2005 2005

In Memory of Dave Holland

November 14, 2005:

Dave Holland died on Monday, November 14 after a brave fight against cancer. He was surrounded by his wife Holly and close, long-time friends Dave and Kirsten Smirnoff at his home.

Dave was a friend of many in Lone Pine and around the world, having been a co-founder of the Lone Pine Film Festival in 1990, and an author and film historian with a special focus on the B westerns.

dave holland 1a.jpgDave was born on January 22, 1935 in Raleigh , North Caroilina and grew up in Birmingham, Alabama.He moved to Los Angeles in 1938 after two years at Auburn University.. Dave had many jobs during his life including photographic journalist in the Navy, Theatrical Press Agent, and Unit Production Manager. It was while working on location on commercials in the Lone Pine area that Dave recognized several landscapes from B westerns he had watched several times. This discovery led him to purchase movie stills from classic films and westerns, then come on location to the Alabama Hills to find the exct location where the camera was placed.

As his discoveries found during weekends spent roaming the scenic area accumulated, he made friends with local residents and the idea of a film festival focused on this unique history was created. Local resident Kerry Powell was the first Festival director in 1990, and Dave supplied the knowledge of locations, contacts with Hollywood and the event management expertise to begin the first film festival. Present director Chris Langley met with the team before that first event. Several local businesspersons have been deeply involved over the years, including Dow Villa owners Jeanne Willey and Lynne Bunn, Frotnier Best Western owner Ray Powell, Dean and Bev Vander Wall, Dorothy Bonnefin, and Jaque Hickman.

"Dave was the greatest thing that ever happened to the Lone Pine Film Festival," regular guest Loren Janes, a founder of the Stuntmen's Association of motion pictures said in the L.A. Times last week. " He had great enthusiasm for Lone Pine and these films."

Kerry Powell commented, "Dave was the film festival, basically. He couldn't have done it without hundreds of volunteers, but he had a lot of ideas. He put it together, and we all backed him up as best we could."

dave holland 4c.jpgChris Langley remarked, "Dave was very generous with his time, sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with all of us. He was in his element when he was hiking up in the rocks looking for specific movie sites. Now, it is common on almost any weekend to run into film enthusiasts following in his footsteps looking for favorite movie locations."

The success of the Festival attracted the attention of Jim Rogers of Sunbelt Communications, who suggested a museum. While initial planning for the project was done by Holland, he moved to Santa Clarita in 2003 to be nearer his children. While the museum is in final construction, Dave Holland did not live to see this dream come true.

His passion for Lone Pine films and "The Alabama Rocks" will be missed by all who came in contact with him over the years. The Festival he began and the museum he dreamed about for many years will be his legacy.


William Wellman Jr. guest speaker at museum building inaugural dinner

CONTACT: Chris Langley Office: 760-876-9103   Cell: 760-937-1189   Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

September 13, 2005:

bill-wellman-candids1.jpgWe take for granted the annual picking of the Best Picture of the Year by the Academy of Arts and Sciences at the annual Oscars. It all began with the award being given to the film Wings, starring Gary Cooper, and Clara Bow that was directed by the master William A. Wellman.

Actor and producer William Wellman Jr., son of director William A. Wellman, will be the guest speaker at the dinner following the celebration of the completion of the Beverly and Jim Rogers building to house the Lone Pine Film History Museum.

While much work remains, the Museum is a dream come true for Lone Pine and the entire County of Inyo, for the museum, besides inheriting the mantel of the home of the B Western, will also celebrate and preserve the film heritage of the entire area from Bishop to Pearsonville, from the Sierra through Death Valley to Shoshone.

"While historically the Film Festival has focused on the area immediately around Lone Pine, the Museum's purview is wider," Chris Langley, Executive Director of the Museum commented. "We will widen our focus to include such films as Fritz Lang's classic western The Return of Frank James, which filmed outside of Bishop to Cecil B. DeMille's early film Chimmie Fadden Out West which we think filmed in Death Valley in 1915. That date makes it the first film to work in Inyo County as far as we know."

The ceremony will be at four o'clock on October 6 followed by a cocktail party and a dinner at the Museum site. Mr. Wellman will focus his talk on his book The First Best Picture, which is the story of his father's film Wings which won the very first Best Picture Oscar.

