it’s been a few years but i used to work with an ex hollywood stuntman. actually, i was his boss for a time. and for our purposes here he will be known as, denny paine. denny paine was the name a certain government alphabet group wanted to give him way back when. he declined their offer. at any rate, denny is a southern california native. though these days he’s living in arizona. over the years i’d lost track of him.
a few weeks ago, jwfh, and myself along with someone else were chatting away a hot afternoon in the claremont village. the lone ranger came up in the conversation of old tv/movie cowboy stuff. i thought of denny paine, and told the guys he was clayton moore’s double in the color movie, ‘the lone ranger’, circa 1956. clayton’s real name was, jack. denny paine told me that. denny paine told me lots of stuff.
denny paine had quite a career in the movies. he doubled for buster crabbe and lash larue, among others. have you ever seen the movie, ‘vanishing point’? well, he did all the stunt driving for barry newman in that great oldie. remember the beginning of the old tv show, ‘then came bronson’? that was him on the motorcycle. how about, ‘chips’? yeah, he did all the riding for larry wilcox, or john. that is when the bike wasn’t hooked up to a trailer for close-ups. he also did location searches for the studios when he wasn’t doing stunt work. denny found the old virginia dare winery around these parts that was used for an old ‘combat’ tv episode. a place i’ve written about in the past.
during korea, denny, was in the army and a member of the 25th or 26th regimental combat team, a fore runner to the green berets. he was out front gathering intel. while doing so he received a purple heart and bronze star. president harry truman pinned the purple heart on him while he was in a hospital bed in tokyo.
after korea he went back to work in the hollywood industry. i met him years after those days. he was retired from two jobs plus the movies and was working on his third retirement check. yeah, god bless him, he’s one of those triple dippers. we always had a good time working together. he was always full of great stories. a time or two he even let me wear the buckskin jacket, guy madison or wild bill hickok of tv fame, wore in the rose parade one year. or maybe fool around with a gold plated 100th anniversary winchester 30-30 he owned. ah, sweet.
i lost track of denny. probably because he was a crazy old coot. for example, we played a lot of golf together in those days and he ALWAYS cared a loaded pistol in his golf bag. or on his person. ‘you never know when you’ll need it, hombre.’ is what he used to tell me. that in itself wasn’t so bad. trouble was he was liable to whip it out and fire off a few rounds anytime anywhere just for the fuck of it. yeah, denny paine.
that hot afternoon conversation of a few weeks ago got me thinking about him. once again. with the help of the brown eyed girl and the internet we found him or more to the point his long time companion, miss penny. since then i’ve spoken to him on the phone a few times. he even sent me a photo of himself taken in 2006 in knabe, utah. the photo was taken to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the long ago lone ranger movie shot there in 1956.
that’s denny paine in the picture. i’ve missed you, hombre. i hope you still have the buckskin jacket and the 30-30. see you soon.