William Witney

I purchased his Autobiography a few weeks ago,

William Witney
(May 15, 1915 – March 17, 2002) 

William Witney and Cheryl Rogers on the set of Trail Of Robin Hood (1950). A Roy Rogers Film

William Witney was born 108 years ago. He was a true innovator in how action makes its way to the screen. He was working at Republic Pictures, and while on location for the 1937 serial The Painted Stallion, the director, Ray Taylor, was too drunk to work so a very young William Witney took over – he was just 21.

Watching Busby Berkeley put together one of his famous dance numbers, he quickly realised that fight sequences could be choreographed and shot the same way.

After serving in a Marine combat camera unit in World War II, Witney returned to Republic for his last serial, The Crimson Ghost (1946), then took over the Roy Rogers films.

He bought us more action, putting less emphasis on the music and bringing in a decidedly darker, more violent tone, William Witney breathed new life into Roy’s final films.

He was a genius, and his contribution to the cinema has been very under-appreciated.

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