Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2015 Chatsworth Day of the Horse

If you're gonna be anywhere near Chatsworth, California on Sunday, April 12, 2015, be sure to visit our 12th annual Chatsworth Day of the Horse between 11 am and 3 pm at 10861 Andora Street, Chatsworth, CA.

I'll selling and signing my books...

Rendezvous at Boulder Pass: Hollywood's Fantasyland *** Out of Print *** About 10 copies left $39.95

published 2010, Echo Press
ISBN: 978-0-615-21522-8

2010 -- An expanded study of historical Chatsworth, California movie location Ranches -- A primer on the Iverson Movie Ranch, and other filming locations in the Western San Fernando Valley -- Photos of your favorite silver-screen and six-gun heroes in action.

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas *** $23.00

published 2008, Echo Press
ISBN: 978-0-615-21499-3

2008 -- A photographic study of the historical Chatsworth, California movie location Ranches -- Iverson Movie Ranch, Brandeis Ranch, Corriganville, Bell Location Ranch, Burro Flats, Spahn Ranch, Chatsworth Lake, and the Chatsworth Railroad Depot.

I'll also have copies of "Chatsworth Movie Locations" DVD *** $15.00 *** 
my original presentation given to the Chatsworth Historical Society in 2010.

Video content includes: A tour of the Iverson Location Ranch in a 3-Part Series which examines: • Garden of the Gods, • Indian Hills, and • Upper Ranch filming areas.  Plus footage from other Chatsworth filming locations: Bell Motion Picture Ranch, Brandeis Movie Ranch, Burro Flats (now known as the Rocketdyne SSFL), Chatsworth Lake (aka Chatswoth Reservoir), Chatsworth Trains (depot, tunnels, tracks, etc), and the Double R Bar Ranch - (Roy Rogers & Dale Evans former home).  And, clips showing some of the best comedy scenes filmed in Chatsworth.

I'll be sharing a booth so just look for my display (photo above).

Hope to see you there -- until then Happy Trails.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Great Granddad at the Battle of New Orleans

James Boyd -- my 4th great grandfather -- was born 10 Aug 1783 in Virginia.  As a young man he married Nancy Simpson and settled near Knoxville, Tennessee.

So many of Tennessee's native sons volunteered in the War of 1812, that it became known as "The Volunteer State," so it is of little surprise that James Boyd -- at age 31 with a wife and five young children -- joined General William Carroll who was recruiting troops for the defense of New Orleans from Indian and British offensive activities.

It's likely because of his age that James Boyd was given the rank of 3rd Lieutenant in the 5th Regiment of East Tennessee Militia commanded by Major General William Carroll.  

James Boyd served from 13 November 1814 through 5 June 1815.

Traveling via the Cumberland, Ohio and Mississippi rivers, Major General William Carroll and his new troops arrived in New Orleans just prior to the British invasion.

At the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, Carroll's troops fought near the center of Jackson's line, where some of the most intense fighting occurred.  

The British clearly under estimated Andy Jackson's backwoods volunteers and their marksmanship.  In less than two hours the battle was over. On the field lay about 1,500 dead and wounded British soldiers -- another 500 were taken prisoner.  American losses amounted to thirteen killed and thirty-nine wounded.

After the battle Jackson and his Tennesseans lingered in camps at New Orleans until March 1815.  Ironically, hundreds of Tennesseans who survived the rigors of battle succumbed to deadly illnesses that permeated the camps of New Orleans.

Andrew Jackson was proclaimed a national hero and embarked on a political career that eventually took him to the White House in 1828.

Following the war James Boyd removed to Franklin County, Ohio where Nancy died in 1924.  James remarried to Ann Mariah Postles in 1926, and in 1850, moved further West to Mahaska County, Iowa where he died 20 Nov 1854.

James Boyd (1783 - 1854)
my 4th great grandfather

Valentine Boyd (1811 - 1870)
son of James Boyd

Sophia Boyd (1836 - 1908)
daughter of Valentine Boyd

David Jackson Bailey (1865 - 1949)
son of Sophia Boyd

Franklin 'Frank' Jackson Bailey (1886 - 1968)
son of David Jackson Bailey

Velma Veda Bailey (1914 - 2004)
daughter of Franklin 'Frank' Jackson Bailey

Monday, March 23, 2015

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas -- Walter Brennan

Walter Brennan (1894–1974) was an American actor.  He is the only actor to date to win three Oscars for Best Supporting Actor in 1936, 1938 and 1940.

His best known Santa Susana location roles was the popular ABC television series "The Real McCoys," a situation comedy about a poor West Virginia family that relocated to a farm in southern California (1957–1963).

