Monday, June 25, 2012

Brandeis Movie Ranch -- Caretaker's House

I've been collecting movies lensed in Chatsworth for well over a dozen years, and I'm continually finding new films with scenes shot on the Brandeis Ranch.  The busiest filming era on the Brandeis Ranch was 1935 to 1942, but a few films were shot even later.  The last movie filmed there was Treasure of the Ruby Hills (1955).

Three of the prominent features that help identify the ranch are the Western street (known as Hickeyville, see; the bunkhouse, and the caretaker's house seen in the screenshot above from a scene in Prairie Moon (1938).

The caretaker's house had a slight or low pitched roof, wood siding, and in early films had a rustic wood rail fence leading to the front door.  Upon closer examination you can see chicken-wire applied to the fencing to keep out pests.  Even the extravagant estate homes today have resorted to the use of tight meshed wire to keep out the large rattlesnake population in the area.

The caretaker's house was located on the lower (southern) portion of the ranch a good distance from the home of the Brandeis family which has never been seen in a movie.  In the composite photo above the vertical fence line just (right of center) separated the Iverson Ranch to the east (right) from the Brandeis Ranch on the west (left).  In the photo above it's pretty easy to find the treelined entry road leading to the Brandeis home because it is at a 45 angle and parallels a naturally treelined creek (also running more or less at a 45 angle).  The caretaker's house was located on the east side of gigantic rock outcropping to the south of the entry road leading to the Brandeis home.

This redacted photo (taken in 2010) shows you what the area looks like today.  The Ronald Reagan freeway nows runs contiguous to and immediately south of the rock outcroppings that were next to the caretaker's house.

The screen capture above taken from a scene in Bill Elliott's The Last Bandit (1949) gives you a fairly good look at the rocks just south (left) of the caretaker's house.  Now, compare this screenshot with the redacted photo above.

In this early movie still from Heir to Trouble (1935) Ken Maynard is sitting on the rustic fence (chicken-wire plain to see).

Here's another look at the rustic fence and entry to the caretaker's house in a lobby photo promoting Tim McCoy's Roarin' Guns (1936).

In a publicity photo from The Red Rope (1937) Bob Steele is sitting on the rustic railing.  The house is almost completely surrounded and partially covered with live oak trees that populate the ranch.

The screenshot above from Adventures of the Masked Phantom (1939) gives you a better look at the patio area in front of caretaker's house.

In this final shot from The Last Bandit (1949) you get a good look at the north elevation (right side of the house), but as you can see the patio and rustic railing are now missing.

A few more films that prominently featured the caretaker's house include The Singing Cowboy (1936), The Feud of the Trail (1937), Lightning Carson Rides Again (1938), Whirlwind Horsemen (1938 ) and Straight Shooter (1939).

To learn more about the ranch's history see my post at

As you know I've wrapped up my 'Meanwhile back at the ranch' posts about Iverson Ranch features, but there's still lots to share about other Chatsworth movie filming locations.  Stay tuned...

An index for all of the Iverson 'Meanwhile back at the ranch' posts is located here:

For additional information about the Chatsworth filming locations visit and learn about my books: 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)

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