Monday, April 27, 2015

Reel Buffalo Bills in the Santa Susanas

The real William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (1846 - 1917) was an American scout, bison hunter, and showman.  Col. William Frederick Cody got his nickname "Buffalo Bill" after the American Civil War when he had a contract to supply Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with buffalo meat.  Cody is purported to have killed 4,282 American bison (commonly known as buffalo) in eighteen months, (1867–1868).

As one of the most colorful figures of the American Old West, Buffalo Bill started performing in shows that displayed cowboy themes and episodes from the frontier and Indian Wars.  He founded his Buffalo Bill's Wild West in 1883, taking his large company on tours throughout the United States and, beginning in 1887, in Great Britain and Europe.

Because Cody became an American folk hero it was natural for Hollywood to make dozens of movies and TV episodes based on his life's adventures.

Reel Buffalo Bill movies filmed in the Santa Susanas include

Iron Horse, The (1924) starring George O'Brien, Madge Bellamy, Charles Edward Bull and George Waggner as Buffalo Bill (Iverson Ranch) Fox Film Corp

Annie Oakley (1935) starring Barbara Stanwyck, Preston Foster, Melvyn Douglas and Moroni Olsen as William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody (Iverson Ranch) RKO

Miracle Rider, The (1935) [serial] starring Tom Mix, Joan Gale, Charles Middleton and Tex Cooper as Buffalo Bill (Iverson Ranch) Mascot

Custer's Last Stand (1936) [serial] starring Rex Lease, Lona Andre, William Farnum and Ted Adams as Buffalo Bill Chapters 6 & 7 (Iverson Ranch) Stage & Screen

Plainsman, The (1936) starring Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, James Ellison as Buffalo Bill (Iverson Ranch) Paramount

Outlaw Express (1938) starring Bob Baker, Cecilia Callejo, Don Barclay and Carlyle Moore Jr. as Bill Cody - Universal

Young Buffalo Bill (1940) starring Roy Rogers as Buffalo Bill, George 'Gabby' Hayes, Pauline Moore (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Pony Express Days (1940) starring George Reeves as William F. 'Buffalo Bill' Cody, David Bruce, Frank Wilcox (Burro Flats) Warner Bros.

Days of Buffalo Bill (1946) starring Sunset Carson, Peggy Stewart, Tom London (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Buffalo Bill Rides Again (1947) starring Richard Arlen as Buffalo Bill, Jennifer Holt, Lee Shumway (Iverson Ranch) Jack Schwarz

Law of the Golden West (1949) starring Monte Hale as Bill Cody, Paul Hurst, Gail Davis (Iverson Ranch) Republic

King of the Bullwhip (1950) starring Lash La Rue, Al St. John, Jack Holt and Tex Cooper as Buffalo Bill (Iverson Ranch) Western Adventures

Buffalo Bill in Tomahawk Territory (1952) starring Clayton Moore as Buffalo Bill, Slim Andrews, Charles Harvey, Rodd Redwing (Corriganville) United Artists

Riding with Buffalo Bill (1954) [serial] starring Marshall Reed as Bill Cody, Rick Vallin, Joanne Rio, Shirley Whitney (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Badman's Country (1958) starring George Montgomery, Neville Brand, Buster Crabbe and Malcolm Atterbury as Buffalo Bill (Iverson Ranch) Warner Bros.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Visiting Col. William F. Cody's TE Ranch

Sitting Bull and Col. William F. Cody

About 1895, Col. William F. Cody established the TE Ranch, on the South Fork of the Shoshone River about thirty-five miles from Cody, Wyoming.  After acquiring the property, he brought in cattle from Nebraska and South Dakota.  The late 1890s were relatively prosperous years for "Buffalo Bill's Wild West", so he bought more land to add to the TE Ranch which eventually grew to about 8,000 acres of prime grazing land for about 1,000 head of cattle.

Cody also operated a dude ranch offering pack horse camping trips, and big game hunting from the TE Ranch.  Over the years he entertained many notable guests from Europe and America.  Through the years there have been many owners of the TE Ranch, but Robert W. Woodruff, one time president of the Coca Cola Company, decorated it with furniture built by Thomas Molesworth during his tenure.

