Festival guest Billy King returns to join us for our 27th Film Festival to discuss and reminisce about his movie making experiences with William Boyd. As a 12-year-old, King co-starred in a total of four Hopalong Cassidy films, three filmed in the Alabama Hills in the late 1930’s. Billy will meet everyone, on the tour at different Lone Pine location, some new from last year’s festival "Billy King” tour. One of Cassidy’s films, with co-star Billy will be screened before the tour.
Friday : 3:30 PM
Biily King Remembers is a BUS Tour with tour guide, Don Kelsen. The bus will leave at 3:30 PM on Friday from the South Museum parking lot. Tour itself is 2.5 hours. Please note - Some walking on uneven ground – suggest wearing appropriate shoes. Bus accomodates 54 passengers.
SPECIAL PRESENTATION: Friday October 7 @ 2:30 in the Museum Theater -Don and Billy will screen scenes from Billy's Hopalong movies. A Q & A will follow.
About Don Kelsen...
Tour guide Don Kelsen, has been attending and learning about the Alabama Hills, film locations since the first festival in 1990. Inspiration for pin pointing filming locations comes from Don’s association with Festival co-founder Dave Holland and their work together on Dave’s first video: “On Location in Lone Pine”
We look forward to the recollections of Billy King as a 12 year-old boy working (as Artie, Buck Peters’ adolescent nephew) opposite William Boyd as Hoppy and George Hayes as Windy. Do not miss the opportunity to meet Mr. King !
A little Background...
Billy’s career started in Delano, California, when his father brought home a young mustang colt. The colt stood 14 hands high, was dark sorrel in the body with black mane and tail, and had three white stocking feet. He was named Tony.
Billy’s Dad was a professional muleskinner who trained Tony and taught Billy to show him in Northern California horse shows. Tony and Billy entered stock horse events and county fair horse shows. As a result of winning many local events Billy received a call from Hollywood producer Harry Sherman who had formed Harry Sherman Productions in 1935 to produce films based on Clarence Mulford's Bar 20 novels, featuring the character Hopalong Cassidy. Sherman was searching for a kid-cowboy for four of his upcoming Hoppy movies.
It was 1937 and Billy was in the 7th grade. Billy was asked to read a scene for director Lesley Selander. Selander approved and Sherman offered Billy a weekly salary. While Billy readily admits he absolutely had no acting ability at all, he declared, “But I could ride a horse.” Billy and his Dad promised to show up in Lone Pine, California, to shoot the first of four movies. It was Billy’s father’s suggestion that Tony be included in the contract.
Director Selander was very clear about the script. He would say, “Billy, you know the story and you live the life, so you can use your own words to express what you’re thinking. I want you to interact on the screen like you would if you were interacting with a real person.” Selander gave Billy self-assurance so the cameras could capture a kid who worshipped the Hoppy threesome on film.
After his brief four-film career, King finished high school, went to college, served in WWII as a naval pilot, married his college sweetheart and raised three children while working as an insurance executive. He earned a graduate degree in rhetoric and group dynamics, an Aristotelian pursuit, and taught college for 30 years at UC Davis.
From October 7th – 9th, 2016, Billy King will return to Lone Pine for the 27th annual Lone Pine Film Festival to share his wonderful remembrances. This year’s Festival pays tribute to the great Western Directors.
|John Gilliland as "Hoppy"
will be on hand
Billy King's good friend, "Hopalong" John Gilliland will join Billy and tour participants to re-visit the Lone Pine locations where Billy's movies with Hoppy were made. John will be wearing his accurate reproduction of Hoppy's outfit as it appeared in 1937 and 1938 and will be available to pose for location photos with Billy and the tour guests. John is a native Californian, a resident of Menlo Park, California, and a Lone Pine Film History Museum member and Festival participant since 2003.