Monday, August 2, 2010

Meeting a Former Editor from Warner Brothers

This story is a conversation between a hitchhiker and a former editor from Warner Brothers. The editor did some work on the film High Plains Drifter.

It was probably the spring of 1997. I hitchhiked north on U.S. 395 from southern California and got dropped off in Bishop. Bishop is a very beautiful place.

The mountains to the east were dry and brown, the mountains to the west (Sierra Nevadas) were rugged and snow-covered. There are a lot of irrigated ranches in that valley. I walked through Bishop for a couple of miles and then stopped north of town on U.S. 395. I waited for a short while and this vehicle pulled over to pick me up.

The guy who gave me a ride was probably in his late fifties or early sixties. He told me that he was coming from a ranch that he owned in Mexico; he was heading to Mammoth Lakes where he owned a grocery store. I told him that I was hitchhiking around the country for a short while; I had just quit my job at Harold Pike Construction Company in Ames, Iowa (Pike Construction hired me ten times in four years, I was grateful that they let me work for them so many times).

"So what did you do before you bought your ranch?" I asked.

"I worked for Warner Brothers as an editor," he replied. "I worked at Warner Bothers for a number of years and got tired of being in the studio."

"So what films did you work on?" I asked.

"One film I worked on was High Plains Drifter," he said.

I looked at him and exclaimed, "No way! High Plains Drifter? That is one of my favorite westerns. You are not going to believe this, but in 1995 I had a short story published by Ethos magazine. The title of my short story is 'High Plains Drifter.'"

"Really?"

"Yeah."

At the time, I had a few copies of my short story in a folder in my backpack. I would pass out my story to people if they were interested in reading it.

"When you drop me off, I will give you a copy of my short story," I said.

"Sounds good."

We drove north on U.S. 395. At Lake Crowley he turned off the road and dropped me off at this intersection. I dug out my folder that was in my backpack and gave him a copy of "High Plains Drifter."

"Thanks," he said.

"Thanks for the ride."

He drove off and I started walking up U.S. 395. I walked for a short while. The sun was down and I needed to find a place to sleep. I jumped over this fence and walked out into this sagebrush maybe a quarter of a mile from Lake Crowley. I rolled out my sleeping bag and slept there. I think it got down in the upper 20s F that night.

About my meeting the guy who gave me a ride from Bishop to Lake Crowley: there are no accidents in the Kingdom of Heaven. Things happen for a reason.

The next day I hitchhiked north to Reno.

[The film High Plains Drifter, starring Clint Eastwood, was made at Mono Lake near Lee Vining, California in 1973. Lee Vining is on U.S. 395 between June Lake and Bridgeport.]

[Originally published by Digihitch.com]

High Plains Drifter (short story)
Clint Eastwood's film High Plains Drifter (1973)



1 comment:

  1. Last night I had a very vivid dream. I was talking with some friends and then I walked over to this table and sat down. I think I was tired, so I put my head in my hands and closed my eyes to take a short nap.

    I then heard someone walking towards me. I opened my eyes and saw these cowboy boots. I then looked up and saw Clint Eastwood. He was wearing a cowboy hat and had a bandana wrapped around his neck. Eastwood was in his forties; he looked like the cowboy in those spaghetti westerns or The Stranger in his film "High Plains Drifter". He was smiling at me.

    He was there to talk to me and prepare me for the lead role in a film he was directing. I think the film was based on my book "High Plains Drifter: A Hitchhiking Journey Across America".

    Then Gene Hackman walked up to me, shook my hand and smiled at me. Gene Hackman was dressed like he was in the film "The Quick and the Dead". There was more to the dream, but it is gone from me now.

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