Corriganville

Over the weekend Patrick and I visited Corriganville Park, the former location of Corriganville, a western backlot and amusement park of sorts from 1949 to 1965.

Corriganville was built by movie and TV actor Ray Bernard, but better known as Crash Corrigan. After going on a hunting trip in Simi Valley with fellow actor, Clark Gable, in 1935, Corrigan fell in love with the area. In 1937, Corrigan purchased over 1,000 acres of land, and built his home there. He eventually went on to build an entire western backlot, dubbed Silvertown, and many films and TV showers were filmed there, including Fort Apache, The Bandit of Sherwood Forest, How the West was Won, Lassie, The Lone Ranger, Gunsmoke, and more. In 1949 Corrigan decided to open his backlot to the public, and the area turned into an amusement park on weekends, while still being a fully functioning backlot during the week. Think of it like a blend of Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios.

He also allowed film crews to build their own sets, as long as they left them standing after filming, which is how the area got a “Corsican Village” after Howard Hughes’ 1950 film Vendetta.

After selling Corriganville in 1965 to Bob Hope, the area suffered two fires, one in 1971 and another in 1979, leaving almost nothing standing. Today, Corriganville is a park, and visitors can walk among the concrete foundations and visit what remains of a man-made lake that was originally used for the Jungle Jim series, but was used in for a variety of films, including Creature from the Black Lagoon and The African Queen, as it featured a camera house built under a bridge with thick glass windows, allowing for underwater filming.

Continue reading for images of the remains of Corriganville, postcards of what it looked like, and more!

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Westworld

Being the fan of westerns that I am, I was immediately taken in by the new HBO incarnation of Westworld. Even though I enjoyed the original 1973 film, it wasn’t without its flaws, which is why I was open to a new take on it, and I can say the show did not let me down, and ended its first season with me begging for more. Parts of the show, including its jaw-dropping finale were filmed at the very accessible Paramount Ranch (which we visited before, back in 2015, you can view that post here) so I felt it was time for a revisit! I also took along my friend, Kaitlyn, also a fan of the show, who had never visited Paramount Ranch before.

If you didn’t read my previous post on Paramount Ranch, but are familiar with the 1990s TV show Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, then this will look very familiar, as it was used for Colorado Springs. It was also used in the sci-fi sudo-western, Firefly.

Between our first visit and this one, little changed, with the exception of fresh paint and the addition of the church, which was used in Westworld, and I was delighted to find still there.

Keep reading for more images of Paramount Ranch!

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“You are Traveling through Another Dimension…”

At San Diego Comic Con, Disney announced they are planning to transform The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction into Guardians of the Galaxy – MISSION: Break Out at Disney California Adventure Park. You can read more on the announcement and see concept art here. Now, I loved Guardians of the Galaxy, and I am thrilled about the sequel that just wrapped filming, however this announcement left me crushed. First, I am a fan of The Twilight Zone, more so of the man behind the show, Rod Serling, and I adore the attraction at the Disneyland Resort. I especially love all of the little “Easter eggs” in the library and photo viewing room that reference specific episodes, like the Mystic Seer from “Nick of Time”, and the Victoria West and Rod Serling envelopes from “A World of His Own” just to name two. Prior to the announcement I began work on a Twilight Zone parasol, and even though I’m not quite over my cold, I was eager to share my finished product!

I’m not opposed to a Guardians attraction by any means, however I hate to see what I consider to be one of the few modern classic attractions disappear and be replaced by one that will be so entirely out of place within the “land” that it is in, which is “Hollywood Land” and themed to Hollywood of the 1920s through the 1940s. And I’m not alone. Someone even started a petition. As of right now Disney has no plans to change the Tower of Terror at any of its other Resorts. But who knows what the future holds. The Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure is slated to close “Early 2017”, no specific date has been announced. So, you can expect to see more Tower of Terror inspired posts within the coming months, before the Hollywood Tower Hotel forever resides in The Twilight Zone.

But now let’s talk about this parasol and outfit. Much happier things. I pulled each of the objects from the Twilight Zone‘s iconic opening (though it should be noted for as memorable as it is, it didn’t arrive until season four, and there were five seasons) to place on the parasol. This was quite possibly my most difficult parasol yet. Especially when it came to the shattering window. The window in the opening was actually painted on some form of plaster or other solid, white object, so when it shatters it actually produces a great deal of white carnage. The clock provided another unique challenge. Upon close inspection I discovered that it features all of the zodiac signs in the middle, as well as a sun on the pendulum. And being a stickler for accuracy, I included these fine details, even though they are virtually invisible when watching the opening.

I also had to break out my Hamilton Ventura, the very same Mr. Serling wore in each introduction to The Twilight Zone. As well as my Rod Serling necklace, which I was pleased when a few people actually recognized it for what it was!

I hope everyone is having a lovely start to their August! It’s a busy month for us! We have things planned for every weekend in August, which should translate to lots of blogging!

