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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

TV Filming at Corriganville

A few years back I published 'Wait for me, Wild Bill!' -- Chatsworth's TV Westerns http://a-drifting-cowboy.blogspot.com/2012/03/wait-for-me-wild-bill-chatsworths-tv.html and it has been one of my more popular posts.

Now it's time to look at  Ray Corrigan's Ranch -- also known as Corriganville -- which was another busy filming location for TV Westerns and other TV adventure series from 1949 through the 1960s and beyond.  

Most of the titles below also used other filming locations such as the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth and the Bell Motion Picture Ranch halfway between.

All of the following TV series had at least some episodes lensed at Corriganville.

"The Lone Ranger" (1949) TV Series
Jay Silverheels as Tonto / ... (217 episodes, 1949-1957)
Clayton Moore as The Lone Ranger / ... (169 episodes, 1949-1957)
John Hart as The Lone Ranger / ... (54 episodes, 1950-1953)
Episode: Outlaws in Greasepaint (1957)

"Crash Corrigan's Ranch" (1950) TV Series
Ray Corrigan as Host

"Gene Autry Show, The" (1950–1955)  TV Series
Gene Autry as Gene Autry (91 episodes, 1950-1955)
Champion as Champion - Gene's Horse (91 episodes, 1950-1955)
Pat Buttram as Pat Buttram (83 episodes, 1950-1955)
Episode: Outlaw of Blue Mesa (1954)

"Cisco Kid, The" (1950) TV Series
Duncan Renaldo as The Cisco Kid (156 episodes, 1950-1956)
Leo Carrillo as Pancho (156 episodes, 1950-1956)

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

"Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok" (1951) TV Series
Guy Madison as Wild Bill Hickok (112 episodes, 1951-1958)
Andy Devine as Deputy Jingles P. Jones (112 episodes, 1951-1958)

"Range Rider, The" (1951) TV Series
Jock Mahoney as The Range Rider (77 episodes, 1951-1953)
Dickie Jones as Dick West (77 episodes, 1951-1953)

"Roy Rogers Show, The" (1951) TV Series
Roy Rogers as Roy Rogers (100 episodes, 1951-1957)
Dale Evans as Dale Evans (100 episodes, 1951-1957)
Pat Brady as Pat Brady (100 episodes, 1951-1957)
Trigger as Trigger (100 episodes, 1951-1957)
Bullet as Bullet (100 episodes, 1951-1957)

"Sky King" (1951) TV Series
Kirby Grant as Sky King  (72 episodes, 1952-1959

"Adventures of Superman" (1952) TV Series
George Reeves as Clark Kent (104 episodes, 1951-1958)
Episode: The Bully of Dry Gulch (1955)

"Ramar of the Jungle" (1952) TV Series
Jon Hall as Dr. Tom 'Ramar' Reynolds (52 episodes, 1953-1954)
Ray Montgomery as Professor Howard Ogden (45 episodes, 1953-1954)
Nick Stewart as Willy-Willy (21 episodes, 1953)

"Hopalong Cassidy" (1952) TV Series
William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy (52 episodes, 1952-1954)
Topper the Horse as Hoppy's horse (51 episodes, 1952-1954)

"Death Valley Days" (1952) TV Series
Robert Taylor as Himself - Host (77 episodes, 1966-1969)
Ronald Reagan as Bear River Smith (8 episodes, 1964-1966)

"Captain Midnight" (1954) TV Series
Richard Webb as Captain Midnight (39 episodes, 1954-1956)
Sid Melton as Ichabod 'Ikky' Mudd (19 episodes, 1954-1956)

"Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, The" (1954) TV Series
Lee Aaker as Rusty (166 episodes, 1954-1959)
James Brown as Lt. Ripley 'Rip' Masters (166 episodes, 1954-1959)
Flame Jr. as Rin Tin Tin (146 episodes, 1954-1959)

