June 23, 2024


Life is art

Colorado is the perfect backdrop for Pueblo filmmaker John Henry Johnson’s movies

Pueblo filmmaker John Henry Johnson in 2013.

Pueblo filmmaker John Henry Johnson in 2013.

John Henry Johnson never ever required a Hollywood established to make a film.

Among 1979 and 1984, the Pueblo-born director and cinematographer filmed two award-profitable documentaries about writer Damon Runyon and explorer Zebulon Pike in southern Colorado — just one in Pueblo, wherever Runyon grew up, and the other near the mountain named immediately after Pike, Pikes Peak.

His 3rd film, “Curse of the Blue Lights,” a 1988 fantasy movie about a group of Colorado teenagers and their come across with several evil creatures, also was filmed in and all around Pueblo and contains references to southern Colorado record.

“I largely made a lot of these films for the schools due to the fact everything is supposed to have occurred in Denver and it didn’t all happen in Denver,” Johnson said. “As a make a difference of truth, Pueblo was major way ahead of Denver was, mainly because of the rivers. Everyone arrived up the rivers.”

Johnson a short while ago secured the DVD rights for his 1981 film “Damon Runyon’s Pueblo” which follows the nationally regarded New York journalist and playwright’s life in Pueblo from the time he arrived at age 6 in 1886 to his times working at The Chieftain.

“A large amount of the men and women that Runyon wrote about and who became famed figures of his in New York have been essentially dependent on Pueblo people today,” Johnson mentioned.

Sky Masterson, a character in Runyon’s “Guys and Dolls” engage in, is considered to be modeled on U.S. Marshall Bat Masterson, who was in Pueblo throughout the Colorado Railroad War between the Denver & Rio Grande and Santa Fe railroads.

Johnson in 1977 while completing his Master of Fine Arts degree at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Johnson in 1977 when finishing his Learn of Great Arts diploma at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Significantly of “Damon Runyon’s Pueblo” was filmed in downtown Pueblo.

“At that time, Union was terrible… the buildings had been falling apart and most of the home windows had been long gone and so, generally, my crew, headed by Joe Pachak would go and the windows that had been thoroughly knocked down, they would put plywood there and they would paint so it would search like there was a shade there,” Johnson said.

Both equally “Damon Runyon’s Pueblo” and Johnson’s second film, “Zebulon Pike and the Blue Mountain” been given Council on Intercontinental Nontheatrical Occasions (CINE) Golden Eagle Awards in 1983 and 1985.

Outside of producing movies, Johnson has taught filmmaking, art and images classes at Colorado State University Pueblo, the University of Colorado Denver and the Colorado Film school. He also has designed a damon-runyon.com for his Damon Runyon movie.

Though he has not counted out the prospect of earning yet another film, he explained it is “backbreaking operate.”

“My wife, she associated making a motion picture to environment up and keeping a wedding day each day. It is that intense,” he explained. “You bought to have all the people. You obtained to have all the prompts. You have to have all the locations, all the tools, just all the details.”

Pueblo Chieftain reporter James Bartolo can be attained by e-mail at [email protected]

This posting initially appeared on The Pueblo Chieftain: Pueblo filmmaker John Johnson shoots films versus Colorado backdrop