Walter Brennan's Santa Susana location filmography includes:

Texas Cyclone (1932) - Tim McCoy, Shirley Grey, Wheeler Oakman, John Wayne (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Cornered (1932) - Tim McCoy, Shirley Grey, Noah Beery (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Fourth Horseman, The (1932) - Tom Mix, Margaret Lindsay, Fred Kohler (Iverson Ranch) Universal

Cowboy and the Lady, The (1938) - Gary Cooper, Merle Oberon, Patsy Kelly (Iverson Ranch) United Artists

Sergeant York (1941) - Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Joan Leslie (Burro Flats) Warner Bros.

Dakota (1945) - John Wayne, Vera Ralston, Walter Brennan (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Blood on the Moon (1948) - Robert Mitchum, Barbara Bel Geddes and Robert Preston (Iverson Ranch) RKO

Showdown, The (1950) - Bill Elliott, Walter Brennan, Marie Windsor - Republic

Best of the Badmen (1951) - Robert Ryan, Claire Trevor, Jack Buetel - RKO

Drums Across the River (1954) - Audie Murphy, Walter Brennan, Lyle Bettger (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Universal

Four Guns to the Border (1954) - Rory Calhoun, Colleen Miller, George Nader (Bell Ranch) Universal

How the West Was Won (1962) - John Wayne, Henry Fonda, James Stewart (Corriganville) MGM

"The Real McCoys" TV Series (1957-1963)

Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969) - James Garner, Walter Brennan, Jack Elam (Iverson Ranch) UA

Monday, March 16, 2015

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas -- Ward Bond

Ward Bond (1903 - 1960) was an American film and TV actor whose rugged appearance and easygoing charm were featured in over 200 titles. Bond was perhaps best remembered for his role in the "Wagon Train" TV Series (1957).

His Santa Susana locations filmography includes:

Unknown Valley (1933) - Buck Jones, Cecilia Parker, Wade Boteler (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Crimson Trail, The (1935) - Buck Jones, Polly Ann Young, Ward Bond (Iverson Ranch) Universal

Western Courage (1935) - Ken Maynard, Geneva Mitchell, Charles K. French - Columbia

Avenging Waters (1936) - Ken Maynard, Beth Marion and Ward Bond (Kernville) Columbia

They Gave Him a Gun (1937) - Spencer Tracy, Gladys George, Franchot Tone (Chatsworth) MGM

Adventures of Marco Polo, The (1938) - Gary Cooper, Sigrid Gurie and Basil Rathbone (Iverson Ranch) UA

Flight Into Nowhere (1938) starring Jack Holt, Dick Purcell, Julie Bishop (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Gun Law (1938) - George O'Brien, Rita Oehmen, Ray Whitley (Corriganville) RKO

Oklahoma Kid, The (1939) - James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Rosemary Lane (Iverson Ranch) Warner Bros.

Grapes of Wrath, The (1940) - Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine (Iverson Ranch) 20th Century-Fox

Kit Carson (1940) - Jon Hall, Lynn Bari, Dana Andrews (Iverson Ranch) United Artists

Sergeant York (1941) - Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Joan Leslie (Burro Flats) Warner Bros.

Wild Bill Hickok Rides (1942) - Constance Bennett, Bruce Cabot, Warren William - Warner Bros.

Wild Dakotas, The (1956) - Bill Williams, Coleen Gray, Jim Davis (Iverson Ranch) Associated

Fort Apache (1948) - John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple, Pedro Armendáriz and John Agar (Corriganville) RKO

Great Missouri Raid, The (1951) - Wendell Corey, Macdonald Carey, Ellen Drew (Iverson Ranch) Paramount

Hellgate (1952) - Sterling Hayden, Joan Leslie, Ward Bond (Corriganville) Lippert

Moonlighter, The (1953) - Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Ward Bond (Corriganville) Warner Bros.

"Wagon Train" (1957) TV Series -- Ward Bond as Major Seth Adams (59 episodes, 1957-1961)

Halliday Brand, The (1957) - Joseph Cotten, Viveca Lindfors, Betsy Blair (Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville) United Artists

Alias Jesse James (1959) - Bob Hope, Rhonda Fleming and Wendell Corey (Iverson Ranch) United Artists

Monday, March 9, 2015

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas -- Guy Madison

Guy Madison (1922 - 1996) was an American film and television actor.  He is best known for his title role in the TV series "The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok (1951).

During the run of the TV show -- between 1952 and 1955 -- Allied Artists released several * films that consisted of combined episodes of the series.

