Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Beyond Boulder Pass -- Bell Location Ranch

See http://www.cowboyup.com/ to find my books about Chatsworth movie locations: Rendezvous at Boulder Pass: Hollywood's Fantasyland - 2010 (ISBN: 978-0-615-21522-8) and Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas - 2008 (ISBN: 978-0-615-21499-3) by Jerry England, and published by Echo Press


The Bell Location Ranch (photo above Four Guns to the Border) sat high-up on a plateau in the Santa Susanna Mountains overlooking the San Fernando Valley and Chatsworth reservoir.  It was situated just off Box Canyon Road on Studio Road (south of Santa Susana Pass Road) about half way between Chatsworth's Iverson Ranch and Simi Valley's Corriganville.  

Supposedly the area had been used for filming since the silent days (I cannot find any titles or credits before the 1950s).  According to location expert Tinsley Yarbrough (in the 1920s it was known as the Bell Moving Picture Ranch).  Yarbrough's research reveals that a gentleman named Berry later purchased the Bell property, and sold the 120 acres to Rosemary Couch and Jean Forsythe.  They named their new property the Berry Ranch.  I have located news articles about the Berry ranch, but no reference to early filming information can be found.

About 1950, five acres were sold to Tony Stimolo who then named his property the Bell Location Ranch.  In 1955 Stimolo built a Western street on the ranch.  The street burned to the ground in the mid 1960's, and was immediately rebuilt.  Eventually disputes with neighboring land owners (who also shared narrow Studio Road), and complaints about the impact of film crews forced the location to close shortly after 1988.

Bell Location Ranch filmography:


Carson City (1952) starring Randolph Scott, Lucille Norman, Raymond Massey (Bell Ranch) (lobby photo above) Warner Bros.


Man Behind the Gun, The (1953) starring Randolph Scott (Bell Ranch) (Iverson Ranch) Warner Bros


Riding Shotgun (1954) starring Randolph Scott (Bell Ranch) (lobby photo above) Warner Bros.


Four Guns to the Border (1954) starring Rory Calhoun (Bell Ranch) (movie still above) Universal


Gunsight Ridge (1957) starring Joel McCrea (Bell Ranch)(Iverson Ranch) (screenshot above) United Artists


Sierra Stranger (1957) starring Howard Duff, Gloria McGehee and Dick Foran (Bell Ranch) Columbia


Face of a Fugitive (1959) starring Fred MacMurray, Lin McCarthy, Dorothy Green (Bell Ranch)(Corriganville) (screenshot above) Columbia


Outrage, The (1964) starring Paul Newman, Laurence Harvey and Claire Bloom (Bell Ranch) (photo above) MGM


Quick Gun, The (1964) starring Audie Murphy (Bell Ranch) (screenshot above) Columbia
Talisman, The (1966)  [Adult Western] starring Ned Romero/Linda Hawkins (Bell Ranch)(Spahn Ranch) Gillman




Hombre (1967) starring Paul Newman, Fredric March, Richard Boone (Bell Ranch) (screenshot above) (Iverson Ranch) 20th Century-Fox
Hard on the Trail (1972) [Adult Western] starring Lash La Rue, Julie Conners, Bob Romero (Bell Ranch) 
Santee (1973) starring Glenn Ford, Michael Burns, Dana Wynter (Bell Ranch) Crown
Sunset (1988) starring Bruce Willis, James Garner, Malcolm McDowell (Bell Ranch) TriStar
Assignment: Survive (1988) starring Vincent Barbi, Michael Christian and Joseph Marina (Bell Ranch)
"Gunsmoke" (1955 TV Series) starring James Arness, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake
"Cheyenne" (1955 TV Series) starring Clint Walker, Philip Carey, Booth Colman
"Maverick" (TV Series 1957–1962) starring Jack Kelly, James Garner and Roger Moore


"Zorro" (1957 TV Series) starring Guy Williams, Gene Sheldon, Henry Calvin (photo above is the remains of Zorro's cabin used in the TV series -- it's on private property today)


"Bat Masterson" (TV series) 1958-1961 starring Gene Barry, Bill Baldwin and Allison Hayes
"Bonanza" (1959 TV Series) - Episode: The Rattlesnake Brigade (1971) starring Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker, Michael Landon
"Dundee and the Culhane" (1967 TV Series) starring John Mills, Sean Garrison, Roy Poole
Western

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