Early in 1937, a young film editor went on-location to St. George, Utah, for the filming of Republic’s The Painted Stallion. Rain and cast problems put the production hopelessly behind schedule. The studio summarily fired the director and replaced him with the film editor. Thus was born the career of one of Hollywood’s most famous serial directors, Bill Witney.William_Witney_Photo
Witney went on to direct or codirect 23 Republic serials, working with such stars as William Benedict, Hoot Gibson, Bela Lugosi, and Noah Beery, Sr. Witney’s output included some of the most famous cliffhangers of the era, such as Adventures of Red Ryder, Spy Smasher, Drums of Fu Manchu, The Lone Ranger, and The Lone Ranger Rides Again. Though he enjoyed a long career as a feature film and television director, it is the Republic serials for which he is best remembered. This engaging story is a behind-the-scenes look at the heyday of the Hollywood cliffhanger, the making of the movies, and the people involved in them.
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