Still from Fighting Fury
February 06, 2005:
Just when we think we're nearing the end of the list we find four more films that can be added to the list of films with scenes shot in Lone Pine. Some of these have been identified through stills others through stories discovered in the archives of the local paper, the Inyo Independent.
We just saw a still on eBay for a Jack Hoxie film called Fighting Fury. Packy Smith bought the still for his collection but he will share it with the archives of the Museum. The film was released on August 24 1924 and the still clearly shows Hoxie in front of the Alabamas and the Sierra and it is clearly labeled with a snipe on the back. We keep adding to our Hoxie list and in all likelihood, there are still more Hoxie films with Lone Pine locations to be identified. If only more of them still existed.
The second film we have added to the list is called The Eagle's feather and it was released in 1923. The still comes from a Film Fun magazine at the time of release and show the film company in a pasture with an erosion bank behind. The pictures is not the best but appears to be located north of Lone Pine in Manzanar looking south with the Alabama Hills appearing as a blurry mound and the Sierra to the right. We are now searching for other stills or material from this film that will prove once and for all it was shot near Lone Pine. It starred Mary Alden and James Kirkwood, who for a long time worked as a well know director before he went to acting as his directing jobs dried up. He directed several Mary Pickford films but went on in later years to work in several Lone Pine films as a character actor including The Untamed Breed (1948), The Nevadan (1949), Stage to Tucson (1950), Man in the Saddle (1951) and The Last Posse (1953). Anyone who has stills in their collection, please check them to see if we can be sure of this identification.
Still from The Eagle's Feather
We found a still at Danny Schwartz wonderful shop from a 1928 Universal Picture starring Fred Humes called Arizona Cyclone that is clearly Lone Pine. In fact, if you walk straight back from the Museum site on Hopalong Cassidy Lane to the DWP leases, you will find the location, maybe even the tree, now a tortured dead stump in the still. That location is what is called The Old Place where filming began in Lone Pine in the 1920's on the land used by Russ Spainhower and family before they purchased what is now the Anchor Ranch, just south of there. The film was directed by Edgar Lewis and starred George B. French and Margaret Grey as well.
The final film is Sundown Jim (1942) starring John Kimbrough. It was the same year as his other film Lone Star Ranger. While prints of the second film exist they are rare. We would like to show it at a Festival if we could locate it as several scenes were shot on the streets of Lone Pine it has been reported. The Independent carried a story o0n January 9, 1942 that Fox was in town making the picture. The articles stated, "More than 75 members of the 20th century Fox studios arrived in Lone Pine Monday morning to begin location work on Sundown Jim, a semi-western picture starring John Kimbrough, former all-American football star."
At the time the company expected to be in the Alabama Hills about a week according to the director James Tinling. Interestingly, the article concluded, "Sunday several in the cast shot pictures on a humor short entitled "Ski Whiz" taken on the Palisade Ski slopes near Big Pine.
Again if any collector can find a copy of Sundown Jim or stills from it, we would appreciate hearing from them.