Construction Progress on The Museum January 12, 2006
February 19, 2006:
A weekend celebration of the completion of the Jim and Beverly Rogers Building for the Lone Pine Film History Museum will take place on June 16th and 17th in conjunction with the annual dinner-concert in the Alabama Hills at Lone Ranger Canyon.
Plans for various actrivities are now being made and will be announced soon.
The museum will be open in April with a small commemorative ceremony. This will be the beginning of the "soft" or shakedown operations. Many of the exhibits will be installed but finally details and testing of the projection and technical equipment will be underway.
In the evening there will be the gourmet banquet out in the rocks at the location where the Lone Ranger made his first film appearance, right where John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Errol Flynn and Gary Cooper all worked. The event will be capped by a concert out under the western stars.
Be sure to save this weekend for a once in a lifetime experience: the Grand Opening of the Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History. Check the back at this site as plans are announced.
Many have wondered what a visit to the Museum will be like. What follows explains the plans for the museum in more detail.
As you approach the museum it is like walking back in time to the Saturday afternoon Bijou of the past. The façade is modeled after a real western art deco theater in Montana. A movie palace restoration artist created the neon sign and bands along with the six illuminated poster cases.
As you walk in, the beautiful fully restored movie stagecoach actually used in Lone Pine dominates the lobby. An interpretive exhibit explains the history of the stagecoach in settling the west, as well as Lone Pine film that feature a stagecoach. To you left is the Museum Store feature unique western gifts and film history memorabilia. Behind the store is the Museum Director's Office. To the right there are poster displays and exhibits on western film on the
wall of the Wild West Movie Theater.
As you enter the west exhibit area, you see a display featuring a Lone Ranger costume with benches on all sides. To your right you explore a major theme of westerns, the struggle to control water and land. The exhibit explored this theme in Roy Rogers's first starring role: Under Western Stars and other B westerns. The exhibit also tells the history of water in the local area.
As the visitor moves to the left, an exhibit explores the making of Gunga Din, Lone Pine's Hallmark film. "From Classic Poem to Classic Film: the Process of Creating a Movie" explores the many stepped process in creating a film from beginning to end using Gunga Din as an example.
Next is the Rogers Western Art Gallery featuring thematic selections from the Jim Rogers western art collection, displayed on a rotating basis.
The Badmen of Lone Pine: Villains from Black Hats to Psychos tells the story of the many villainous actors and actresses who made us his, boo and shudder when they appeared on the screen. Wallace Beery, Roy Barcroft, Pierce Leyden, Robert Mitchum, gangster Humphrey Bogart, The Hitchhiker William Talman, and Brad Pitt in Kalifornia are all there, Of special interest to film and car buffs alike is the car seen prominently in High Sierra driven by Bogart up the mountain to his death,
Science Fiction films are featured next. Costumes, posters, props and stills tell the story of Star Trek 5 and 7, Crossworlds and the Lone Pine connection to the Star Wars saga, Then you turn to your left just in time to jump at the actual "exploding head graboid," the Tremors worm given to us by Universal Studios. The Chang's store miniature and other props and pictures tell the story of how Hollywood makes the horrific very believable.
As we turn south, we see the Rogers Collection Of Silver Saddles in front of the flag from the fort of The Charge of the Light Brigade starring Errol Flynn and David Niven. Lone Pine hero Tex Ritter's saddle is on display as well.
The visitor rides on to the Red Dog Ghost Town named after the famous set from the 1930 sound musical Song of the West made here. You enter the Ghost Town to meet many of our western heroes, their stories told on a rotating basis with pictures, artifacts and film clips.
Nestled in front of the Ghost Town is the car from Trail to San Antone, from the Rogers Automobile Museum in Las Vegas. The work of stunt man Joe Yrigoyen, star Queen of the West Peggy Stewart and the singing cowboy Gene Autry are limned in this exhibit with posters, props and stills from their careers.
Now straight ahead is the Historic Costume Wardrobe Department, featuring the actual wardrobe from the career of Joie Hutchinson, Emmy winning designer as well as costumes from the B westerns and Asian epics including King of the Khyber Rifles.
Our films have always been about the kids in the audience and the future of the western remains with them. The Children's Discovery Room encourages kids to work on projects to understand better the principles of optics that make films work, doing crayon rubbings of props and western artifacts, as well as lounging on bean bag chairs while their parents explore their memories of the films of and heroes of yesteryear.
The final exhibits, Behind the Action and Behind the Camera, explore two aspects of the movie business: Stunt Men and Women and the directors. Loren Janes has given the Museum many pieces of his equipment he used preparing for stunts. The exhibit also illuminates the eight-step process from concept to final performance of a stunt for the movie How the West Was Won. Two directors are highlighted in the second exhibit. The Wellman family has made William A. Wellman's director's chair, annotated script for Yellow Sky and several other objects available. The William Witney family has presented several pieces as well including a director's chair, prop box and other material to explain Witney's development of the choreographed fight, that Quentin Tarrantino credits with making possible the popular action films today.
Many other stages of construction remain to be accomplished by the town of Lone Pine. The Museum site and the town property next door will become known as the Heritage Hub, a set of outdoor displays that further explain the local historical and cultural heritage of the area. The Heritage Park area will also include a baseball park, abuts the Willy Bonham Memorial Rodeo Grounds and will be the center of bike and walking trails called the Southern Inyo Heritage Trail. The Film History Museum becomes the central "anchor" to the development of the southern area of the town. Eventually an outdoor amphitheatre for summer walk in outdoor movies and various campfire performances will be constructed on the Museum lands itself.
Truly, the Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine History will become the showplace of the area, a community center, and a cultural and recreationally attraction to the many tourists visiting the area.