"Annie Oakley" (1954) TV Series
Gail Davis as Annie Oakley (81 episodes, 1954-1957)

"Brave Eagle" (1955) TV Series
Keith Larsen as Brave Eagle (26 episodes, 1955-1956)

"Jungle Jim" (1955) TV Series
Johnny Weissmuller as Jungle Jim (26 episodes, 1955-1956)
Martin Huston as Skipper (26 episodes, 1955-1956)
Dean Fredericks as Kaseem (26 episodes, 1955-1956)
Tamba the Chimp (26 episodes, 1955-1956)

"Gunsmoke" (1955) TV Series
James Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon (616 episodes, 1955-1975)

"Tales of the Texas Rangers" (1955) TV Series
Willard Parker as Ranger Jace Pearson (52 episodes, 1955-1958)
Harry Lauter as Ranger Clay Morgan (52 episodes, 1955-1958)

"Fury" (1955) TV Series
Peter Graves as Jim Newton (116 episodes, 1955-1960)

"Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, The" (1955) TV Series
Hugh O'Brian as Wyatt Earp (162 episodes, 1955-1961)

"Highway Patrol" (1955) TV Series
Broderick Crawford as Chief Dan Mathews (156 episodes, 1955-1959)
Art Gilmore as Narrator (156 episodes, 1955-1959)
Episode: Motorcycle, A (1956)

Massacre at Sand Creek (1956) TV Movie -- 27 December 1956
Everett Sloane as Col. John Templeton
John Derek as Lt. Norman Tucker
Gene Evans as Sgt. Maddox
Roy Roberts as Col. Collery
William Schallert as Defense Attorney at Court-Martial

"Corky and White Shadow" (1956) TV Series
Buddy Ebsen as Sheriff Matt Brady (1 episode, 1956)
Darlene Gillespie as Corky Brady (1 episode, 1956)
Robert 'Buzz' Henry as Durango Dude (1 episode, 1956)

"Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers" (1956) TV Series
Philip Carey as Lieutenant Michael Rhodes (26 episodes, 1956-1957)

"Count of Monte Cristo, The" (1956) TV Series
George Dolenz as Edmond Dantes (39 episodes, 1956)
Nick Cravat as Jacopo (39 episodes, 1956)
Robert Cawdron as Rico (27 episodes, 1956)

"Casey Jones" (1957) TV Series
Eddy Waller as Red Rock Smith (32 episodes, 1957-1958)
Alan Hale Jr. as Casey Jones (32 episodes, 1957-1958)
Dub Taylor as Wallie Sims (32 episodes, 1957-1958)
Mary Lawrence as Alice Jones (29 episodes, 1957-1958)

"Wagon Train" (1957) TV Series
Frank McGrath as Charlie Wooster (71 episodes, 1957-1965)
Terry Wilson as Bill Hawks (66 episodes, 1957-1965)
Ward Bond as Major Seth Adams (59 episodes, 1957-1961)
Robert Horton as Flint McCullough (58 episodes, 1957-1962)

"Mackenzie's Raiders" (1958) TV Series
Art Gilmore as Narrator (39 episodes, 1958-1959)

"Wanted: Dead or Alive" (1958) TV Series
Steve McQueen as Josh Randall (94 episodes, 1958-1961)

"Bat Masterson" (1958) TV Series
Gene Barry as William Barclay 'Bat' Masterson (108 episodes, 1958-1961)
Bill Baldwin as Narrator (102 episodes, 1958-1961)
Episode: One Bullet from Broken Bow (1959)

"Lawman" (1958) TV Series
John Russell as Marshal Dan Troop (156 episodes, 1958-1962)
Peter Brown as Deputy Johnny McKay (156 episodes, 1958-1962)

