Saturday, November 10, 2018

Tom Tyler at Lone Pine Studios

The city of Lone Pine, California is located in the Alabama Hills, adjoining the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range. Sometimes referred to as the Alabamas, this part of Owens Valley is the original “God’s Country”, and breathtaking to view, its rugged beauty perfect for filming any type of movie there. For almost a hundred years, this majestic land has attracted Hollywood filmmakers; of the seven movies filmed here that Tom Tyler appeared in, only one was a non-western, “Samson and Delilah” (1949). From a geologic standpoint, this region is diverse, containing enormous granites, glaciers, faults, and earthquakes which create a changing landscape over time. The Alabama Hills are the result of an earthquake that took place back in 1872. From a distance, one can marvel at the red and purple hued mountains with their snowy peaks climbing past the clouds. The highest peak of the Alabamas is 5,354 feet, the terrain a challenge to navigate. More often than not, filmmaking cast and crew had to travel on horseback and caravan during the early years of movies made at Lone Pine Studios. The first movie filmed at Lone Pine was “The Round-Up” (1920) starring Roscoe Arbuckle and Wallace Beery.

The Phantom of the Range 1936
Tom’s first movie filmed at Lone Pine Studios was “Splitting the Breeze” (1927), and the cast and entire filming crew spent three weeks there for the filming of “Splitting the Breeze”. All members got to travel on horseback and caravan throughout the rocky region. As an interesting piece of trivia: “Splitting the Breeze” was shown to a group of budding screenwriters at Columbia University in New York and encouraged to compose a story for Tom's next FBO film. Unfortunately “Splitting the Breeze” remains a lost silent film. Two more starring roles for Tom filmed at Lone Pine were “The Phantom of the Range” (1936) and “Rip Roarin’ Buckaroo” (1936), followed by minor and bit roles, mostly westerns.

Rip Roarin' Buckaroo 1936
Nowadays Lone Pine also serves as a recreational area for camping, hiking and other outdoor activities, in addition to filmmaking. There is also a museum, Museum of Western Film History in Lone Pine which contains a rich history  that all fans of westerns will appreciate. The Lone Pine Film Festival is held every October around Columbus Day, showcasing movies and is open to the public.

Following is the complete list of films Tom Tyler appeared in which were made at Lone Pine Studios:

Splitting the Breeze 1927
The Phantom of the Range 1936
Rip Roarin’ Buckaroo 1936
Light of Western Stars 1940
Border Vigilantes 1941
Masked Raiders 1949
Samson and Delilah 1949

Light of the Western Stars 1940


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