In a Door, into a Fight, Out a Door, into a Chase

Moviemaking Remembered by the Guy at the Door

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About the Book

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.
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.

About the Author(s)

The late William Witney lived in Pioneer, California.

Bibliographic Details

William Witney
Foreword by Francis M. Nevins, Jr.
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: photos, filmography, index
Copyright Date: 2005 [1995]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2258-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Foreword by Francis M. Nevins, Jr.     1
Preface     3

1: The Serials Remembered     5
2: Rex, King of the Wild Horses     22
3: Larry Wickland     28
4: Darkest Africa—The First Serial Under the Republic Banner     39
5: The Old Order Changeth     47
6: Rider of the Painted Stallion     59
7: I Lose a Friend and Gain One     76
8: John English     90
9: The Lone Ranger     101
10: That Old House     113
11: The Director’s Guild     129
12: Daredevils of the Red Circle     143
13: Zorro’s Fighting Legion     160
14: Two Duds and a Hot Water Tank     172
15: Captain Marvel     182
16: Bill O’Sullivan     196
17: The Dog Teams     224
18: Eddy White     224

A Filmography     233
Index     243

Book Reviews & Awards

“essential reading”—Big Reel; “essential…fascinating and insightful…recommended”—Wrangler’s Roost; “one of the greatest cliffhanger bargains available”—Serial Report; “this could easily be the most interesting book ever written about the early days of movie making. Great stuff. McFarland at its best!”—Little Shoppe of Horrors; “Witney writes well and fondly of his films and colleagues…his ability to recapture the excitement of filmmaking is phenomenal”—Classic Images; “engaging”—New York Times.