"Have Gun - Will Travel" (1957) TV Series
Richard Boone as Paladin (226 episodes, 1957-1963)
Episode: The Great Mojave Chase (1957)
Episode: The Hanging Cross (1957)
Episode: The Yuma Treasure (1957)
Episode: The Protégé (1958)
Episode: Duel at Florence (1958)
Episode: Girl from Piccadilly (1958)
Episode: Fragile (1959)
Episode: The Black Handkerchief (1959)

"Bonanza" (1959) TV Series
Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright
Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
Dan Blocker as Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright
Michael Landon as Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright

"Deputy, The" (1959) TV Series
Henry Fonda as Marshal Simon Fry (76 episodes, 1959-1961)
Allen Case as Clay McCord (75 episodes, 1959-1961)

"Laramie" (1959) TV Series
John Smith as Slim Sherman (121 episodes, 1959-1963)
Robert Fuller as Jess Harper (121 episodes, 1959-1963)

"Rebel, The" (1959) TV Series
Nick Adams as Johnny Yuma (63 episodes, 1959-1961)

"Route 66" (1960) TV Series
Martin Milner as Tod Stiles (116 episodes, 1960-1964)
George Maharis as Buz Murdock (82 episodes, 1960-1963)
Glenn Corbett as Linc Case (32 episodes, 1963-1964)

"Frontier Circus" (1961) TV Series
Chill Wills as Colonel Casey Thompson (26 episodes, 1961-1962)
John Derek as Ben Travis (26 episodes, 1961-1962)
Richard Jaeckel as Tony Gentry (26 episodes, 1961-1962)

"Fugitive, The" (1963) TV Series
David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble (120 episodes, 1963-1967)

"Dundee and the Culhane" (1967) TV Series
John Mills as Dundee (13 episodes, 1967)
Sean Garrison as The Culhane (7 episodes, 1967)

Hidden Treasures (1998) TV Documentary

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Cowboy's Answer To The Eternal Question

When I was a kid we didn't go to church like most other folks.

Dad had been raised by a Christian Science family who according to him -- did too much reading' when they should've called a doctor.  Consequently, his dad died from a heart attack during one of those readings, and Dad gave up on God.  From that time forward Dad claimed he was an atheist, and didn't weaken even when he was dying.

Mom, on the other hand was raised by a Seventh Day Adventist family, but had to keep her thoughts about religion to herself when Dad was around.  When Dad wasn't around I got a pretty strong dose of God'll punish you if you are bad.

Later, cause Mom was from Montana, I took an interest in the great Western artist and cowboy philosopher Charles Marion Russell.  From an early age I read everything I could written by or about ol' Charlie.  In time my ideas about religion pretty much aligned with the way Charlie saw things.  

"When the Land Belonged to God," by Charles M. Russell

From the titles of some of his art (like the painting above) and a few of his quotes in books I know Charlie did believe in God.  I know he felt most preachers were trying to do good, and he even jested by referring' to 'em as Sky Pilots.  Still, he didn't see the need to attend church and avoided sky pilots whenever possible.

I also know he greatly admired Montana's plains Indians about whom he wrote, "their God was the sun, their church all out doors, their only book was nature and they knew all its pages."

I don't know if Charlie ever became acquainted with the cowboy poet Badger Clark who penned "A Cowboy's Prayer," but I think they both shared the same idea about God who Charlie referred to as "the Old Man upstairs."

A Cowboy's Prayer

(Written for Mother)

Oh, Lord, I've never lived where churches grow.
I love creation better as it stood
That day you finished it so long ago.
And looked upon your work and called it good.
I know that others might find You in the light
That's sifted down through tinted window panes,
And yet I seem to feel You near tonight.

Let me be easy on the man that's down;
Let me be square and generous with all.
I'm careless sometimes, Lord, when I'm in town,
But never let them say I'm mean or small!
Make me as big and open as the plains,
As honest as the hoss between my knees,
Clean as the wind that blows behind the rains,
Free as the hawk that circles down the breeze!