Bill Wellman will also talk about his dad's early career during which he worked with Clarence Badger , Will Rogers and Big Boy Guinn Williams, paying his dues as a prop man ultimately to take the helm for a western entitled The Man Who Won starring Dustin Farnum. The film was made on location in Lone Pine in 1923. Mr. Wellman returned to work here briefly for his film A Star Is Born in 1938.

In 1948, Wellman returned with Gregory Pecks, Richard Widmark and Anne Baxter during the heat of the summer to film the western Yellow Sky, one of the classic Lone Pine westerns. A very popular bus location tour is run each October at the Festival that highlights the sets and arastra from the film. A second unit for the Wellman film The Ox Bow Incident starring Henry Fonda and Anthony Quinn came on location to the Alabama Hills as well. In fact Wellman made over thirty westerns, but this aspect of his filmography is often overlooked because of his award winning non-western films.

A frequent visitor to Lone Pine and an enthusiastic supporter of the Festival, Bill Wellman Jr. actually spent the summer of his eleventh year on location with his dad in Lone Pine and has many interest memories of that time: of Peck, Baxter and the events surrounding the shoot which he recalled in an interview published in the Museum newsletter, Reel Stuff. The newsletter is mailed to all museum members.

The Members dinner is $50 and includes a commemorative wine goblet souvenir. One additional goblet can be purchased at half price along with the purchase of the Festival Souvenir button which features Tom Mix and Tony. Additional information or tickets for the event can be purchased by calling 760-876-9103, emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or going on line to the Festival store at www.lonepinefilmfestival.org.


Lone Pine Film History Museum constructions picks up steam

CONTACT: Chris Langley
Office: 760-876-9909 Cell: 760-937-1189 
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


September 09, 2005:

The question on Highway 395, Main Street Lone Pine has changed from "When will they start the Museum?" to "Will it be finished in time for the Festival?" Mike Keith of M and L Keith Construction, overseeing the project's progress, still feels the building will be finished in time. However, a slight problem had cropped up.

The 10,500 square foot Butler Building, a gift from Beverly and Jim Rogers of Sunbelt Communications to the community of Lone Pine and Inyo County, as well as western film fans across the world, is awaiting one structural piece: the walls. Mr. Rogers fell in love with the Lone Pine Film Festival several years ago, supporting the expense of guests for a few years.

Then one Sunday after a Festival more than five years ago, he suggested, "How about we build a museum to preserve and celebrate this wonderful American film heritage." With his enthusiasm, the town rallied around. Now Lone Pine is in the final stages of completing the first stage of the project. The Rogers Building is a structurally complete building except there WERE no walls.
When the special walls, being manufactured in Nashville did not arrive, it became apparent immediately that something had gone wrong. Keith informed the Museum Board that the truck carrying the three walls for this building, along with walls for two others, lost the load from the truck trailer and all the walls were destroyed. The walls would need to be manufactured again and shipped west, a delay of three weeks.
When Mike called to check up on the walls progress, he was told to look out his office window in Victorville. The manufacturer had been encouraged to put a rush on them. The truck driver drove across the country to make a three weeks delay into a miraculous three days. The walls were there!

The fourth wall is the old western film façade with the forty-foot tower proclaiming "Film Museum" for all to see as they drive by. The sign with be soft pastel neon and two strips of neon will cross the façade to create the feeling so reminiscent of those western film theaters of the 1930's and 1940's.

After having been through so many challenges, the Board is philosophical about it. Chris Langley, Executive Director, remarked, "We have struggled through one challenge after another. We are lucky we have so many talented people dedicating time and money to the project. We feel bad when the delays could have been AVOIDED.

There will be a celebration October 6th at 4 pm at the site. "Like a Hollywood thriller, we don't know what will be there on that day. We haven't seen the last reel of the film to see how it comes out." It was will be an exciting time, with a Ceremony at four, a cocktail party following and a sit down dinner for Museum members. The guest speakers will include Paramount Producer A.C. Lyles, a Museum Board member, and William Wellman, Jr. Bill Wellman will present a preview of his book The First Best Picture being published in January which tells the story of his director father's early career including his work in Lone Pine. He will also focus on the creation of Wings, which was the first film to win a Best Film Oscar. The Museum Board invites all our neighbors to come and celebrate with us. Call 760-876-9103 for dinner tickets.

