Saturday, February 29, 2020

A Joel McCrea Shootout Part 2 (The Alabama Hills Series)

(GPS: N36 35.995 W118 07.490)
(AKA The Shark Fin Hike Part 3)

Happy Leap Year Day! Lol!

This is the second part the Joel McCrea Shootout. Again, this gets a little confusing because I need three blogs to do this location, yet all three are the final part of the Shark Fin Hike series. If it does not make sense to you, then do not worry about it too much and just follow along.

In Cattle Empire, the bad cowboys attack Joel McCrea's cowboys. During this scene there are a lot of quick edits back and forth. I cut out all of that here, but I do show some of that in the video. Eventually, Joel and company get the upper hand when the group that Joel sent to set up the flanking attack charges. Which leads to this shot as the bad guys basically give up.
I mention this in the video that it appears that they shot this movie in the afternoon. I typically like to get to the Alabama Hills early in the morning. In this area, that is an issue because the sun hovers right into the direction of the camera when I am there in the morning. I learned my lesson on this, and the last time time I was there made sure to bring an umbrella to block some of the sunlight.  
 In the movie, our main villain does not give up and runs off into the following group of rocks.
 This is where the fun really starts to begin. Hopefully, you can match up some of the main rocks here with the above picture.
 At the start of this our main bad guy hides behind the following rock and takes a few shots at Joel McCrea
 In the following picture we have the perspective of Joel McCrea looking at the rock our bad guy is hiding behind.
Tomorrow I will wrap this up by showing Joel McCrea's perspective, where they try to outwit each other, and the final gunfight position.

A Joel McCrea Shootout (Youtube Video)

The music used from is called Stay the Course and Bittersweet.

Friday, February 28, 2020

A Joel McCrea Shootout Part 1 (The Alabama Hills Series)

(GPS: N36 35.995 W118 07.490)

(AKA The Shark Fin Hike Part 3)

This begins the climax of what I have been building to in the past few blogs. This is the third and ending part of The Shark Fin Hike series, but this particular location itself will take a few blogs for me to present everything. I'll probably have to re-edit these as I try to finish it up.

Over a decade ago I was watching the movie Cattle Empire (1958) with Joel McCrea. I did not really care for this movie very much. A lot of westerns use a variations of the same stories over and over. How they are executed though is the key. In the case of Cattle Empire it is the type of movie I would watch once because of Joel McCrea, but never watch again. However, they did one thing at the end for the climax of the movie that I really liked.

I told myself at the time that I would have to hunt down the location and do something for it on this blog. It was not a priority compared to other things I wanted to get done. I'll get to some of the obstacles in the next blog or two as to why it took me so long. Let us get started on the actual location.
 The movie starts on a town set, but it gradually has outdoor scenes for the cattle drive scenes. At the end, two opposing groups of cowboys fight it out here. The above rock formation was taken from the Cattle Empire movie. It has been seen in lots of movies in the background, but in this movie it is featured.
The bad guys show up on both sides of the above rock formation. Before that happens, Joel McCrea and his cowboys head to the following gully.
 This is our gully that they come to.
 When they arrive Joel's cowboys hide behind it. He eventually sends part of his cowboys off further to the west to set up what is a flanking attack from the side.
 This is another shot of the gully that will give you you some idea of how they used it here.
 I'll continue this in the next blog.

A Joel McCrea Shootout (Youtube Video)

The music used from is called Stay the Course and Bittersweet.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Tom Mix Hut(s) (The Alabama Hills Series)

(GPS: N36°35.790 W118°07.700)

(AKA The Shark Fin Hike Part 2)

So after spending some time at the Shark Fin rocks all one needs to do is continue on the trail past them to get to the next destination. When I did this hike on my own I could not remember how much further I needed to go since I had not been here in over a decade. After pulling around the corner of some rocks I came to this spot.
The following is a screenshot from the Tom Mix movie Riders of the Purple Sage made in 1925. In the movie Tom Mix climbs a mountainside and comes to these habitation huts.
My angle for this shot is a little off here, since I should be moving over to the left some to line it up when comparing it to the following picture:
However, if my memory is correct, I was using the following picture from a different scene that lines up better.

 I think that works:
In the movie, they have Tom Mix look over into a shot of Yosemite which is great in the movie, but nothing you would see from here. Remember he is supposed to be on an elevated mountain here that he climbed to.

As I state in the video, I always enjoy looking up the old silent film sites just to see if there are any traces of what once was. In this case, there is a lot! That I am thankful for. Eventually, I will show a site where I can tell you it is the right spot, but there is nothing left. That is typical for many silent movie locations.

