I had worked with Steve Ihnat several times over the years, he as an actor, me as costumer. When he guest starred on The Young Rebels, I asked him if he would read a script I had just finished writing with Dave Cass. He did (overnight), then he asked me if I would like to write a script with him. I agreed, and the rest is history. What, at first, was to be an inexpensive, personal movie, starring Ihnat and some of our friends, turned into a Major Hollywood Deal when United Artists picked up the script and signed James Coburn to play the leading role. Slim Pickens was handed the sidekick part, and Anne Archer (in her first movie) and Lois Nettleton played the love interests. The picture was shot in Carlsbad, New Mexico, in 1971, with Steve Ihnat directing. The following are some pics I took on the set.
This is only the proper way to begin, with a camera slate. This shot was blown up from the actual 35mm footage; camera operator, Gene Talvin, used me as his "clapper" on this one occasion when we were shooting multiple cameras.
In the movie, Anne, playing a rich girl, bails Jim out of jail, and literally takes him for a ride. Here we are shooting the scene as they first get into the car (a Ford Pantera--one of only two in the country at the time).
James Coburn (as Lew Lathrop) and Ted Eckles (playing his son) ride on the camera car when they are not needed in the shot during the parade sequence. This was not a real parade that we were "allowed" to shoot; it was created by Levy-Gardener-Laven, the producers of The Honkers especially for the movie: 17,000 local people turned out for the gala event, including 60 plus parade entrants (bands, floats, horse groups, etc.). The sequence utilized five cameras, and we actually ran the parade around the block so we could shoot it over and over again to get the required coverage.
Night shooting: The cowboy's party at the local motel gets a little out of hand. Here's Jim Coburn between shots, laughing at something director Steve Ihnat has just said to him.
Of course, when the party gets too loud, the cops are called. Here is Jim Davis (former B Western star, later to gain fame as "Jock Ewing" on Dallas), playing the sheriff, and Slim Pickens, as Coburn's friend Clete Lomax, rehearsing for Davis' big entrance.
James Coburn as rodeo cowboy, Lew Lathrop, taking direction from Steve Ihnat, during shooting of The Honkers.
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