Ride a Wild Pony 1975
Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society; ‘Moving Images and the Theatre’; The Shiralee; Filming in the Upper Hunter; Scone’s Civic Theatre: Heather Ashford assisted by Mary Woodlands: Federation Publication No 1 Scone and Upper Historical Society Incorporated, Scone NSW 2337 Australia. 1997. ISBN 0 949187 14 3. © Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society, Incorporated. Designed and printed by Pritchard’s Press Pty. Ltd. 206 Kelly Street, Scone NSW 2337.
Scenes from filming ‘Rise a Wild Pony’; The Scone Advocate & Dr Judy White (‘Belltrees’) as recorded in ‘Moving Images and the Theatre’ (see above)
Walt Disney Productions chose ‘Belltrees’ to film ‘Ride a Wild Pony’ 1975 based on the book A Sporting Proposition by Australian author James Aldrich. The Director was Don Chaffey and the cameraman Jack Cardiff.
The story revolves around a rich girl, a poor boy and a Welsh Pony. Belltrees property and interior of the homestead were used as for filming over two weeks. An office was maintained at Airlie House Motel and the film ‘rushes’ were flown daily to Sydney for processing and editing. The cast included many acting luminaries: John Meillon Senior, John Meillon Junior, Michael Craig, Peter Gwynne with Eva Griffith and Robert Bettles as two child stars. Eva was the only non-Australian. The Meillons acted together for the first time.
Local ‘extras’ included Mark White as stand-in for Robert Bettles, and Ian Merrick at eleven years of age who ‘doubled’ for Eva Griffith who could not ride or drive a pony trap.
Further filming took place at Chiltern, Victoria where “$50,000 was spent giving the town a 1920s atmosphere”. The total budget was $1,000,000.