Cody's TE Ranch about 1920

While I was exhibiting at the Western Design Conference in 1994, I had an opportunity to visit the TE Ranch.  It takes about an hour from downtown Cody to drive to the ranch on the South Fork Road which follows the beautiful South Fork of the Shoshone River.  

As it turned out I would buy my horse Sunup in the same vicinity about a year later, but that's another story.

I will never forget arriving at the TE Ranch because we were greeted by gorgeous bald eagle sitting on the ranch gate.  I did not get to go into the old ranch house, but just walking about the barns and corrals was impressive enough.  

The ranch foreman had a spotting scope set up on the edge of a barley field, and we soon learned he was keeping an eye on a grizzly sow with two year old cubs that were grazing on barley.

Between 1987 and 1999, I made about a dozen and a half trips through Yellowstone National Park to visit Cody, Wyoming for Cody Old West Antique Shows and Western Design Conference exhibits.  Some of my fondest memories are hanging out with friends in the beautiful town of Cody, Wyoming.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas -- Grant Withers

Grant Withers (1904 - 1959) was an American film actor.  During his career he did manage a 10-year contract at Republic Pictures. 

His friendships with both John Ford and John Wayne secured him a spot in nine of Wayne's films, but later roles dwindled to supporting parts, mainly as villains in B-movies, serials, and finally television.

Grant Withers' Santa Susana locations filmography includes:

Fighting Marines, The (1935) [serial] Grant Withers, Adrian Morris, Ann Rutherford (Iverson Ranch) Mascot

Hollywood Round-Up (1937) - Buck Jones, Helen Twelvetrees, Grant Withers (Brandeis Ranch) Columbia

Masked Rider, The (1941) - Johnny Mack Brown, Fuzzy Knight, Nell O'Day - Universal

Fighting Seabees, The (1944) - John Wayne, Susan Hayward and Dennis O'Keefe (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Utah (1945) - Roy Rogers, Trigger, George 'Gabby' Hayes (Iverson Ranch) - Republic

Bells of Rosarita (1945) - Roy Rogers, Trigger, George 'Gabby' Hayes (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Dakota (1945) - John Wayne, Vera Ralston, Walter Brennan (Iverson Ranch) Republic

In Old Sacramento (1946) - Bill Elliott, Constance Moore, Henry H. Daniels Jr. (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Wyoming (1947) - Bill Elliott, Vera Ralston, John Carroll - Republic

Fort Apache (1948) - John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple, Pedro Armendáriz and John Agar (Corriganville) RKO

Old Los Angeles (1948) - Bill Elliott, John Carroll, Catherine McLeod (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Gallant Legion, The (1948) - Bill Elliott, Lorna Gray, Joseph Schildkraut (Garden of the Gods) Republic

Angel in Exile (1948) - John Carroll, Adele Mara, Thomas Gomez - Republic

Plunderers, The (1948) - Rod Cameron, Ilona Massey, Lorna Gray (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) Republic

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

Hellfire (1949)  - Bill Elliott, Marie Windsor, Forrest Tucker (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Savage Horde, The (1950) - Bill Elliott, Lorna Gray, Grant Withers - Republic

Spoilers of the Plains (1951) - Roy Rogers, Trigger, Penny Edwards (Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville) Republic

Utah Wagon Train (1951) - Rex Allen, Koko, Penny Edwards (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Republic

Captive of Billy the Kid (1952) - Allan Lane, Black Jack, Penny Edwards (Corriganville) Republic

Leadville Gunslinger (1952) - Allan Lane, Black Jack, Eddy Waller (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Oklahoma Annie (1952) - Judy Canova, John Russell, Grant Withers (Chatsworth) Republic

Iron Mountain Trail (1953) - Rex Allen, Koko, Slim Pickens (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Republic

White Squaw, The (1956) - David Brian, May Wynn, William Bishop, Nancy Hale (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Last Stagecoach West, The (1957) - Jim Davis, Mary Castle, Victor Jory (Towsley Canyon, Newhall) Republic

And... a plethora of TV series episodes throughout the 1950s.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2015 Chatsworth Day of the Horse

If you're gonna be anywhere near Chatsworth, California on Sunday, April 12, 2015, be sure to visit our 12th annual Chatsworth Day of the Horse between 11 am and 3 pm at 10861 Andora Street, Chatsworth, CA.

