Joel Albert McCrea
(November 5, 1905 – October 20, 1990)
Joel McCrea’s birthday seems like a good time to share a bit more of my interview with Jimmy Hunt. Here Mr. Hunt discusses working with McCrea on The Lone Hand (1953).
Jimmy Hunt: “He was so nice. The guy was as nice as you could get. When you’d ask him what he did for a living, he was not a movie star, he was a rancher. He was so cool… He invited me out to his ranch after the movie was over. That was in 1952, and I went again in February of this year.
He was so good to me. I had a lot of lines in that movie, and lots of things that I did, and he was supportive of me and everything.
When we up there (in Durango), at lunchtime they had box lunches. They’d bring the box lunches out and we’d have lunch. All the wranglers would sit up on their horses and they’d wrap their leg around the saddle horn and sit up there and eat their lunch — and then have their chewing tobacco. They’d chew a little bit and spit it out, and I thought that was so cool. As a 12-year-old, that was cool. These were cowboys. And so, one morning, Joel McCrea comes and he says, ‘Jim, come here.’ I come over and he says, ‘Here,’ and he gave me this black licorice in these little squares, and it looked a bit like chewing tobacco. I’d take a bite off of it and chew it for a while, and when you spit that stuff, it looked like chewing tobacco, you know? I was in seventh heaven.
He’d teach me about horses and stuff and we’d sit between scenes while they were setting stuff up, and he’d tell me about brands — he had a brand for his ranch — and we made up a brand for my ranch.”