Son of the Renegade (March 27, 1953)
Released on March 27, 1953: (running time 53 minutes) The son of an infamous outlaw tries to convince the Sheriff that he has gone straight, but an outlaw is pretending to be him and the Sheriff is out to get him dead or alive.
Produced by Johnny Carpenter
Directed by Reg Browne
Written by Johnny Carpenter
The Actors: Johnny Carpenter (Red River Johnny), Lori Irving (Lori Masters), Joan McKellen (Dusty), Valley Keene (Valley), Jack Ingram (three-fingers Jack), Vern Teters (Sheriff Bat Masters), Bill Coontz (Wild Bill Coontz), Ted Smile (Cherokee), Bill Chaney (baby face Bill Chaney), Roy Canada (Cananda the gun-slinger), Whitey Hughes (long haired kid), Lennie Smith (Deputy Sheriff), Ewing Miles Brown (Wild Bill Hickok), Fred Carson (Big Fred), Percy Lennon (the Australian Kid), Jack Wilson (the Texas Kid), Pat McGeehan (narrator), Frank Ellis (Bat Masters Sr.), Henry Wills (Deputy)
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Baseball, Good Guys, and the Pact with God
Johnny Carpenter was eighteen-years-old and a baseball star at the University of Arkansas. He was so talented that the Chicago White Sox signed him up as a member of their 1936 starting team. Fortunately, before he could swing the bat on even one professional baseball game, he was struck by a hit-and-run driver, and nearly died.
His left leg was broken in seven places, his back was broken, and multiple internal injuries kept him in a body cast for four months. Then began an eight-year journey to learn to walk again and function as a whole person. During his days as an invalid, he made a deal with God.
Johnny prayed from his hospital bed, promising that if God would let him walk again, he would spend his life helping the handicapped. In the mid 1940’s Johnny Carpenter bought land and built a western town, naming it “Heaven on Earth Ranch,” complete with horses for riding. A sign over the entrance read: "The service we render to others is really the rent we pay for our room on this earth. Dedicated free forever to the handicapped."
For fifty years, handicapped children from the Los Angeles School District would be invited to the ranch, and Johnny Carpenter would help them enjoy a day at his cowboy town. Johnny Carpenter put every penny he ever earned into this ranch, and good folk like Ronald Reagan and Mayor Tom Bradley donated generously from time to time. When the ranch was repossessed by the town in 1994 to make way for a housing development, Johnny Carpenter had no money, no ranch, and no regrets.
In a Reader’s Digest magazine interview after losing the ranch, he claimed, "The Bible says, 'As you sow, so shall ye reap.' Well, I've reaped two-hundredfold. I've gotten more satisfaction out of this ranch than anything else I've ever done. Everything I own is on my back. Yet because of the ranch, I can get up every morning and walk down the street like a king. If I get to heaven, it'll be on the coattails of these kids."
Ed Wood was famous for making low budget movies that were so bad that they were good. His good friend Johnny Carpenter, a movie stunt man and occasional character actor, tried his hand a making a few movies, Ed Wood style, to earn money for his ranch. This is one of those movies, written and produced by Johnny Carpenter. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Lori Irving, Johnny Carpenter, Valley Keene
Bill Chaney, Roy Canada
Ewing Miles Brown
Johnny Carpenter, Valley Keene
Lori Irving, Johnny Carpenter
Lori Irving, Vern Teters
Vern Teters, Lori Irving, Whitey Hughes
Roy Canada, Lori Irving
Ted Smile, Vern Teters