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Lone Pine and the Movies

Posted in Murania Press on September 27, 2019 @ 3:39 pm

The very first publication from Murania Press appeared in October 2003. No, it wasn’t an issue of Blood ‘n’ Thunder; at that time the zine was still being published under the auspices of MGT Media Services, a company operated by BnT co-founder Mark Trost. The first Murania Press product was a 32-page pamphlet titled Lone Pine in the Movies. I had put it together for distribution at that year’s Lone Pine Film Festival.

Long-time followers of this blog will remember that Lone Pine is a small town about 200 miles north and east of Los Angeles, nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, practically in the shadow of Mount Whitney. Lone Pine and its nearby Alabama Hills—picturesque formations of granite boulders spewed across the countryside during a pre-historic volcanic eruption—have been used by Hollywood filmmakers for location shooting since at least 1920. While many classic “A” films have been lensed in the area (among them Gunga Din, High Sierra, and Bad Day at Black Rock), Lone Pine has been employed mostly in Westerns; every major cowboy star and most of the minor ones worked there at least once. More than half of the 66 Hopalong Cassidy feature films were shot there in whole or in part.

In 1990 a few of the town’s prominent citizens organized a weekend-long tribute to Lone Pine’s movie history. That first Lone Pine Film Festival was conceived as a one-shot affair during which some of the above-mentioned motion pictures were screened. The Festival was a rousing success and became an annual event. I got involved in 1993 by loaning rare 16mm prints from my collection for exhibition at the confab. Ten years later, I decided to create a magazine celebrating Lone Pine’s role in Hollywood history.

The 2003 edition of Lone Pine in the Movies sold out at the Festival and I produced subsequent annuals through 2012, when I relinquished the copyrights and editorial control to the recently established Lone Pine Museum of Film History. The Museum’s mission statement called for a concentration of interest in movies made in the area, but several years ago it was revised to focus on Western movies specifically, and not only those filmed in the Alabama Hills. At that time the magazine’s title was changed to Lone Pine and the Movies.

Editorial chores were assumed by my old friend Packy Smith, who’d been Film Coordinator of the Festival since its inception. Following his untimely death late last year, the Museum’s newly installed director asked me if I would be willing to sit in the editor’s chair once more. I could hardly refuse.

So now, once again, Lone Pine and the Movies is being produced by Murania Press. The 2019 edition, which will “technically” debut on October 10th at this year’s Film Festival, is now available from me directly. You can read about and order it here.




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