Long before computer-generated imagery, shortly after flying without a net, a group of men got together in Hollywood and decided to create an official organization.
The Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures was founded in February 1961 by those men – and women – who work behind the scenes to create movie magic without much help from computers, smoke or mirrors.
They are the ones who take the pratfalls, those who fall from buildings, who do the water-ski tricks or take the bullet in the gunfight; over the years they’ve flown across (or down the length of) saloon bars and guided trained horses to fall when the wheels on the stagecoach crumbled.
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To celebrate that anniversary and as a partner event of the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society is presenting a panel of stuntmen who have seen it all. They’ll be the after-dinner entertainment at the Society’s annual Chuckwagon Dinner, set for 6 p.m. Thursday, April 28. Tickets are $40 per person. The chuckwagons and film legends will be at Heritage Junction Historic Park, part of William S. Hart Park in Newhall.
The panel features:
Diamond Farnsworth, whose father, Richard, is not only a founding member of the Association, but has been honored with a saddle on the Walk of Western Stars in Old Newhall
Another founding member and WOWs honoree, Loren Janes, who worked as Steve McQueen’s double,
Bobby Jauregui, who doubles for Steve Martin, who also was a stunt performer on “Deadwood,” and
Donna Evans, who doubles Sandra Bullock and was recognized for her work on “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” and “Iron Man.”
There is also a possibility that Joe Canutt, whose father, Yakima Canutt, was a founding member of the Association and stunt coordinator for “Stagecoach” may also participate. Joe Canutt doubled for Charlton Heston in “Ben Hur” and drove the chariot in the famous scene when it is launched over the wreckage of another chariot and nearly falling beneath the horses.
The stunt performers will show some videos of their work and talk about how stunt work has changed over the years, with ample time for questions and answers and reminiscing – a critical part of the city’s annual celebration of the West.
The stunt panel is part of the Society’s “Chuckwagon Dinner Show” which will feature three authentic chuckwagons, two of them cooking a delicious dinner of seasoned chicken, salad, biscuits and cobbler and of course, cowboy coffee.
Award-winning cooks from Manflo Ranch will bring their rigs to feed the masses and Charley and Susan White of White Sky Ranch are bringing a display rig that used to belong to Montie Montana. Karen Jones of Manflo Ranch will also explain a bit about the challenges of being the original “food truck” of the prairie.
Dinner music will be provided by John Bergstrom and Western State of Mind, sponsored by Out West Western Boutique and Cultural Center.
Tickets are still available for the Chuckwagon Dinner/Stunt Panel calling 661-286-4021. Additional information on the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival is available here.