Whatever happened to Randolph Scott?

By | Category: Travel destinations

So went the opening line of a song by the Statler Brothers as they bemoaned the decline of the western. Little did they know that his name- and that of countless other western film stars – lives on in at a museum called the Museum of Lone Pine Film History which is deep in the east of California in the Alabama Hills.
In fact the museum uses the song in a film presentation that they do of the glory days of B westerns when names only remembered by affecionados were king. Names like the Cisco Kid, Hopalong Cassidy, the Durango Kid, Hoot Gibson, Ken Maynard, Roy Rogers (and Trigger of course) and William S Hart are revered by the museum. Why?
Because a huge number of films were shot around the area. Hills, landscapes and boulders from countless westerns that you will recognise are to be found around here. Older readers might remember The Lone Ranger. The opening credits were shot in Lone Pine as was all of the Spencer Tracy classic, Bad Day at Black Rock. It wasn’t just westerns though. The film Tremors was shot here and the hills became the setting for British India in two films – The Lives of the Bengal Lancers and Gunga Din – but it was the western that prompted Beverley and Jim Rogers to open the museum in the town around which so many hundreds of westerns were shot.

Was this where Randolph caught the baddies?

Today in their museum you can see the stagecoach used in the old Clint Eastwood series, Rawhide, memorabilia from Roy Rogers and William Boyd who played the white haired, black clothed Hopalong Cassidy in the days where no “goodie” lost his hat during a fight and all the “baddies” wore black! There is the car used in the Humphrey Bogart classic, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, Indian army uniforms from Ginga Din plus countless guns and boots.
Costing just $5 to enter, its paradise for nostalgia buffs. Germans and Japanese make up the two largest overseas visitor groups as they head to Yosemite National Park in the summer months. We Brits and Irish are under-represented. Probably because we don’t know it’s there and not many of us go to this part of California.
Now you know about it, think about seeing the desert areas of California rather than the coastal cities. And take a diversion to make Randolph Scott and all the other wild-west heroes feel that all their fighting baddies wasn’t in vain!

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