Most of all, it will be a celebration of friends and supporters and a pause before the final push to the grand opening in early 2006. Until then there will be a "soft" opening as the Board likes to call it. Visitors will be allowed in as the museum tests the 12 video viewing areas, brings the sixty seat movie house on line and fine tunes the exhibits.

Many local individuals and businesses have helped along the way. Removing the diseased trees from the lot and building the pad for the slab was a large task and Art Hickman and Dave Haas were instrumental in getting that done. Brian Webb, a member of the Museum Board has served as an architectural consultant and he has had the answers when the questions arose. Jaque Hickman has been instrumental in overseeing the project and working through the permits and engineering.

Some of the other locals who have given hours of volunteer time and shared their professional expertise include Ron Bursell, Jim Petropolis, Jan Larsen, Miller's Towing, Alan Butler, Vic Jackson and many more. "It has truly been a community project," Jaque Hickman remarked.
The Museum has begun an on-going fundraising project and several sponsors have stepped forward with major donations to continue the work of assembling a Museum from scratch, creating exhibits and adding to the collection of artifacts through acquisition.

Of course, Beverly and Jim Rogers pledge one million dollars to see the building to completion and the opening of the facility. The Dow Villa Motel is a Premier Sponsor, Kerry Powell an Associate Sponsor, Carole Freeman and Sharon McBryde Supporting sponsors. The Museum Film Buff Sponsors include Gardner's True Value, Hickman Construction, Lone Pine Drug and La Florista. The Hollywood Foreign Press contributed $9000 in the form of a grant to make the Wild West Movie Theater possible.

Information on how you or your business can become a Museum sponsor or how to become active in on-going fundraising projects as a member of the museum can be obtained by calling the offices at 760-876-9909, e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or going on-line to www.museumoflonepinefilmhistory.org.

John Knowlton painting "Mayor of Bodie" fundraiser for Lone Pine museum

CONTACT: Chris Langley Office: 760-876-9103   Cell: 760-937-1189   Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


September 09, 2005:

Western artist John Knowlton knows western art and has captured the special local flavor of the Eastern Sierra Nevada area in many of his paintings. No painting better demonstrates this understanding than Knowlton's "Mr. Burro- Mayor of Bodie."

Knowlton has contributed this painting to the Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History and the painting will be given away at the 16th annual Lone Pine Film Festival to some lucky ticket holder. Tickets for the painting can be purchased at various businesses around town, and from Film Festival volunteers now and during the Festival. All donations will be contributed to the Museum coffers to be used in its work celebrating and preserving Inyo County's rich and diverse film heritage.

The Museum will be having its building inaugural on October 6 beginning at four o'clock on the museum grounds at 701 South Main Street. The short ceremony will be followed by a cocktail party and a dinner for members. William Wellman Jr. will be the guest speaker at the dinner and will be discussing his father's work. Director Wiulliam A. Wellman directed many classic films including Wings, the first movie ever awarded an Oscar for Best picture. Wellman's first feature directorial assignment was The Man Who Won, made in Lone Pine. Yellow Sky, starring Gregory Peck, Richard Widmark and Ann Baxter was made by Wellman on location in Lone Pine in the summer of 1948. Two other Wellman films shot scenes on location locally.

John Knowlton's painting is `18 x 24 inches and would be perfect on any wall. It shows a desert landscape, two red gasoline pumps and the "Mayor" himself posed near one. Tongue-in-cheek in style, the picture captures the quiet light and long shadows of a desert afternoon.

Tickets are availablable for five dollars a piece, three for ten dollars from Film Festival personnel, at the temporary museum office, Chamber of Commerce, La Florista or by calling 760-876-9103. The winner will be selected at the Closing Campfire Sunday night of the Festival, but the winner need not be present to win.


Thriller "Bone Dry" takes on the heat: Part 2

By Chris Langley, Inyo Film Commission

August 31, 2005

(Note: This is the second part of a series on the set of Bone Dry which filmed recently in Death Valley.)