I thank you, Lord, that I am placed so well,
That you made my freedom so complete;
That I'm no slave to whistle, clock, or bell,
Nor weak-eyed prisoner of wall and street.
Just let me live my life as I've begun
And give me work that is open to the sky;
Make me a pardner of the wind and sun,
And I won't ask a life that's soft or high.

Forgive me, Lord, if sometimes I forget.
You know about the reasons that are hid.
You understand the things that gall and fret;
You know me better than my mother did.
Just keep an eye on all that's done and said
And right me, sometimes, when I turn aside,
And guide me on the long, dim trail ahead
That stretches upward toward the Great Divide.

by Badger Clark (1906)

One of my favorite Russell quotes gives more insight to his views on religion is, “You can see what man made from the seat of an automobile, but the best way to see what God made is from the back of a horse.”

I agree, and I've found the answer to the Eternal Question while sittin' a horse on top of a mountain -- thanks to Charlie Russell and Badger Clark.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Reel Sidekicks of the Santa Susanas -- Emmett Lynn

Emmett Lynn (1897-1958) was an American film actor that appeared in over 140 films -- mostly B-Westerns -- between 1940 and 1956.  He was featured in nine episodes of "The Lone Ranger" TV series during the final decade of his life.

Emmett Lynn's Santa Susana locations filmography includes:

Grandpa Goes to Town (1940) - James Gleason, Lucile Gleason, Russell Gleason (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Fargo Kid, The (1940) - Tim Holt, Ray Whitley, Emmett Lynn (Iverson Ranch) RKO

Six-Gun Gold (1941) - Tim Holt, Ray Whitley, Jan Clayton - RKO

Road Agent (1941) - Dick Foran, Leo Carrillo, Andy Devine (Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville) Universal

Stagecoach Express (1942) - Don 'Red' Barry, Lynn Merrick, Al St. John (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Westward Ho (1942) - Bob Steele, Tom Tyler, Rufe Davis (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Outlaws of Pine Ridge (1942) - Don 'Red' Barry, Lynn Merrick, Noah Beery - Republic

Sundown Kid, The (1942) - Don 'Red' Barry, Ian Keith, Helen MacKellar - Republic

Dead Man's Gulch (1943) - Don 'Red' Barry, Lynn Merrick, Clancy Cooper (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Days of Old Cheyenne (1943) - Don 'Red' Barry, Lynn Merrick, William Haade (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Law Rides Again, The (1943) - Ken Maynard, Hoot Gibson, Jack La Rue (Corriganville) Monogram

Blazing Guns (1943) - Ken Maynard, Hoot Gibson, LeRoy Mason (Corriganville) Monogram

Return of the Rangers, The (1943) - Dave O'Brien, James Newill, Guy Wilkerson - PRC

Frontier Outlaws (1944) - Buster Crabbe, Al St. John, Frances Gladwin (Corriganville) PRC

Laramie Trail, The (1944) - Robert Livingston, Smiley Burnette, Linda Brent - Republic

Outlaws of Santa Fe (1944) - Don 'Red' Barry, Helen Talbot, Wally Vernon - Republic

Both Barrels Blazing (1945) - Charles Starrett, Tex Harding, Dub Taylor (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Gangster's Den, The (1945) - Buster Crabbe, Al St. John, Sydney Logan (Corriganville) PRC

Along Came Jones (1945) - Gary Cooper, Loretta Young, William Demarest (Iverson Ranch) RKO

Song of Old Wyoming (1945) - Eddie Dean, Sarah Padden, Ian Keith, Lash LaRue (Corriganville) PRC

Wagon Wheels Westward (1945) - Bill Elliott, Robert Blake, Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Romance of the West (1946) - Eddie Dean, Emmett Lynn, Joan Barton (Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville) PRC

Caravan Trail, The (1946) - Eddie Dean, Lash La Rue, Emmett Lynn (Iverson Ranch) PRC

