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Getting the celebrity guests to where they belong on time at the Film festivalis the task of the “Star Wrangler.” It often requires the combined talents of a mother, a first grade teacher and a psychologist to keep all the talented yet disparate people on schedule It was one of those busy days at Lo-Inyo School in Lone Pine when everyone was trying to get every lesson covered in an effective way. Schools function on schedules, organization and efficiency. When I found out my classroom was going to be disrupted by a trip to the Lone Pine Airport, I was a little unsettled. So a world-class celebrity was going to stop by. What learning would come of that? I had to admit, however, I was curious.rand brooks.jpg

The day was busy and things were going ok but the Star Wrangler at the Lone Pine Film Festival was feeling tired, a little harried and frustrated. To someone sensitive or perceptive, the telltale droop of the shoulders and wrinkled brow were noticeable. The star came in, took one look and whisked the woman around the room in an elegant waltz, cheering her up and energizing her for the next couple of hours.

With a laugh, a twinkle of the eye and a kind voice, Rand Brooks, a playful gentleman, helped Sandy Langley get everyone where they needed to be..

Rand died on September first of cancer at the age of 84. He will be remembered fondly in Lone Pine where he worked many times in the movies.

Rand was born a Los Angelino and died at his ranch in Santa Inez, where he had retired with his wife Hermine to raise horses following an award winning second career with his company Professional Ambulance Service of Glendale, which he started in 1966.

In films, Rand’s most famous role was as Charles Hamilton, Scarlet O’Hara’s first husband in Gone with the Wind. Here in Lone Pine, we best remember him as Lucky, the eternally-smitten-with-love-at-first-sight sidekick to Hopalong Cassidy in the last 12 of the film series.

Rand broke into movies in an uncredited role in Love Finds Andy Hardy in 1938.

He made it to Lone Pine in the second of his Hoppy films, The Devil’s Playground (1946) as the famous Lucky Jenkins. The film is being shown Friday October 10th, 10:00 am at the High School Auditorium and you can see for yourself if it was the Lucky role that Rand was talking about when referring to the struggle to overcome his GWTW character.

“Charlie didn’t help my career. It hurt it. At the time it was such an asinine role. He was so in love it was sickening. I got typecast that way.”

Other Hoppy films made in Lone Pine with Rand include: Unexpected Guest (1947), Dangerous Venture (1947), Silent Conflict (1948), The Dead Don’t Dream (1948), Borrowed Trouble (1948), False Paradise (1948), and Strange Gamble (1948).

Rand was back in Lone Pine in 1949, starring with Roddy McDowell in the classic horse story Black Midnight. Again, in 1953, he played John Grant in Born to the Saddle with Chuck Courtney and then again in Comanche Station (1960) playing the Station Man with lead Randolph Scott.

Rand was present in Lone Pine for a first in television history, the first color episode of The Lone Ranger series. He played Al Sommers in an episode called “The Wooden Gun” about a boy and a wooden rifle and some real rifles.

Rand television credits are long and range from various western series like The Roy Rogers Show, Adventures of Wild Bill Hickock to Perry Mason and Adam 12. While he did seem to resent the romantic stero-type he was cast into, Rand did get to give Marilyn Monroe her first screen kiss in Ladies of the Chorus (1948).

Rand’s playful nature was always on view to anyone who knew him here in Lone Pine. Friendly, outgoing yet gentle, Rand was the perfect gentleman at the Hopalong celebration, both at the dinner at Ruiz Hill and later at the screening of the movie not far from Cooper Rock. However, he began to realize that he was getting a little too old still to be tromping around the Alabamas.

Rand began his ambulance service with two used ambulances and a credit card, but the company grew to the largest private ambulance 9-1-1 paramedic provider in Los Angeles County. During his ownership the ambulance service won several awards, commendations and was considered one of the best in the country. Rand and his wife Hermine, an executive with the company, sold the company in 1995. They had two children, a daughter and a son, Rand Brooks, Jr.

Lone Pine audiences will remember Rand as Lucky Jenkins, sweet and constantly lovelorn, but those of us who work behind the scenes at the Festival will remember him as a playful gentleman, always ready with positive or kind words of encouragement.

(Chris Langley can be reached at 760-937-1189 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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The Museum of Western Film History
701 S. Main Street
Lone Pine, CA 93545
760-876-9909