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 Hollywood’s Flintlock Fakes ...

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Buck Conner
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PostSubject: Hollywood’s Flintlock Fakes ...   July 13th 2018, 2:26 pm

SUBJECT: Hollywood’s Flintlock Fakes ...

Movie making is all about imagery - “movie magic.” While watching a film, you suspend your thoughts regarding real life, you put reality aside to happily enter a world of make believe..




For decades, studio prop houses relied on the plentiful 1873 Springfield trapdoor rifle to emulate a flintlock firearm, including in this scene from John Wayne’s 1960 epic "The Alamo."


Here's an example of the arm shown, a one-piece combined dummy flintlock hammer and flint piece was soldered onto the hammer, with immovable frizzen  screwed into the lock plate.

For decades Hollywood films had a favorite trick to make us believe that the actors were using real flintlocks in a period movie. Filmmakers were limited to what original arms that were still serviceable and safe could be obtained. Before replicas were offered, studios saved time with an inexpensive 1873 Springfield trapdoor rifle. The studio prop houses had plenty of them, a simply cast a dummy brass or pot metal flintlock cock (hammer) and frizzen (strike plate) assembly, then fitted the Springfield’s original lock screw, over the original hammer and lock plate. 



At the making of the movies The Mountain-Men filmed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in 1980 film, one of many background Indian actors loaded .45-70 blank cartridges into the breech of a studio dummy flintlocks - 1873 Springfield trapdoor rifle. 


When working at this movie and seeing this we were disappointed in watching these also fake Indians load these guns when good reproductions were available. I had two NW Trade Guns loaned out to several of the key actors (sold one while there).


To read the whole story on such Hollywood ventures read this article in whole by old friend Phil Spangenberger.


https://truewestmagazine.com/hollywoods-flintlock-fakery/ 

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Randy Johnson



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PostSubject: Re: Hollywood’s Flintlock Fakes ...   July 13th 2018, 5:57 pm

There is a scene in Northwest Passage where Rogers' men are firing their guns to anounce their arrival to #4. You get a real good look at one of these altered trapdoors. The gun clatches but still fires for some reason.
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Buck Conner
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PostSubject: Re: Hollywood’s Flintlock Fakes ...   July 13th 2018, 6:30 pm

@Randy Johnson wrote:
The gun clatches but still fires for some reason.

That's why Hollywood was using the trap door rifles, they didn't want a clatch or the time needed to correct the problem.

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heelerau

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PostSubject: Re: Hollywood’s Flintlock Fakes ...   July 17th 2018, 6:38 pm

I remember seeing some of these modified springfields being used in the old Danial Boone series.Also used in the making of the prequels for Lonesome Dove.

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russell shaffer



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PostSubject: Re: Hollywood’s Flintlock Fakes ...   July 17th 2018, 7:25 pm

So remember Walt Disney's frontierland shows?  Davy Crockett digging two balls out of one hole in a wooden target?  And the flintlocks with the puff of smoke from the pan and then after a long delay, the rifle firing?  Never flinched and never missed.  Better than me for sure.
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