The Virginian. Character actor and director LQ Jones worked in Lone Pine with a number of Hollywood legends including Randolph Scott, Audie Murphy, Joel McCrea and Steve McQueen. He is best remembered in films by the director Sam Peckinpah such as The Wild Bunch. The list of well-known films and televisions Jones appeared in and directed are too numerous to list.
The list of stars continues with Billy King, who as a child actor worked in Lone Pine in three Hopalong Cassidy Westerns in late 1930s. Stunt man Dean Smith began his career in Lone Pine on The Law and Jake Wade in 1958, and ended it in Lone Pine working as a stunt man on Maverick, in 1994. Andrew Prine, still active after more than 55 years making movies, rejoins the festival again after an absence of several years. Lone Pine’s sweetheart, Peggy Stewart, a major leading lady from the heyday of the B-Westerns and serials in the 1940s and still working today, will be at the festival as well. Diamond Farnsworth, involved in numerous films and TV series, most recently stunt coordinator on the show NCIS, teams with Loren Janes, stuntman and the long time stand-in and stunt double for Steve McQueen to round out the confirmed guest lineup
Noted film critic and TV personality Leonard Maltin will join the celebrities and stars this year along with western historian Ed Hulse, who will be hosting the celebrity panels where the actors will share first-hand stories and memories of their colorful careers.
David Rothel, who has authored more than 20 western books including “Who Was That Masked Man? The Story of the Lone Ranger and Sidekicks,” will present programs discussing his works published by the Lone Pine Museum of Western Film History.
There are 15 location tours including four new ones: Arches of the Alabama Hills, Audie Murphy? A Real Reel Hero, Django Unchained and Westward Ho! Returning to Lone Pine for the first time in 50 years, Billy King will participate in two tours, “Billy King Remembers Hopalong Cassidy” and provide commentary to Don Kelsen’s Secrets of the Wasteland tour.
A special Kick-Off concert, “Celebrate America,” will follow the annual Museum reception, Thursday evening Oct. 10 and feature R.W. Hampton & Belinda Gail.
Also included in the festival this year: a weekend rodeo round-up, films, vendors, book signings, Wild West Show entertainment and a Lone Pine Film Festival tradition — the Sunday “Main Street” Parade — “the best small town parade in America.”
For information, call the Lone Pine Film Museum at 760.876.9901 or visit www.lonepinefilmfestival.org.