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Alabama Hills, The Hollywood of the Sierra

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Alabama Hills, The Hollywood of the Sierra

Postby Vaca Russ » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:21 am

These hills were named for the confederate ship CSS Alabama. This ship was built by the British to raid and fight American ships and American sailors.

Fortunately the heroic sailors of the U.S. Navy’s USS Kearsarge battled and sank this rebel vessel in June, 1864.

The popularity of these hills however, started during the heyday of Hollywood. The distinctive contours of the peculiarly shaped, bronze-colored rocks, backed by Mount Whitney and the majestic, snow covered Sierra Nevada, offered a spectacular setting for countless Hollywood tales of the old west.

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These hills served as the backdrop to many, many Hollywood movies including:

1. Kim
2. King of the Kyber Rifles
3. North to Alaska
4. Tycoon
5. Rawhide
6. The Long, Long Trailer
7. The Great Race
8. Brigham Young
9. The Gun Fighter
10. Thunder in the Sun
11. The Loves of Carmen
12. Comanche Station
13. Under the Western Stars

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They also filmed many TV Series, including:

1. Have Gun Will Travel
2. Wagon Train
3. Wild Bill Hickock
4. Gunsmoke
5. Cimarron Strip
6. Bonanza

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Recent Movies include Tremors, Star Trek V, Ironman and weeks ago we rented Tarantino’s Django Unchained and saw some scenes shot here in an obvious director’s homage to the history of Hollywood.

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To be continued….
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway



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Re: Alabama Hills, The Hollywood of the Sierra

Postby Vaca Russ » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:27 am

More Pictures…

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Thanks go out to my ace photographer “Sport”.

I hope you enjoyed our post.

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: Alabama Hills, The Hollywood of the Sierra

Postby rlown » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:01 am

Wow! you should go on vacation more often. I've read and loved all your reports.

Thanks to you and yours!

russ
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Re: Alabama Hills, The Hollywood of the Sierra

Postby kd6swa » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:14 am

You guys were close to Komoku's place at Adobe Flat. (Hi Hi)

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Re: Alabama Hills, The Hollywood of the Sierra

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:47 am

Nice report. Indeed many of us Sierran folks recognize the Alabama Hills as well as other features in various movies.

The Alabama Hills have certainly been the backdrop for many westerns, but the Alabama Hills-Whitney backdrop was also used for a movie that pretty much featured the setting as is (in other words, the backdrop was in fact supposed to be the Alabama Hills and Whitney instead of posing for something else). It has been a long time since I saw the movie, but I recall it's something like High Sierra or something like that. I seem to recall that Bogart was the lead guy, too, but I could be wrong. The movie ends with a shoot out above Whitney Portal.

A more recent (90's?) movie I recall was one of the Star Trek Next Generation movies where they shot some of it up at Sabrina Lake. I remember interviews with the actors/actresses and some were whining about the thin air and how exhausting it was to work at altitude.

In any case, it is extra fun for Sierra enthusiasts to see the range in various movies.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Alabama Hills, The Hollywood of the Sierra

Postby rlown » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:59 am

IMDB will answer all your movie trivia questions: http://www.imdb.com/search/text?realm=t ... bama+hills

I didn't cross index it with Bogart, but there's quite a list. Clint would probably know. He was up there for quite a few shoots.
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Re: Alabama Hills, The Hollywood of the Sierra

Postby Vaca Russ » Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:18 pm

giantbrookie wrote:... it's something like High Sierra or something like that. I seem to recall that Bogart was the lead guy, too, but I could be wrong. The movie ends with a shoot out above Whitney Portal.


John, you nailed it! Look at the third picture. It is a map of where some movies were filmed. Look at the top middle between "Whitney Portal" and "Maverick". It is a little blurry but it says "High Sierra" "Humphrey Bogart". :nod:

I didn't include the movies in this picture in the text of my report.

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: Alabama Hills, The Hollywood of the Sierra

Postby LMBSGV » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:47 pm

Vaca Russ, thanks for this fascinating post. In regards to High Sierra, the Bogart/Ida Lupino film directed by Raoul Walsh, my memory of the final chase scene is that it's the Horseshoe Meadow road when it was still dirt. Turner Classic Movies shows this a lot, so I need to record it the next time it's on.
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Re: Alabama Hills, The Hollywood of the Sierra

Postby TehipiteTom » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:42 am

This guy does a lot of exhaustive research pinning down precise movie locations, especially (but not exclusively) in the Eastern Sierra/Owens Valley. It's fascinating reading, if you love movies and love the California landscape.
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Re: Alabama Hills, The Hollywood of the Sierra

Postby markskor » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:42 am

Somewhat related, and since things are kinda slow…
Many decades ago, living in the Hollywood Hills, my buddy/ roommate was working as a prop man, mostly TV commercials. On bigger jobs, he sometimes gave me some work, aka, as his asst. prop man. Remember the “Take the Nestea Plunge” ads? We built/framed out some of the pools, set up various locations, and printed an assortment of signs (IE, Karate School)…whatever. Long story short, that summer, someone in the movie business thought it a great idea to shoot a ~feature-length Indi Western p0rno film, all set in the Alabama Hills. My friend got the Prop job, and threw me 2-weeks location work, in Lone Pine. The working title then was “Whoa Buck”.

As before, our job was to set up locations pre-camera… (Hide graffiti, set up false fronts, provide accurate period accents/props/clothes…and position all the “Ride-Bys”). For those who do are not familiar with Ride-Bys, that is where you set up a camera and have the posse or whoever ride on by…(A good way to add filler moments to a film). Every time I see a Western now and see one…makes me laugh.

In town, the film crew stayed at the Double J (maybe it was the Double D?) Motor Lodge, right across from Bobo’s Bonanza, our usual dinner place. (Interesting that even when conversing with the Lone Pine residents, we never told the locals it was going to be a p0rno film.)
For two weeks we filmed many diverse locations all around the area, the back roads of the Alabama Hills and even into Death Valley. Unfortunately, almost at the end of the shoot, some local Drovers (hired to transport the stock animals)…one of them fell asleep at the wheel on 395, overturned the trailer, and killed the hero’s horse (Buck) and a few other animals too. Things sort of fell apart then…went home…never saw the finished film (if indeed it was ever completed.) Whoa Buck!
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