The American West in Film and Television: Wrecks and Effects ‒ The Stuntmen

Stuntman Yakima Canutt, stagecoach jump

In the early days of filmmaking, stuntmen often came from a background in circus, rodeo or gymnastics. Their work during the silent era cast them as stand-ins during pie fights, car chases and similar roles. But the growing popularity of Westerns demanded a new skill set, one which incorporated the equestrian skills, falls and fighting that were common to storylines of the genre. A new generation of stuntmen emerged, pioneering innovative ways to perform the seemingly impossible. They not only served as doubles for major stars, but perfected countless stunts, engineered safer equipment, and invented gadgets that enabled spectacular effects.

Arizona’s Official Western Film Historian Charlie LeSueur

This program explores the world of stuntmen such as Yakima Canutt and Dave Sharpe, whose talent and contributions to the industry continue to influence action sequences to this day. Guest speakers include stuntmen Ron Nix, Spanky Spangler and Buck Montgomery. Hosted by Arizona’s Official Western Film Historian Charlie LeSueur.

Included with museum admission; free to museum members.