Guy Madison's Santa Susana locations filmography includes:

Massacre River (1949) - Guy Madison, Rory Calhoun, Carole Mathews (Iverson Ranch) Allied Artists

"Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok" TV Series (1951-1958) -- Guy Madison as Wild Bill Hickok 112 episodes

* Ghost of Crossbones Canyon, The (1952) - Guy Madison, Andy Devine, Russell Simpson (Iverson Ranch) Allied Artists

* Secret of Outlaw Flats (1953) - Guy Madison, Andy Devine, Kristine Miller - Allied Artists

* Six Gun Decision (1953) - Guy Madison, Andy Devine, Gloria Saunders - Allied Artists

* Two Gun Teacher, The (1954) - Guy Madison, Andy Devine, Ann Carroll - Allied Artists

Hard Man, The (1957) - Guy Madison, Valerie French, Lorne Greene (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

* Two episodes of the Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok (1951) TV show edited together and released as a feature.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas -- Bill Williams

Bill Williams (1915 - 1992) was an American television and film actor. He is best known for his starring role in the early television series, "The Adventures of Kit Carson" (1951 to 1955).

Bill Williams' Santa Susana locations filmography includes:

Blue Grass of Kentucky, The (1950) - Bill Williams, Jane Nigh, Ralph Morgan (Marwyck Ranch)

California Passage (1950) - Forrest Tucker, Adele Mara and Estelita Rodriguez (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Cariboo Trail, The (1950) - Randolph Scott, George 'Gabby' Hayes and Bill Williams (Iverson Ranch) 20th Century-Fox

"The Adventures of Kit Carson" (1951-1955) TV Series. Starring Bill Williams as Kit Carson (103 episodes)

Great Missouri Raid, The (1951) - Wendell Corey, Macdonald Carey, Ellen Drew (Iverson Ranch) Paramount

Son of Paleface (1952) - Bob Hope, Jane Russell, Roy Rogers (Iverson Ranch) Paramount

Apache Ambush (1955) - Bill Williams, Richard Jaeckel, Alex Montoya (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Wild Dakotas, The (1956) - Bill Williams, Coleen Gray, Jim Davis (Iverson Ranch) Associated

Halliday Brand, The (1957) - Joseph Cotten, Viveca Lindfors, Betsy Blair (Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville) United Artists

Storm Rider, The (1957) - Scott Brady, Mala Powers, Bill Williams (Iverson Ranch) 20th Century-Fox

Oklahoma Territory (1960) - Bill Williams, Gloria Talbott, Ted de Corsia (Iverson Ranch) United Artists

Law of the Lawless (1964) - Dale Robertson, Yvonne De Carlo, William Bendix (Iverson Ranch) Paramount

Throughout the late 1960s and 1970s Williams made appearances in a plethora of TV shows -- often in a Western role.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Meetin' Wild Bill On His Calabasas Ranch

In his book, "Wild Bill Elliott: A Complete Filmography" writer and movie historian Gene Blottner tells us that Wild Bill Elliott purchased the former “Baby J” Ranch, which had once been owned by actress Betty Grable and band leader husband Harry James.

Betty Grable and Harry James had named their ranch -- on Ventura Boulevard in Calabasas -- the 'Baby J Ranch' after their eldest daughter Jessica.

When Bill Elliott purchased the ranch he renamed it the 'Double Bar A Ranch' after his daughter Barbara.  

As a youngster I met Wild Bill Elliott under rather unusual circumstances…

I usually rode my horse on open land -- a few thousand acres of rolling hills covered with wild oats -- that had once been part of the abandoned Platt Ranch.  About a half mile west of my home a barbed wire fence ran north and south along a ridge, and cut off further travel to the west.

I always wanted to see the country beyond that fence, but I had no idea who owned the land, or how to get permission to ride there.

In those days most young cowpokes had learned about the evils of barbed wire from their six-gun heroes in the movies, so eventually I decided I needed to ride my horse on the other side of the fence. 

One day I picked a spot next to an oak tree at the top of a hill, and neatly cut the wire.  I hadn't been on the other side of the fence for more than a few minutes when a red jeep came roarin' up a dirt road in my newly discovered valley, and the driver asked, "How the *&$# did you get in here?"

Having been caught as a trespasser -- I lied and said, "The fence was down on that hill over there."  By now I was starting to squirm a little, but stuck to my story even as I was being told it was a brand new section of fence.

To make a long story short it turned that the jeep belonged to the foreman of Wild Bill Elliott's ranch. The foreman escorted me home -- following a very slow walkin' horse -- in his jeep. 

When I got home I got a pretty severe scolding from dad.  After a little palaver between the foreman and my dad I ended up mucking stalls at Wild Bill's ranch to help make restitution. 

In the end it wasn't all that bad 'cause I did get to meet Wild Bill Elliott -- one of my cowboy heroes -- in person.

A short while later -- after my retirin' from my life as a wild west criminal -- I had a chance to ride in Horse Show on Wild Bill's Ranch.  I can tell now that it was one of the highlights of my life in the 1950s.


Years later I discovered this clip from "Bells of Rosarita" (1945), so it appears Bill bought his ranch before 1945.