It’s natural to expect that the names along the Walk of Western Stars might be the stars who rode into town and chased away the bad guys – the names that are easily recognizable, like Glenn Ford, who is one of this year’s honorees.
But just as important as the talent who takes their turn in front of the camera are the technical “wranglers” who made those cowboys “classics” – film editors, sound engineers, lighting designers, costumers and makeup artists. Already recognized by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences with a 1992 Oscar for his work on “Unforgiven” is Joel Cox, a local resident and go-to guy for Clint Eastwood, whose movies “J. Edgar,” “Invictus,” “Gran Torino” and “Million Dollar Baby” all benefited from Cox’s magic touch.
Ford will be honored posthumously for his illustrious career, which spanned seven decades and included such notable films as: “3:10 to Yuma,” “Advance to the Rear,” “Cimarron,” “Cowboy,” “Heaven with a Gun,” “The Fastest Gun Alive” and “The Desperadoes,” among others. In 1978 Ford was inducted into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and his son, Peter Ford, will accept the honor in Santa Clarita on behalf of his father.
The bronze saddle unveiling will happen on April 19, during the City’s Wild Wild West SENSES event on Main Street, but an earlier event will give participants the opportunity to interact with the award-winning editor firsthand, as he holds court at College of the Canyons. The public is invited to “An Evening With Joel Cox” on Saturday, April 14 in the Hasley Hall Theatre on the Valencia campus. The Oscar winner will share some of his experiences working on Western classics “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” “Pale Rider,” and “The Wild Bunch” working with Eastwood and Sam Peckinpah. The event includes a wine reception and proceeds from the $25 ticket price will benefit COC’s Cinema program and the International Film Festival at COC.
“The City of Santa Clarita takes great pride in its Western roots, from historic points of interest to cinematic milestones,” said Mayor Laurie Ender. “Our Cowboy Festival and famed Walk of Western Stars are just two ways we pay tribute to our past. This year we could not be more pleased to honor Joel Cox, who is legendary for his work behind the camera, and Glenn Ford, whose work in front of the camera spans seven decades. This year’s induction ceremony will be exciting and memorable and we hope the community joins us as we pay tribute to these great men.”
The Walk of Western Stars pays homage to the City of Santa Clarita’s Western roots and rich film culture. Similar in style to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Walk of Western Stars honors actors, directors and film professionals for their contributions to the Western heritage of America. Sponsored by the City of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Walk was established in 1981 and continues today as stars are immortalized in bronze and terrazzo tile stamped into the streets of Old Town Newhall.
The April 14 event is the first in a series of events throughout the community that celebrate our Western Heritage during the 19th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival. Other events include the Walk of Western Stars ceremony, which will be conducted promptly at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19 (free); Cowboy Couture at the Repertory East Playhouse on Thursday, April 19 (doors open at 7, show begins at 8, tickets are $35 and $25); SENSES on Main Street, featuring vendors selling Western clothing and accessories, chuckwagon-style food trucks and Western demonstrations and a presentation of Glenn Ford’s classic movie “The Rounders,” at 3 p.m., Friday, April 20 at the REP ($15), featuring a discussion with his son, Peter Ford, about his father’s life and movie career.
Later that night, Friday, April 20 at 7 p.m., it’s Melody Ranch Movie Night, where guests will enjoy an intimate Western style dinner under the stars, exclusive shopping on Melody Ranch’s Main Street and experience a once in a lifetime viewing of the classic film “3:10 to Yuma” on Melody Ranch’s Main Street. Event tickets are $60 and include dinner, movie and a commemorative gift.
To purchase tickets or get more information about the Cowboy Festival, visit cowboyfestival.org.