William Witney (May 15, 1915 – March 17 2002) was an American film and television director. He is best remembered for the movie serials he co-directed with John English for Republic Pictures such as Daredevils of the Red Circle, Zorro's Fighting Legion and Drums of Fu Manchu as well as ''Lone Ranger,'' ''Dick Tracy'' and ''Captain Marvel.'' He also directed hundreds of episodes of ''Lassie,'' ''Wagon Train,'' ''Bonanza'' and other television shows.
Witney directed many B-Westerns during the 1940's and 50's and is credited with devising the modern system of filming movie fight sequences in a series of carefully choreographed shots, which he patterned after the musical sequences of American director Busby Berkeley. Prolific and pugnacious, Witney began directing while still in his 20s, and continued until 1982 directing more than 60 feature films during a 40-year career.
Quentin Tarantino singles out Witney as one of his favorite directors, particularly for The Golden Stallion (1949), a Roy Rogers vehicle. ''You have to have made movies for 30 years to be able to move the camera so unpretentiously,'' the director Quentin Tarantino said of Mr. Witney in The New York Times in 2000.
Born in Oklahoma in 1915, Witney broke into the business in 1933, working at Mascot, the leading producer of low-budget serials. After Mascot and other small companies merged in 1935 to form Republic, Witney graduated to director (at 21, he was Hollywood's youngest). Retired since the late 1970s, Witney authored two books, "In a Door, Into a Fight, Out a Door, Into a Chase" (about his serial directing career) and "Trigger Remembered" (about Roy Rogers' famed movie horse)
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