Thursday, February 8, 2018

Inspirations for a Chatsworth Western Movie Historian


This is what Woodland Hills looked like in 1954

Yesterday I was asked for a biography to accompany a collection of movie memorabilia I gave to the Chatsworth Historical Society a few years back...

Jerry England, Movie Historian

Jerry England’s cowboy legacy and pioneer heritage can be back-trailed for more than twelve generations across the forests and prairies of North America.

In the 1940s and 1950s, when Jerry was growing up, the San Fernando Valley was still full of movie cowboys, beautiful ranches, and fine horses.  Where he lived, in rural Woodland Hills, most kids had a horse or two in their backyards.

Jerry recalls, “As youngsters we rode our horses to Calabasas, Canoga Park, and Chatsworth on dirt roads.”

Jerry reminds us that in the 1930s, most of Hollywood's six-gun heroes worked for a single studio, such as Warner Brothers, Universal or Republic.  Many of the early cowboy actors, like Gary Cooper, Tom Mix, John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Clark Gable bought ranches and moved to the Valley.

By the 1940s, celebrities such as Barbara Stanwyck, Zeppo Marx, Janet Gaynor, William Holden, and Robert Taylor boasted of owning working horse-ranches.  Nearby Northridge billed itself as the "Horse Capital of the West."


Some of Jerry’s favorite memories from the 1950s include attending the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, where youngsters were sometimes treated to actually meeting their cowboy heroes.  He was one of those lucky kids who got a souvenir good luck coin directly from Hoppy. 


During the mid 1950s Jerry often attended the Los Angeles Sheriffs' Rodeo at the Los Angeles Coliseum and remembers there being more than 100,000 fans in the stands.  One of those years, 1956 he recalls, Roy Rogers was the Grand Marshall.


In the mid 1950s, cowboy star Wild Bill Elliott lived just down the road from him on a ranch in Calabasas where he hosted Junior Equestrian horse shows that Jerry participated in.


Jerry remembers riding past Rancho El Escorpion’s old barn and dreaming of bygone days of the early vaqueros and cattle ranching.  Miguel Leonis built the adobe barn in the 1870s, and it still stood until the 1960s.  

There were plenty of interesting characters left over from an earlier era that reminded us of a passing West.”  While out on a trail ride Jerry met a fellow named Don Brandstetter who had a beautiful Arabian stallion named Balane.  

Jerry remembers, “We got to be pretty good friends, and Don showed me some great places to ride.  We sometimes rode our horses under Ventura Boulevard through a huge 8' diameter iron culvert, and we'd stop by the old Calabasas general store for a Nehi soda,” 

“Don really loved that stallion and would do some mighty funny things with that horse.  I remember him holding up his canteen so he could share a drink with his horse, and I remember him inviting the horse into his house.  I'll admit ol' Balane had pretty good manners.  A special treat was watching Don and Balane in the Rose Parade dressed in full Arabian attire.”

We lived on Manton Avenue, in Woodland Hills, still a dirt road in 1955

As late as 1956, sheep herders were still bringing their sheep wagons, horses, border collie dogs, and herd of sheep to graze off the wild oats that grew across the road from his home in Woodland Hills.

By 1957, the Valley was getting way too populated for his dad, so he moved to Oakhurst, a hamlet in the High Sierras (population 356).  After completing his service in the U. S. Army Jerry moved back to the valley in 1965, and now lives in Chatsworth.


Today Jerry is a movie historian, cowboy folk artist, and photographer who, for the past dozen years, has researched and collected memorabilia associated with the movie locations in Chatsworth's Santa Susana Mountains. 

After making a 2007 guest appearance on the ReelzChannel Dailies program titled "Hollywood Was Here - The Iverson Movie Ranch", he was urged to share his research and knowledge. 


Using movie stills, screenshots, and his own photographs Jerry has documented the unique landscape features that attracted filmmakers to Chatsworth a century ago, and has published two books about Chatsworth's filming locations:  Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas” (2008) and “Boulder Pass - Hollywood's Fantasyland” (2010).

If you'd like to learn more about Chatsworth movie locations Jerry invites you to visit his blog links listed below:

Chatsworth Movie Locations

Chatsworth's Road to Movie Magic -- Part One

Chatsworth's Road to Movie Magic -- Part Two

My Baby Loves Western Movies & Ranches

Chatsworth's Rock Stars

Meanwhile back at the ranch -- Map to rock star locations

Big News on the Iverson Movie Ranch

Homage to six-gun heroes and their gallant horses

San Fernando Valley Horses and Movies Are Forever Linked

Movies and serials filmed in Chatsworth

Early Days

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- The beginning (1912 - 1922)

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Sound arrives (1923 - 1929)

Classic Movies

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- 1930s Classic Movies

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- 1940s Classic Movies

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Classics 1950 - 1953

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Classics 1954 - 1956

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Classics 1957 - 1959

Cliffhangers (Serials)

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- 1930s Cliffhangers (Serials)

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- 1940s Cliffhangers (Serials)

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- 1950s Cliffhangers (Serials)

Western Movies

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns (1930 - 1936)

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns (1937 - 1939)

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1940

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1941

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1942

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1943

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1944

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1945

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1946

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1947

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1948

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1949

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1950

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1951

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1952

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1953

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1954

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1955

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1956

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1957

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1958

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1959

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns after 1960

Television Shows

'Wait for me, Wild Bill!' -- Chatsworth's TV Westerns

Iverson Movie Ranch Video Montage
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_HBwVKaHjo


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