Outfit
Top: Buffalo Exchange
Skirt: Pin-Up Girl Clothing
Shoes: Re-Mix
Necklace: Purchased at Halloween Town, Burbank, California (but I know it was made by Fable & Fury)
Hamilton Ventura: Coburg Antique Fair
Hollywood Tower Hotel Purse: Disneyland
Twilight Zone Parasol: Made by me

Celebrate at Cicada

Over the weekend one of my friends celebrated her birthday, and she decided to do it in style by having a Gatsby themed dinner at Cicada Club, which is located in the Oviatt Building, the oldest Art Deco building in Los Angeles. Even before moving to California I had heard of Cicada. Portland friends like Sarah of Simply Vintage and Julie of FabGabs Vintage had been during visits to LA, and boasted of its elegant ambiance. So, needless to say I was excited!

If you truly ever wanted to step back in time to a jazz supper club of the 1920s or 30s, with dinner, drinks, live entertainment, and dancing, Cicada is closest you’re going to get. With its live performances, it’s simply spectacular, and many people take the evenings quite seriously, as there were quite a few women in floor length gowns. For the evening, I pulled out my one real 20s gown. Even though I recently purchased a repro beaded flapper dress from Unique Vintage, but I’m saving it for an event in April. And just before the event I found blue velvet heels at Elsewhere Vintage! Along with repros of Daisy’s pieces from Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby.

The interior of Cicada may be familiar to fans of American Horror Story: Hotel, as its interior is the inspiration for the lobby of the Hotel Cortez, and the outside was used for the exterior shots of the Cortez. And at the conclusion of Hotel, Cicada received the Art Deco light fixtures used in the lobby. But Cicada wasn’t always a swank supper club, it actually started out as a haberdashery that many classic stars of the silver screen frequented. Speaking of the silver screen and seeming a bit familiar. A scene from The Artist was also filmed here, and prior to Cicada taking over the space, another restaurant, Rex Il Ristorante, was home here, and was the location for the infamous “slippery little suckers” scene in Pretty Woman.

Our whole party had a delightful time, and I am looking forward to returning, as it is the perfect place to go all gussied up!

Outfit
1920s Blue Velvet Gown: Thrifted, if you can believe it!
Vintage Fur Stole: Nobody’s Baby, Eugene, Oregon
Pearls: Gift from my mother
Brooch: Belonged to my grandmother
Purse, Heels, Gatsby Repro headpiece and bracelet/ring combo: Elsewhere Vintage, Orange, California

Warner Brothers Studio Tour

Warner Brothers Studio is the powerhouse behind some of the greatest classic films of all time. Casablanca being at the top. But they also produced James Dean’s three major motion pictures, East of Eden, Rebel without a Cause, and Giant, along with some wonderful television series. And today the Warner Brothers continues to make great and award winning movies and  TV shows. What some people may not know is that you can actually visit Warner Brothers Studios and take a tour of its backlot and sound stages! I was thrilled when I found this out, and Patrick surprised me with tickets over the weekend.

First, I’m always happy when I can visit filming locations, but Warner Brothers’ backlot holds a special place in my heart with its ties to the James Dean’s films, the 1960s Batman series, and my favorite show, the little known series The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. (Some readers may remember that my devotion extended into me making not one but two cosplays of the character of Dixie Cousins.) However, I knew ahead of time that where the majority of Brisco filmed no longer existed. Like many studios, Warner Brothers had a western area on their backlot. Built in 1957, at the height of westerns, Laramie Street, as it was called, had scenes from not just Brisco film there, but the James Garner classic show Maverick (perhaps my favorite role of his), and Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles shot there as well. But as westerns grew less popular, and family sitcoms and one hour contemporary dramas began to take over the airwaves, Warner Brothers saw little use for Laramie Street, and bulldozed it in 2004 to make way for Warner Village, “a New England-style residential street” where the homes are not just facades, but working production offices as well.

However, Laramie Street is not the only location on Warner’s backlot that Brisco used. They shot extensively on their “New York” sets as well, which acted mostly as San Francisco. Including the Westerfield Club, the Horseshoe Club and the hotel where Brisco and Socrates dangle from a window. (All of the screencaps and their counterparts below are shown respectively.)

And like all shows, Brisco also shot on sound stages. Warner Brothers Studios’ stages all feature plaques that have a list of all of the movies and shows that have filmed on that stage. We were lucky enough to pass by one of the ones Brisco used, stage 19.

We also passed by the building used as police headquarters in Batman, as well as building that acted as the police station that an intoxicated Jim Stark was dragged to in Rebel Without a Cause. Which is currently being used as a high school for Pretty Little Liars.

The tour also featured a museum that rotates exhibits. During our visit the first floor was dedicated to Batman, since the new Batman vs. Superman movie is coming out soon, as well as it being the 75th anniversary of the caped crusader. However, the floor was given to Batman films beginning with Burton’s 1989 version through Batman vs. Superman. The upper floor on the other hand was dedicated to Harry Potter. At the conclusion of our tour we visited Stage 48, part museum, part store, part coffee house, that allows guests to gaze upon items from the archives, such as costumes, artwork and props, as well as experience green screen technology, forced perspective use, and sound mixing. I was most excited over the original Scooby-Doo pitch board and the puppets used in The Corpse Bride.

