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Monday, July 22, 2019



“Writing a Western” in the Twenty First Century with Scott Harris and Wyatt McCrea


“Writing a Western” in the Twenty First Century with Scott Harris and Wyatt McCrea

The “Western”, as a genre, is uniquely American and an icon. Images of the Old West are burned into our psyche through film and books. No doubt, some of what many of us accept as fact, is more legend or myth, but no less powerful as a result – and certainly no less entertaining.

The West is something that floated throughout our history. To those who first landed here, having sailed in on the Atlantic, present day Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee represented the West. As we rolled westward as a nation, so did our idea of where the West is, until it bumped up against the Pacific Ocean.

But for most of us, when we think of the West, we think of a time following the Civil War and ending right around the beginning of the 20th century. From north to south, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Texas are the beginning of the West. No doubt, most of our first thoughts go to cowboys on horseback and that certainly was the reality for many, but not all. Every walk of life was represented in western towns and cities, many of which sprouted with the discovery of gold or silver, and died off just as quickly. Indians, now known as Native Americans, played a huge role in our “taming of the West.”

If we look at the traditional Old West and we think of the great writers, many of us turn to Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour who were the giants of the western novels. But there were others. Larry McMurtry, the Elmores (Kelton and Leonard), Luke Short, Robert B. Parker and Charles Portis, among dozens of others.

In the Twentieth Century, Westerns were critical in the emerging film industry with Hollywood capturing—or maybe creating—the myths and putting them on film. The Western has at times been the most dominant genre (television in the 1950’s and 1960’s) and has also faded. But it always seems to come back (think Kevin Costner and Dances with Wolves) and is currently experiencing a bit of a resurgence with major motion pictures, a variety of cable television shows, and exploding book sales.

Scott and Wyatt will talk about these challenges and opportunities and how they—and so many others—are working to keep the genre alive. 

About Wyatt McCrea

Wyatt McCrea is the oldest grandchild of the late actor Joel McCrea and his actress wife Frances Dee. He is the co-owner of Third Point Productions. Wyatt served as Associate Producer for the series “Gen’s Guiltless Gourmet”, formerly featured on the ION Network, and he serves as Executive Producer for several projects currently under development or in production, including the 2017 release of the documentary – “Floating Horses – The Story of Casey Tibbs”.

Wyatt was featured as Deputy Walt Tyler in the 2015 western feature “Canyon Trail”. He has appeared in both print and internet advertising, on the cable series “Call 911”, on the History channel’s series “Big History”, as well as various local and regional commercials.

He is a two-time Western Heritage Awards co-emcee with Ernest Borgnine and Lou Diamond Phillips and a two-time Western Music Association Awards co-emcee. Wyatt enjoys participating in various film festivals and giving presentations in an ongoing effort to preserve the history of his film making grandparents. Over the years, Wyatt has also been active in the family ranching and farming interests. He is a founding member and board president of the Joel and Frances McCrea Ranch Foundation; serves on the Board of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum; is a past member of the Executive Committee of the Golden Boot Awards; is a Board Member of the Will Rogers Ranch Foundation; a Board Member and past board president of RideOn Therapeutic Horsemanship; member of the American Quarter Horse Association (Life Member), NMMI Alumni Association (Life Member); and a member of the Advisory Board for the Boys and Girls Club of Camarillo, CA.

In 2013, Wyatt worked with biographer, Tony Thomas to bring us Joel McCrea: A Film History; a biographical essay and comprehensive filmography on one of Hollywood’s finest actors, Joel McCrea. In 2016 Wyatt partnered up with Writer and Historian, Ed Hulse to publish Francis Dee: A Film History about his grandmother and one of Hollywood’s most talented and beautiful actresses. 

About Scott Harris

Award-winning and best-selling Western author Scott Harris is a lifelong Western enthusiast who traces his love of Western fiction back to his childhood days of reading Louis L’Amour novels.

Harris has published four novels this year, along with a collection of short stories, and variety of other fiction and non-fiction Westerns. Harris, who loves nothing more than settling into his hammock with a glass of bourbon, a cigar and great Western, has created a Western world filled with fascinating and exciting characters. The Brock Clemons Western series follows the tale of Brock Clemons and his journey into the West accompanied by his horse, “Horse,” and wolf, “Wolf.” The Brock Clemons story, especially when he is joined by his new wife Sophie and his adopted son Huck, is one of bravery, adventure and romance, transporting readers back to a time when chivalry, courage and gun fights ruled the day in the West. 