As the director called again and again for retakes, the bees began to gather around the actor. He stayed in character, but concentration became more and more difficult as the bees landed on his arms and even on his face. He had joked, "I hope they aren't killer bees," but the insects were about to ruin getting the scene on film the way the director wished.hendricksen-on-location-.jpg
The star of the film is Lance Hendricksen who was doing his scene perched on the front of the monster machine overlooking Panamint. Hendricksen has a long filmography but you are most likely to remember him as the android Bishop from the film Aliens or Frank Black from the television series Millennium. He had a role in Into the West, which was on TNT a few weeks ago. The crew had laid down tracks for a dolly shot, and Director Bret Hart was riding the camera cart as Hendrickson delivered his monologue about the desert and his experiences in Desert Storm and the retreat from Baghdad.

The clapboard said "Scene 83, take one" and so it went. Director Hart reshot and reshot with feedback each time from the monitors about sound, speed of the dolly movement and focus. He knew exactly what he wanted on the screen and he was not willing to compromise even as the light began to fade over the Sierra and Lone Pine to the west.
Hendricksen has a deep resonant voice. Even though he was speaking in a quiet voice, his words carried across the silent landscape. His character had clearly suffered. There was a determined, if exhausted quality to his speech. Although this scene was in the middle of the film, it was clear that the two characters were locked in a bloody battle to the end.
In the scene, Hendricksen was to grab a canvas water bag, wet his kerchief and wipe his face and neck. The ever present make-up girl was ready to check his hair and make sure the fake scar on his forehead looked right even as he repeatedly took off his hat and wet his face in take after take.
As the shooting proceeded, the actor became wetter and wetter, a not unpleasant experience on a July afternoon near Towne's Pass. Unfortunately, yellow jackets (not bees) were slowly gathering, attracted to the moisture and finally a swarm of up to fifty were buzzing around him and landing on his sleeve and skin. The tension rose as Hendricksen began to swat away the pesky bees in between takes until he leapt off the hood, cursing the insects. I told him it was his wet shirt and the jacket he was wearing that were creating the problem. With fading light, the actor in retreat and no scene satisfactory to the director yet on film, everyone was on edge.
With a young crew of twenty-six, everyone seemed very enthusiastic on the project and ready to take on the challenges that lay ahead. Greg and Bret had both spoken glowingly of the crew. In the first few days they already proven their reliability and flexibility. They had gone about setting up for the shots framed in Bret's head, placing the equipment almost intuitively.


They were almost ready for first rehearsals when a white SUV drove up and everyone turned to welcome second lead Luke Goss who made a very Hollywood entrance. He'd hugged and, in the case of the few women on the crew, kissed his way across the location to say hello to Director Hart, Hendricksen and other crewmembers. He wasn't filming but had just showed up to offer greetings and support. Everyone seemed to know him; perhaps no more than in a Hollywood acquaintance way, but there was a brief sense of frivolity before they got back to work.
Goss had made his mark with his band Bros in England where his debut album sold almost five million. He followed his success in music with a book called I Owe You Nothing, which went to three printings. Then he turned to acting and had success as the vampire "suckhead" Nomak in Blade 2. When he announced he had just gotten off his cell to London, everyone, but particularly Hendricksen, expressed his or her jealousy and frustration with the cell service. None of them had been able to "get out," and they were clearly feeling "cut-off" and isolated, the feeling Hart was trying to evoke in the film.
When Goss turned to drive back to the motel, several crewmembers warned him about taking the short cut off the location because of his "sissy Hollywood car." He hesitated then turned and followed the regular dirt road back to 190.
To try discouraging the bees swarming around the actor, and get the Hendricksen scene finally finished, the car was moved and the coat was removed, a breeze came up and that helped. Hendricksen took his place again and they quickly yelled "Action!" Things went better, and in the fading light, the cinematographer "ok'd" the take and Director Hart called for the crane shots. The crew had been assembling the crane and the lighting director assured the director, that if need be, he could light the scene to get it finished.
The gentle breeze at 3000 feet on the side of the valley and the waning intensity of that sun made the shoot almost comfortable. The crew and actor were getting really tired, but they were ready to stay with the director and get what he wanted on film before they wrapped for the day.
With the two mantras of filming on location repeating in my mind: "Hurry up and wait," and "Time is money," my hopes were that the little thriller film Bone Dry would further the careers of those involved and provide the audience tense entertainment.


Contact Info

The Museum of Western Film History
701 S. Main Street
Lone Pine, CA 93545