The annual Walk of Western Stars inductees for 2016 have been announced and will be honored during the 23rd Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, presented by Logix Federal Credit Union. This year’s honorees are Johnny Crawford and Hal Needham. The Stars recognizing the careers of these important Western film and TV professionals will be unveiled at a ceremony on Thursday, April 21, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. on Main Street between Market Street and 8th Street, and will be followed by a Movie Night event at Hart Hall, in William S. Hart Park, located at 24151 Newhall Avenue.
Johnny Crawford appeared in over twenty Western television shows and movies in his long career, and is best known for his role on the popular Western show The Rifleman, which ran from 1958 to 1963. In the show, Mr. Crawford portrayed Mark McCain, the son of the Rifleman himself, Chuck Connors. Mr. Crawford also appeared in shows such as The Lone Ranger, Have Gun-Will Travel, Wagon Train, Branded, and Little House on the Prairie. His film work included roles in Westerns, such as El Dorado, Indian Paint, and two of the Kenny Rodgers as the Gambler TV Movies.
Hal Needham was a legendary director, stuntman, and actor who did stunt work in over 250 Western films and television shows, and appeared in over 140 Westerns. Mr. Needham, who passed away in 2013, is perhaps best known for his directing work on the Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run films with Burt Reynolds, but he also directed the 1979 Western The Villain. His work as a stuntman, stunt coordinator, or actor on classic Westerns includes Blazing Saddles, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Laramie, Little Big Man, McLintock!, How the West Was Won, Bandolero, Rawhide, and The Wild, Wild West.
The Unveiling Ceremony of the Walk of Western Stars plaques will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, 2016, on Main Street in Old Town Newhall. The ceremony will take place between Market and 8th Streets on the west side of the street, just north of the middle of the block. The unveiling is free and open to the public. Mr. Crawford will appear in person at the ceremony.
The unveiling will be followed by a Movie Night event at William S. Hart Park. The Movie Night includes dinner and a presentation of a montage honoring Mr. Needham and a showing of Mr. Crawford’s favorite episode of The Rifleman, which is entitled “The Ordeal.” There will also be a question and answer session with Mr. Crawford. The doors will open and dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m., with the program starting at approximately 7:45 p.m. Tickets are still available for the Movie Night event, and can be purchased at CowboyFestival.org.