Hi-Yo Silver

Hi-Yo Silver (1940) - Introduced by Ed Hulse

Screening & Panel
High School Auditorium
Friday 9:00 AM

In a special program on Friday morning celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the Lone Ranger serial, the 1940 edited feature version of The Lone Ranger, will screen at 9:00 AM. Following the screening there will be a discussion about the serial’s making. The participants will include film historian Ed Hulse and Jay Dee Witney, son of William Witney, co-director of the serial and a previous guest at the Lone Pine Film Festival. Since Hi-Yo Silver was last screened here, Ed has come into possession of documents related to all aspects of production, including the original contract between Republic Pictures and George W. Trendle, owner of the Lone Ranger property. Heretofore unreported information gleaned from these documents will be presented exclusively for Film Festival attendees. Jay Dee will offer anecdotes from his dad about the serial’s making and let us know how important a role this classic film played in Bill Witney’s career.

Hi Yo Silver Lobby 2

Eighty years ago this very weekend, movie-theater patrons in America and many foreign countries were following Republic Pictures' 15-chapter serial, The Lone Ranger, then just finishing its first-run engagements. A phenomenal success, it was the only Republic chapter play to generate more than a million dollars in worldwide revenue—at a time when Saturday-matinee attendees typically paid 10 to 15 cents for admission. This adaptation of the popular radio series was cut down to 69 minutes for release in 1940 as a feature film titled Hi-Yo Silver, which has been preserved from its original 35mm negative. (The serial versions of both The Lone Ranger and its 1939 sequel, The Lone Ranger Rides Again, survive only in pale, blurry copies of 16mm prints with Spanish subtitles.) A 16mm show print was struck from the preservation material solely for exhibition at a previous Lone Pine Film Festival and has since been released on DVD

Hi Yo Silver

Hulse, one of the Festival's resident film historians, has recently obtained copies of heretofore unavailable documents related to The Lone Ranger's production, which took place largely in Lone Pine. This treasure trove of behind-the-scenes information—including contracts, budgets, schedules, memos, telegrams, lawyers' letters, and personal correspondence—was unearthed from the archives of WXYZ owner George W. Trendle by indefatigable Old Time Radio researcher Martin Grams, who is currently writing what will be the definitive book on the Masked Rider of the Plains in all his media incarnations. With Martin's permission Ed will present much of this never-before-disseminated information to accompany our 80th anniversary screening of Hi-Yo Silver.

Ed Hulse

Ed Hulse has been a journalist and film historian for nearly 40 years. His essays, reviews, and news stories about the home-video and motion-picture industries have appeared in such mainstream publications as Premiere, Entertainment Weekly, Video Review, The New Yorker, and The New York Times in addition to the trade journals Variety, Millimeter, Video Business, and This Week in Consumer Electronics. During the late 1980s his work was syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group. For four years he edited the consumer magazine Previews, a monthly guide to new video releases. He has co-edited (with Packy Smith) the revised and expanded 1994 version of Don Miller's Hollywood Corral and was a contributing editor to Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia. Between 2000 and 2007 he was the lead critic and celebrity interviewer for the Film/Video section of Barnes&Noble.com. For 15 years he edited and published the award-winning journal Blood 'n' Thunder, which covered adventure, mystery and melodrama in American pop-culture media of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

WILD WEST cover 72 dpi

Additionally, Hulse is the author of The Films of Betty Grable (1996), Filming the West of Zane Grey (2007), Frances Dee: A Film History (2016), Flickering Shadows (2016) and The Wild West of Fiction and Film (2018). He has also written a two-volume history of silent-era movie serials, Distressed Damsels and Masked  Marauders (2013) and Handsome Heroes and Vicious Villains (2015). For nearly four years he hosted Movie Mania, the nation's first public-access cable TV show devoted exclusively to motion pictures. For many years he has participated in the Lone Pine Film Festival and was the founder and original editor of Lone Pine in the Movies. His latest book on motion-picture history is Wage Slaves in the Dream Factory: Low-Budget Filmmaking During Hollywood's Golden Age.

Additional publications of Ed's can be found at his website: http://muraniapress.com/ 


Event Tickets

October 10-13

30th Anniversary Celebration

Website update &
Ticket Information

Mid June 2019




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