The Warner Brothers Studio Tour is similar in some ways to the tour at Universal Studios Guests. However when visiting Universal Studios you are mostly visiting an amusement park. The Studio Tour is a part of their heritage, and offers a peek into how movie magic is made, but they do not shy away from gimmicks. Warner Brothers’ tour is different in that it stays away from gimmicks, the tour group is smaller, and guests get to step off of their tour buses and walk along portions of the backlot, as well as onto sound stages (we walked onto the stages for The Big Bang Theory and Ellen), so overall, the Warner Brothers Studio Tour feels much more like a real working backlot, rather than a ride, as with Universal, although Universal is still very much a working set. I was so pleased to be able to visit such locations that mean a great deal to me, and I would honestly go back and do the tour again sometime in the future or when interested friends or family visit.

Other notable movies and shows that have used Warner Brothers’ backlot extensively are A Star is Born, Blade Runner, The Music Man, My Fair Lady, Bonnie and Clyde, The Dukes of Hazard, ER, Friends, Gilmore Girls, and Pushing Daisies.  For those wishing to visit the Warner Brothers Studio you can book through their website.

Universal Studios

After living in California for nearly a year (seriously, where does the time go, but I’ll reflect on that in a later post), Patrick and I finally made it to Universal Studios yesterday. I hadn’t been since I believe 1997, and Patrick had never been. With the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening in spring of next year, I assumed there is going to be a mob of people visiting the park, and decided that we should go and experience Universal prior to all of that madness, and then return once Harry Potter opens and enjoy it without the stress of needing to visit other portions of the park. Thankfully Universal Studios was also doing a promotion of buy one day, get two days free, so we have two more days (until mid-February) to return.

A lot has certainly changed over the years, gone is the Back to the Future ride, as well as the E.T. ride, and sadly the Wild West Stunt Show has also shuttered its doors. With a fire in 2008 that took out many iconic sets, as well a King Kong animatronic, which was part of the studio tour, a 3-D experience has been installed, featuring a scene from Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake of King Kong. Additionally, for you Fast and the Furious fans, Universal has added a 3-D aspect to the end of their studio tour that incorporates the latest film. 3-D has a much greater presence at Universal verses Disneyland, with multiple attractions using in, such as Despicable Me, Transformers, and the Simpsons ride. Which, I won’t lie, is kind of disappointing. I often feel like 3-D, simulation attractions are cop outs. We see movies every day that are images on screens, which use special effects, having an image virtually come toward me doesn’t feel much different. I am much more impressed physical and practical effects when visiting amusement parks. But these feelings aside, Universal Studios is still a really neat place to go, and the studio tour offers a unique look behind the scenes of movies and television, and it’s always wonderful to be so close to such iconic locations that have been used in countless movies and television series. Some of my favorites that have graced Universal’s backlot are I Dream of Jeannie, The Muntsters, Back to the Future, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jaws, Psycho, and Universal’s classic horror films such as Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Frankenstein, just to name a few.

Outfit
Shirt: The Wigwam Motel, Rialto, CA
Shorts & Belt (I think…): Buffalo Exchange
Jewelry: Here and there
Mocs: Minnetonka
Purse: Target, bought when I had a purse tear on me while on vacation awhile back, has turned out quite useful actually.

Paramount Ranch

One of the many things I love about California is its rich history with the film industry. The movies were born here, and there is a wide array of places to visit that offer glimpses into the magic of movie making, as well as thousands of locations to visit. Some are boasted on large billboards, while others are tucked away. One of these hidden gems is Paramount Ranch.

In 1927 Paramount Pictures purchased a massive plot of land in Agoura Hills. With its sloping hilltops and looming Santa Monica Mountains the area offered solitude from the bustling city outside and thus a perfect place to film. Many sets came and went, and in 1953 Paramount sold the land to William Hertz, who built a permanent western set on the land, but sold the property in 1955. After changing hands multiple times, the National Parks Service purchased much of the original 2,700 acres that Paramount had owned, including the western film set. The set was maintained, as it continued to be used for filming, most notably as the stand in for Colorado Springs in the 1990s series, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

If you visit, you can see that the buildings have seen better days, but it still feels rich with history, and is still recognizable as the growing town in Dr. Quinn. I was able to spot out her clinic, Bray’s store, Jake’s barber shop, the bank, Robert Lee’s home, and even the area where Grace had her outdoor restaurant.

I had a total geek-out moment when I spied Dr. Quinn’s clinic. I remember watching Dr. Quinn with my mother, and loving it. Visiting locations, be it a filming location or a historical location, makes me immensely happy. I swear, as I have mentioned before, I get some sort of history geek high off of it. I’m all like “THIS THING! It happened HERE! Important/famous people stood RIGHT HERE!” Yep…

We had so much fun walking around the buildings and I took loads of photos! So keep reading for a peek at the western town of Paramount Ranch.

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