10th Cavalry rides again
June 12, 1966: Forty African Americans, being trained as horsemen at a Burbank stable, pursue an imaginary band of hostile Indians. The horsemen were training for roles in an independent movie about the segregated 10th U.S. Cavalry of the late 1800s.
Actors Bryan King and Woody Strode worked to turn city boys into horsemen using the same training regiment used by the 10th Cavalry.
A story in the Los Angeles Times reported:
Until 8 weeks ago, most of them (the boys) had never been close to a horse. But today they sit a saddle with all the poise of a seasoned cavalryman….
Plans are for the 40 horsemen to appear in an independent movie production called, “The Saga of the 10th Cavalry,” to be produced by King and Strode.
King and Strode have uncovered the actual training manuals of the cavalry and are using them as the basis of their training program.
King, who wrote the script and will recreate the role of the white commanding officer, said:
“The reason why we have gone to so much trouble with these handpicked men is because the men they represent were the finest horsemen in the business. There will be no doubles in this movie.”
Strode, a former professional football player, added that at the completion of training, the horsemen will be able to execute cavalry maneuvers with precision “like hoisting a man on foot up behind the rider while traveling at full gallop.”
Unfortunately, the movie was never made, but the recreated 10th Cavalry unit appeared in several parades, state fairs and television shows – including a full 1968 episode of “High Chaparral.”
This image by staff photographer Frank Q. Brown was published on page three of the June 13, 1966, L.A. Times.
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