I took a little road trip over the weekend along Highway 395. If you have ever seen any westerns, you will be familiar with the Lone Pine/Mount Whitney location. It was the setting of many a cowboy movie and television show, not to mention doubling as the North-West Frontier/Afghanistan in films like Gunga Din and Iron Man.
All in all, over 600 movies have been shot in the area. High Sierra, Tremors, Gladiator… and, of course, films starring Tom Mix, Buck Jones and others. (My beloved William S. Hart preferred shooting in Inceville, Victorville, etc.)
Naturally, I had to stop at the Lone Pine Film History Museum. It’s easy to find; right off the highway.
Admission is a suggested donation of $5 USD per person and there is a gift shop. There are no age restrictions but I would recommend keeping small children in sight as many of the displays are fragile. If you want to plan a visit, check out the museum’s website.
Of particular interest to silent film fans:
Tom Mix’s Britches
Keystone Cop Uniform (-ish)
And a whole room for silent films! Obviously, this pleased me greatly.
There are also displays dedicated to singing cowboys, Hopalong Cassidy, the Lone Ranger and western stuntmen. Yes, I did pose with the William Boyd cutout. In general, the museum is an excellent balance of films new and old, famous and obscure.
I know everyone gets excited about Los Angeles and its environs but if you want maximum California movie location bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong following the 395 from Hesperia to the state line and then proceeding to Carson City/Virginia City or Lake Tahoe. You’ll be driving across countryside used by just about every movie or TV cowboy from William S. Hart to Clint Eastwood and you won’t have to deal with the L.A. demolition derby. It’s a win-win.
“Do they have a display for XYZ?”
I’ll try to answer any questions as best I can but the museum is pretty stuffed with goodies and I’m sure I didn’t see everything. But look at the poster I spotted in the gift shop:
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