Saturday, July 14, 2012

Chatsworth filming location -- Burro Flats

Santa Susana Field Laboratory (1988) photo from US Department of Energy

Because of its interesting sandstone rock formations, Burro Flats was a popular filming location between 1937 and 1954. Then in the mid-1950s, filming abruptly stopped when Rocketdyne began using the (then remote) area to test rocket engines and power systems.

Today the Burro Flats location is known as the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL). It is closed to the public. In 1959, an experimental nuclear reactor at SSFL suffered a partial core meltdown -- the first meltdown in the history of nuclear power. It resulted in a significant release of radiation. Long-term effects and mitigation efforts have been the subject of on-going controversy.

Following are the titles and a few movie stills or screen captures from films lensed at Burro Flats:

Come on, Cowboys (1937) (lobby photo above) starring Robert Livingston, Ray Corrigan and Max Terhune (Brandeis Ranch)(Iverson Ranch)(Burro Flats) Republic
Call the Mesquiteers (1938) starring Robert Livingston, Ray Corrigan and Max Terhune (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Republic

Zorro's Fighting Legion (1939) (lobby photo above) starring Reed Hadley, Sheila Darcy and William Corson (Iverson Ranch)(Burro Flats) Republic

Code of the Cactus (1939) starring Tim McCoy, Ben Corbett and Dorothy Short (Iverson Ranch)(Burro Flats)(Brandeis Ranch) Victory
Arizona Legion (1939) starring George O'Brien, Laraine Day and Carlyle Moore Jr. (Iverson Ranch)(Burro Flats)(Corriganville) RKO
The Kansas Terrors (1939) starring Robert Livingston, Raymond Hatton and Duncan Renaldo (Burro Flats) Republic 

Rovin' Tumbleweeds (1939) (photo above) starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette and Mary Carlisle (Burro Flats) Republic
Adventures of Red Ryder (1940)[serial] starring Don 'Red' Barry, Noah Beery and Tommy Cook (Burro Flats) (Iverson Ranch) Republic
The Carson City Kid (1940) starring Roy Rogers, George 'Gabby' Hayes, Bob Steele (Burro Flats) Republic 
Pony Express Days (1940) [Short Film] starring George Reeves, David Bruce and Frank Wilcox (Burro Flats) Warner Bros.
Frontier Vengeance (1940) staring Don 'Red' Barry, Betty Moran and George Offerman Jr. (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Republic

Sergeant York (1941)  (lobby photo above) starring Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan and Joan Leslie (Burro Flats) Warner Bros.
Robin Hood of the Pecos (1941) starring Roy Rogers, George 'Gabby' Hayes and Marjorie Reynolds (Burro Flats) Republic

Watch Roy and Trigger outwit the bad guys as they gallop across Burro Flats in this YouTube clip from Robin Hood of the Pecos (1941)

The Bandit Trail (1941) starring Tim Holt, Ray Whitley and Janet Waldo (Brandeis Ranch)(Iverson Ranch) RKO
Land of the Open Range (1942) starring Tim Holt, Ray Whitley and Janet Waldo (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) RKO
Arizona Terrors (1942) starring Don 'Red' Barry, Lynn Merrick and Al St. John (Burro Flats) Republic
Calling Wild Bill Elliott (1943) starring Bill Elliott, George 'Gabby' Hayes and Anne Jeffreys (Iverson Ranch)(Burro Flats) Republic

California (1946) (photo above) starring Barbara Stanwyck, Ray Milland and Barry Fitzgerald (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Paramount
Bandit King of Texas (1949) starring Allan Lane, Black Jack and Eddy Waller (Burro Flats) Republic
Utah Wagon Train (1951) starring Rex Allen, Koko and Penny Edwards (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Republic

Wagons West (1952) (photo above) starring Rod Cameron, Noah Beery Jr. and Peggie Castle (Burro Flats)(Corriganville) Monogram
Wings of the Hawk (1953) starring Van Heflin, Julie Adams and Abbe Lane (Burro Flats) Universal
Jack Slade (1953) starring Mark Stevens, Dorothy Malone and Barton MacLane (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Allied Artists
The Nebraskan (1953) starring Philip Carey, Roberta Haynes and Wallace Ford (Corriganville)(Burro Flats) Columbia
Bandits of the West (1953) starring Allan Lane, Black Jack and Eddy Waller (Burro Flats) Republic
Shadows of Tombstone (1953) starring Rex Allen, Koko and Slim Pickens (Burro Flats) Republic

Iron Mountain Trail (1953) (photo above) starring Rex Allen, Koko and Slim Pickens (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Republic

Drums Across the River (1954) (photo above) starring Audie Murphy, Walter Brennan and Lyle Bettger (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Universal
Apache (1954) starring Burt Lancaster, Jean Peters and John McIntire (Corriganville)(Burro Flats) United Artists

They Rode West (1954) (photo above) starring Robert Francis, Donna Reed and May Wynn (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Columbia
Arrow in the Dust (1954) starring Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray and Keith Larsen (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Allied Artists
The Black Dakotas (1954) starring Gary Merrill, Wanda Hendrix and John Bromfield (Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville)(Burro Flats) Columbia
Overland Pacific (1954) starring Jock Mahoney, Peggie Castle and Adele Jergens (Burro Flats) United Artists

Return from Witch Mountain (1978) (front gate -- screenshot above) starring Bette Davis, Christopher Lee and Kim Richards (Santa Susana Field Laboratory formerly Burro Flats) Walt Disney

Return from Witch Mountain (1978) (screenshot two above) 

Return from Witch Mountain (1978) (screenshot three above)

Compare Burro Flats (then 1946 and after SSFL 1978) in a short YouTube clip:

For more 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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