The Hanlon-Lees Action Theater has to be one of the most popular and durable equestrian combat troupes in outdoor entertainment.
I met these guys about 5 years ago in the middle of the night in the Arizona desert. We had come to shoot some western footage for a Chicago stage play, and after about 5 minutes on the grounds of their camp, I knew I had stumbled across a fascinating and untold story.
The orignal Hanlon Brothers were an amazing stunt troupe that moved to the US from Europe. This is one of their posters circa 1880. The founders of The Hanlon Lee's Action Theater were so inspired by the work of these early stage pioneers that they assumed the name, (Of course only after asking permission from a surviving Hanlon Family member).
This is a group of highly skilled stuntmen that not only re- invented jousting in front of a live audience, they will attempt just about any stunt that is asked of them.
I began to follow them with a camera in 1999 and completed shooting early in march 2003. Editing of the 30+ hours of footage is taking place right now.
©2007 Kevin Leeser
Special thanks to:
Kent Shelton, Stephen Ommerle, Taso Stavrakis, Kevin Stillwell, Jeff Siegal, Dikki Ellis, Matt Stratton, Both Joes, Don Gonzales, Chris Mitri, Kyle Sommer, Ken Guertin, Melissa Manzagol and everyone else.
Production Manager- Wende Bebout
Fe Jamieson, Chris Mitri, Jimmy Fortner.