Secret of the Wastelands (1941)

66 mins | Western | 1941

Director:

Derwin Abrahams

Writer:

Gerald Geraghty

Producer:

Harry Sherman

Cinematographer:

Russell Harlan

Production Designer:

Ralph Berger

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Ghosts of Rimrock . Actor Ian MacDonald's surname is misspelled "McDonald" in the opening credits. Some scenes were shot on location in Lone Pine, CA. The picture marked the feature film debut of Brad King, and the introduction of his character "Johnny Nelson" to the Hopalong Cassidy series. "Johnny" replaced the character "Lucky Nelson," played by Jimmy Ellison and Russell Hayden. For additional information on the series, consult the Series Index, and see the entry for Hop-Along Cassidy in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; ... More Less

The working title of this film was Ghosts of Rimrock . Actor Ian MacDonald's surname is misspelled "McDonald" in the opening credits. Some scenes were shot on location in Lone Pine, CA. The picture marked the feature film debut of Brad King, and the introduction of his character "Johnny Nelson" to the Hopalong Cassidy series. "Johnny" replaced the character "Lucky Nelson," played by Jimmy Ellison and Russell Hayden. For additional information on the series, consult the Series Index, and see the entry for Hop-Along Cassidy in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.1990. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Sep 1941.
---
Daily Variety
23 Sep 1941.
---
Film Daily
29 Sep 41
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 41
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 41
p. 24.
Hollywood Reporter
16 May 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 41
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Sep 41
p. 287.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Secret of the Wastelands by Bliss Lomax (New York, 1940) and characters created by Clarence E. Mulford.
SONGS
"I Can't Play My Banjo with Susannah on My Knee," words by Jack Scholl, music by Phil Boutelje.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Ghosts of Rimrock
Production Date:
early May--mid May 1941
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 November 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10813
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Wide Range System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
66
Length(in feet):
5,913
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a western town, Hopalong Cassidy and his ranch hands, Johnny Nelson and California Carlson, meet a stagecoach carrying archaeologist Dr. Birdsall, his niece, Jennifer Kendall, Professor Stubbs and Clay Elliott of the U.S. Mint. Birdsall has hired Hoppy and his friends to lead his expedition to the ancient desert ruins of Pueblo Grande. Before their departure, Jennifer hires Doy Kee, a Chinese cook, to accompany them. Unknown to Hoppy, the expedition is being watched both by Moy Soong, owner of a Chinese trading company, and lawyer Slade Salters, who claims to represent the Chinese community. Salters sends three cohorts to follow the expedition, and Hoppy starts to worry when a knife thrown by a Chinese man narrowly misses him. While en route to Pueblo Grande, Elliott explains to Hoppy that he has come into possession of some gold nuggets whose source he cannot identify. Elliott suspects that the Chinese community is involved because similar nuggets have been sold through Chinese shopkeepers. Later that night, someone knocks out California and causes the horses to stampede through camp, but Hoppy awakens in time to alert everyone. The next day, a wheel falls off Doy Kee's wagon and Hoppy finds evidence of sabotage. However, Birdsall refuses to abandon the project and the expedition finally reaches Pueblo Grande. While digging in the ruins, Stubbs finds a relatively new statue of Buddha buried next to some ancient remains. Hoppy warns everyone not to stray from camp, but Jennifer disobeys his order, and is surprised when Doy Kee threatens her with a gun so she will not climb above the ridge. The second time Jennifer slips away, however, she disappears ... +


In a western town, Hopalong Cassidy and his ranch hands, Johnny Nelson and California Carlson, meet a stagecoach carrying archaeologist Dr. Birdsall, his niece, Jennifer Kendall, Professor Stubbs and Clay Elliott of the U.S. Mint. Birdsall has hired Hoppy and his friends to lead his expedition to the ancient desert ruins of Pueblo Grande. Before their departure, Jennifer hires Doy Kee, a Chinese cook, to accompany them. Unknown to Hoppy, the expedition is being watched both by Moy Soong, owner of a Chinese trading company, and lawyer Slade Salters, who claims to represent the Chinese community. Salters sends three cohorts to follow the expedition, and Hoppy starts to worry when a knife thrown by a Chinese man narrowly misses him. While en route to Pueblo Grande, Elliott explains to Hoppy that he has come into possession of some gold nuggets whose source he cannot identify. Elliott suspects that the Chinese community is involved because similar nuggets have been sold through Chinese shopkeepers. Later that night, someone knocks out California and causes the horses to stampede through camp, but Hoppy awakens in time to alert everyone. The next day, a wheel falls off Doy Kee's wagon and Hoppy finds evidence of sabotage. However, Birdsall refuses to abandon the project and the expedition finally reaches Pueblo Grande. While digging in the ruins, Stubbs finds a relatively new statue of Buddha buried next to some ancient remains. Hoppy warns everyone not to stray from camp, but Jennifer disobeys his order, and is surprised when Doy Kee threatens her with a gun so she will not climb above the ridge. The second time Jennifer slips away, however, she disappears behind a secret wall in the ruins. After failing to find her, Hoppy discovers that their water supply has been depleted, and that Doy Kee has been murdered and a charm left on his body. Hoppy insists that the group go to the town of Piute to get water, and when Salters learns about the expedition's activities, he plots to take over the dig for his own profit while the expedition is in town. Hoppy, meanwhile, earns Johnny's anger after he refuses to go to the sheriff about Jennifer's disappearance. Instead, Hoppy goes to the Chinese mercantile and meets with Moy Soong, who agrees to return Jennifer in exchange for Hoppy's silence. Hoppy is followed into the desert by the sheriff and his posse, who have been alerted by Johnny, and by Salters and his gang. When the posse rides up, the Chinese believe that Hoppy has broken his word, but he helps them escape to the ruins. A gunfight erupts among the ruins until the Chinese take Hoppy and his friends behind the secret wall and into a long corridor, which leads to a secret valley. Hoppy is surprised by the appearance of the lush valley, and learns that the Chinese have cultivated it for years, and have supported it with the gold they have mined adjacent to the ruins. After seeing that Jennifer is unharmed, Hoppy meets with Moy Soong, and the valley's elder, Soo Chen, who seek his advice on how to buy the property. As they are all native Californians, Hoppy explains that they simply need to stake a claim on the mine, and that the land is in the public domain. Elliott, whose only thought is of the gold, attempts to flee, but Hoppy knocks him out. The sheriff and his men then infiltrate the valley, and Moy Soong sends Hoppy to Piute to file the claim for her. Elliott again tries to escape, but is shot. Hoppy races to Piute, reaching town at the same time as Salters. After knocking Salters out in a fistfight, Hoppy files a claim on behalf of the Chinese Americans. Later, Moy Soong expresses her gratitude to Hoppy on behalf of her people, and Birdsall continues his archaeological dig. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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