I'll selling and signing my books...

Rendezvous at Boulder Pass: Hollywood's Fantasyland *** Out of Print *** About 10 copies left $39.95

published 2010, Echo Press
ISBN: 978-0-615-21522-8

Photographs, movie stills, lobby cards, and screenshots capture the Iverson Ranch as it looks today and as it appeared during half a century of movie-making between 1912 and the late 1960s. There is some duplication from Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas printed in 2008, but the vast majority is new material never published before.

In Chatsworth's backyard, there remains a fantasyland that was forever made famous by Hollywood…

A place where Superman once captured the evil Luthor in his hidden Stoney Point cave, where Batman wrestled a criminal on top of a speeding locomotive, where Tarzan the Ape Man found an ancient elephant graveyard, and where John Wayne's fighting Seabees pushed a Japanese tank off the same cliff that Nyoka used to escape Vultura’s killer ape.

The place is Boulder Pass.  It was the jungles of India and Africa, the sands of the Sahara, the Khyber Pass between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the plains of Montana, and the High Sierras and the Rocky Mountains all rolled into one.  

It was the scene of stagecoach holdups, posses chasing outlaws on owlhoot (outlaw) trails, Indians attacking white settlers in remote cabins, flying rocket men, and unearthly spaceship landings.  It was a land for make-believe. It could be anything a Hollywood director fancied.

Boulder Pass is a fictitious name borrowed from an old B-Western movie.  The real place is the Santa Susana Pass in Chatsworth, California.  For nearly three-quarters of a century, the Santa Susana Pass was home to the granddaddy of all movie location ranches--the Iverson Ranch.

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas *** $23.00

published 2008, Echo Press
ISBN: 978-0-615-21499-3

A photographic history of "B" Western movie location ranches in Chatsworth, California.

More than 350 photos of scenes lensed in the Santa Susana Mountains.

Come ride with author Jerry England as he takes you on a photographic tour of famous Chatsworth area movie ranches.

Witness Tom Mix, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, John Wayne, Allan Lane, Bill Elliott, Charles Starrett, the Lone Ranger, Buster Crabbe, Tim McCoy, Lash LaRue, and many other six-gun heroes as they ride the pony trails of the gone, but not forgotten Iverson Movie Location Ranch, Brandeis Movie Ranch, Bell Moving Picture Ranch, Corriganville Movie Ranch, Spahn Ranch, and Burro Flats.

View action scenes filmed at Chatsworth's reservoir, train depot, and railroad tunnels. Then follow your favorite Hollywood cowboy through the western streets, outlaw shacks, stagecoach stops, and ranch houses you've seen in hundreds of "B" Westerns.

I'll also have copies of "Chatsworth Movie Locations" DVD *** $15.00 *** 
my original presentation given to the Chatsworth Historical Society in 2010.

Video content includes: A tour of the Iverson Location Ranch in a 3-Part Series which examines: • Garden of the Gods, • Indian Hills, and • Upper Ranch filming areas.  Plus footage from other Chatsworth filming locations: Bell Motion Picture Ranch, Brandeis Movie Ranch, Burro Flats (now known as the Rocketdyne SSFL), Chatsworth Lake (aka Chatswoth Reservoir), Chatsworth Trains (depot, tunnels, tracks, etc), and the Double R Bar Ranch - (Roy Rogers & Dale Evans former home).  And, clips showing some of the best comedy scenes filmed in Chatsworth.

I'll be sharing a booth so just look for my display (photo above).

Hope to see you there -- until then Happy Trails.

Jerry England is a western movie historian and author who has researched and written about filming locations in the San Fernando Valley. Rendezvous at Boulder Pass is his second book about the Chatsworth area.