Inyo County Points of Interest
"Gunga Din" Filmed Here
In 1938, this hill area, among many others in these Alabama Hills, served as a stand-in for the hill country of northern India when RKO made the classic adventure film, 'Gunga Din,' on location in Lone Pine. Hundreds of horsemen raced across the hills and elaborate sets were built here and nearby while the cast and crew lived for weeks in a tent city off Movie Road. Directed by George Stevens, the epic starred Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Victor McLaglen and Joan Fontaine with Sam Jaffe as Gunga Din, the waterboy who wanted so much to be a soldier.
Plaque Donated By
The Lone Pine Sierra Film Festival and the People of Lone Pine
And Dedicated by Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
October 11, 1992
The movie Gunga Din was inspired by a poem written by Rudyard Kipling in 1892.
The poem Gunga Din is narrated by an English soldier who is wounded in battle in India. Gunga Din, an Indian water-bearer (bhishti), saves the soldier's life but is himself shot and killed.
The last verses of the poem are:
I shan't forgit the night
When I dropped be'ind the fight
With a bullet where my belt-plate should 'a' been.
I was chokin' mad with thirst,
An' the man that spied me first
Was our good old grinnin', gruntin' Gunga Din.
'E lifted up my 'ead,
An' he plugged me where I bled,
An' 'e guv me 'arf-a-pint o' water green.
It was crawlin' and it stunk,
But of all the drinks I've drunk,
I'm gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
It was 'Din! Din! Din!
'Ere's a beggar with a bullet through 'is spleen;
'E's chawin' up the ground,
An' 'e's kickin' all around:
For Gawd's sake git the water, Gunga Din!
'E carried me away
To where a dooli lay,
An' a bullet come an' drilled the beggar clean.
'E put me safe inside,
An' just before 'e died,
'I 'ope you liked your drink,' sez Gunga Din.
So I'll meet 'im later on
At the place where 'e is gone -
Where it's always double drill and no canteen.
'E'll be squattin' on the coals
Givin' drink to poor damned souls,
An' I'll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
Yes, Din! Din! Din!
You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
Though I've belted you and flayed you,
By the livin' Gawd that made you,
You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
The 1939 movie was remade in 1961 as Sergeants 3, a western starring the Rat Pack: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. The Gunga Din character was played by Sammy Davis, Jr.
Many elements of the 1939 film were also incorporated into Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
California prospectors sympathetic to the South during the American Civil War named the Alabama Hills for the CSS Alabama, a Confederate warship.
When the CSS Alabama was sunk off the coast of Normandy by the USS Kearsarge in 1864, prospectors sympathetic to the North named a mining district, a mountain pass, a mountain peak and a town after the USS Kearsarge