The Tom Mix Hut (The Shark Fin Hike Part 2) Youtube Video

The music from is called Mister Exposition and Frogs Legs Rag.

Monday, February 17, 2020

The Shark Fin (The Alabama Hills Series)

(GPS: N36 35.930 W118 07.090)

 (AKA The Shark Fin Hike Part I)

It begins! This is the first part in a three part series. This is a good series for a beginner to the Alabama Hills, or someone who also wants to check out some other areas a little off the beaten path.

I've had to delay this series for a bunch of reasons. The obvious one was what I was talking about in the blog of December 2019. However, one of the big reasons I have not had as many Alabama Hills blogs in recent years has to do with the fact that many more people are showing up there and hanging out in the areas I would make videos at. It is hard for me to do things if there are people or vehicles in the spots I am going to. This has happened a bunch of times to me after driving a few hours to a spot only to find it occupied. I was going to say something about this in this first video, but I thought it would take too long, and I would sound a little too irritated. It is a little more complicated than the way I just described it. I'm going to wait until I go back in the next few months, and see how the situation is before I say anymore on this.

The GPS coordinates take you to where you can park right off of movie road. It is a very obvious spot you get to right as you enter the Alabama Hills from Whitney Portal Road onto Movie Road. More than likely you will encounter some vehicles here because the Shark Fin is used for rock climbing. That is what most people know it for. I am going to emphasize the movie location part of it for this blog.
It is pretty obvious where to go here. The sign tells you to park here because you are not to take in vehicles any further. So you do have to get those feet moving.
I have encountered rock climbers on the Shark Fin once or twice. Not always though. In the most recent time they were there I just bypassed them, and came back at another time. It is pretty typical to see this rock formation in the background of movies. I mention a Buck Jones serial in the video, The Roaring West, make in the 1930's that has it in the background.
The one serial that had it was the Hi-Yo Silver movie you can find on dvd. It was originally The Lone Ranger serial from 1938. It is the same movie that has the ambush in what they call "Lone Ranger Canyon" in the Alabama Hills. Here the rangers ride into their secret cave.
Of course, there really is not a cave there.

The Shark Fin (The Shark Fin Hike Part 1) on Youtube.

Music taken from that is used for the video is called Crowd Hammer.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Revolutionary War Reenactment (President's Day Weekend 2020)

If you have followed this blog from the old days, I have gone to the Civil War reenactment in Huntington Beach a few times. That one benefits from being on Labor Day weekend. I had never been to the Revolutionary War reenactment before which is over the Presidents' Day weekend. In the past, I would forget about it only to remember the weekend afterwards, it would conflict with something else, or, in the case of last year, I was taking care of mom.

This year I had already had a full weekend of stuff to do. I was not sure I would go until the very last moment. I got there early and could only stay a few hours, but I enjoyed it a lot. Maybe I can go for a full day next year.

When I arrived there was a church service that is always kind of fun. You are kind of back in time with a "this is real, but sort of not real" situation at the same time. Especially if you are a person of faith you kind of have those moments when attending something like this. Our good revolutionary era pastor educated us on the use of banners, the meaning of Jehovah-Nissi using the story of Exodus 17 with Moses holding his arms up with the battle against the Amalekites, etc. Praise songs were sung, and a closing prayer.

I headed over the British encampment after a group of British soldiers picked up a deserter. The guy in white was taken over to be court marshaled for leaving his post.
 Eyewitnesses were called back and forth. Apparently, he left his post and visited a bunch of ladies. The ladies tried to defend him, but he was found guilty. The sentence was death by firing squad.
 I left as they were taking him away. A few minutes later as I was in my chair I heard the firing squad shots, but did not look to back to see the fate of the victim.
 The above was part of a cannon demonstration. Very loud. As the battle took place a little later they kept firing these cannons.
 It was the Battle of White Plains in 1776. Some of the colonists headed out to the field.
 Some of the British kneel and fire!
 The colonists fire back!
 The colonists were not as disciplined during this period. Both sides had casualties, but the British came out on top during this battle. One of the colonist leaders presented a sword to the British leader present as a token of acknowledging the British victory.

I had walked around both camps earlier. In the main area, in the middle of everything they had many things people were selling if you are into that period. George Washington and Ben Franklin were scheduled to speak, but I left not to long after the battle since I had scheduled other things today.

I really liked this. It felt a little smaller compared to what takes place on Civil War reenactment on Labor Day Weekend. The good news is a lot of people were there during the battle so I think more people were there as the day went on. So, hopefully, I can come back next year.

The HB Historical Society

The HB Historical Society Revolution Page

Next up! The series I have been waiting a very long time to get moving on! I think you will like this one.