Child actor Jimmy Hunt is best known today as the kid in the original Invaders From Mars (1953). But he also appeared in two of Joel McCrea’s Universal Westerns — Saddle Tramp (1950) and The Lone Hand (1953). I’ve spoken with Mr. Hunt a couple times about these wonderful films, and about what a terrific guy Joel McCrea was. As I transcribe it all, here’s a bit on making The Lone Hand.
Jimmy Hunt: “They took me out where they now have all the Universal Studios rides. That used to be the old backlot. They got this horse from a little girl and figured ‘If a little girl can ride it, this horse’ll be good.’ I got to go out and ride and ride and ride.
One day I’m out riding, and this thing takes off on me. I’m trying to stop it, and it won’t stop. I’m pulling on the reins so hard, its mouth is bleeding. It dumps me off on the side of a hill, then heads back to the barn, and the wranglers end up out looking for a kid. I’m walking back with tears in my eyes, saying, ‘I don’t want to get back on that horse again.’ On the way to Colorado (location work was done in Durango), that little horse got in a fight with another horse, and that horse kicked the crud out of it. So they had to send it home, and I got another horse. I was the happiest kid in the world to get a different horse.
We stayed at a dude ranch that had a man-made lake with a little island. It had sulfur water for medicinal purposes. Everybody hated it because it smelled like crap, but I would go swimming in it because I thought it was cool. I’d have my makeup on and I’d wash off in that thing and swim around at night.”
More will come as my typing skills permit.