Man from Rainbow Valley, The (1946) - Monte Hale, Lorna Gray, Jo Ann Marlowe (Chatsworth Reservoir)(Iverson Ranch) Republic

Conquest of Cheyenne (1946) - Bill Elliott, Robert Blake, Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Santa Fe Uprising (1946) - Allan Lane, Robert Blake, Martha Wentworth (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Landrush (1946) - Charles Starrett, Doris Houck, Ozie Waters and His Colorado Rangers (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Fighting Frontiersman, The (1946) - Charles Starrett, Helen Mowery, The Georgia Crackers (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Stagecoach to Denver (1946) - Allan Lane, Robert Blake, Martha Wentworth (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Vigilante: Fighting Hero of the West, The (1947) [serial] Ralph Byrd, Ramsay Ames, Lyle Talbot (Corriganville) Columbia

Rustlers of Devil's Canyon (1947) - Allan Lane, Robert Blake, Martha Wentworth (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Jesse James Rides Again (1947) [serial] Clayton Moore, Linda Stirling, Roy Barcroft (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap, The (1947) - Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Marjorie Main (Iverson Ranch) Universal

Trail of the Mounties (1947) - Russell Hayden, Jennifer Holt, Emmett Lynn (Corriganville) Screen Guild

Relentless (1948) - Robert Young, Marguerite Chapman, Willard Parker (Corriganville) Columbia

West of Sonora (1948) - Charles Starrett, Steve Darrell, George Chesebro - Columbia

Grand Canyon Trail (1948) - Roy Rogers, Trigger, Jane Frazee (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Far Frontier, The (1948) - Roy Rogers, Trigger, Gail Davis (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Ride, Ryder, Ride! (1949) - Jim Bannon, Don Reynolds, Emmett Lynn (Iverson Ranch) Eagle-Lion

Last Bandit, The (1949) - Bill Elliott, Lorna Gray, Forrest Tucker (Brandeis Ranch) Republic

Younger Brothers, The (1949) - Wayne Morris, Janis Paige, Bruce Bennett - Warner Bros.

Roll, Thunder, Roll! (1949) - Jim Bannon, Don Reynolds, Emmett Lynn (Iverson Ranch) Eagle-Lion

Fighting Redhead, The (1949) - Jim Bannon, Don Reynolds, Emmett Lynn (Iverson Ranch) Eagle-Lion

Cowboy and the Prizefighter, The (1950) - Jim Bannon, Don Reynolds, Emmett Lynn (Iverson Ranch) Eagle-Lion

Traveling Saleswoman, The (1950) - Joan Davis, Andy Devine, Adele Jergens (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Badman's Gold (1951) - Johnny Carpenter, Alyn Lockwood, Clarke Stevens (Iverson Ranch) Eagle-Lion

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

Slaughter Trail (1951) - Brian Donlevy, Gig Young, Virginia Grey (Corriganville) RKO

Red Mountain (1951) - Alan Ladd, Lizabeth Scott, Arthur Kennedy, John Ireland - Paramount

Callaway Went Thataway (1951) - Fred MacMurray, Dorothy McGuire, Howard Keel (Iverson Ranch) MGM

Cripple Creek (1952) - George Montgomery, Karin Booth, Jerome Courtland (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Apache War Smoke (1952) - Gilbert Roland, Glenda Farrell, Robert Horton (Iverson Ranch) MGM

"Death Valley Days" (1952) TV Series

"Sky King" (1952) TV Series

Homesteaders, The (1953) - Bill Elliott, Robert Lowery, Emmett Lynn (Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville) Monogram

Robe, The (1953) - Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Victor Mature (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) 20th Century Fox

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

"Gene Autry Show, The" (1954) TV Series

"Lone Ranger, The" (1949-1955) TV Series

"Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok" (1958) TV Series

"Californians, The" (1957) TV Series

"Restless Gun, The" (1957) TV Series

"Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, The" (1959) TV Series