Over the years on the blog, I have made my love of two particular TV shows, Batman and The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., very apparent, whether through cosplay, cons, museum visits, or filming locations. One thing these two shows have in common is the use of the Bronson Canyon and Caves as a filming location, and we recently made the pilgrimage to this famous filming spot.
Off the 101 lies Pierce College in Woodland Hills, and on its campus is a unique and downright bizarre sight, a collection of concrete sculptures depicting old west figures, along with a faux cemetery featuring rather colorful epitaphs. What is this exactly? Well, it’s the remains of Old Trapper’s Lodge.
Built in 1941 by a real life former trapper, John Ehn, Old Trapper’s Lodge was a motel with an old west theme. At some point in time he commissioned someone (legend has it Claude Bell of Knott’s Berry Farm and Cabazon Dinosaur fame) to build a statue of a trapper to catch the eye of motorists passing by. After watching the artist work he decided it didn’t look that hard, and began to create his very own statues. Ehn did this from 1951 until his death in 1981. Four years later in 1985, Ehn’s statues, a prime example of larger than life folk art, became a California Historical Landmark, however the motel itself was in the way of the Burbank airport, and while the motel was bulldozed, the statues were rescued and relocated to Pierce College. And over the weekend Patrick and I visited this crazy destination.
After visiting Corriganville, Patrick and I headed to Valley Relics Museum. Valley Relics is a museum dedicated to preserving the history of the San Fernando Valley, with a wide array of wonderful and impressive artifacts from businesses from the San Fernando Valley, including a fantastic collection of vintage ashtrays, ephemera, neon signs, and more. And when Patrick told me they had some items belonging to western wear legend, Nudie Cohn, I was even more excited to visit!
The Palomino sign was quite impressive and one of my favorite pieces, as it was where many country-western legends performed, including Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Patsy Cline, and personal favorite, The Flying Burrito Brothers.
Valley Relics is located in Chatsworth, about 33 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. It is only open on Saturdays, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, and is free to visit, but donations are always happily accepted.
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!
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!
After much anticipation, Clifton’s (which I have blogged about on several previous occasions, including its grand re-opening, Thanksgiving, and the first Fur & Feathers in LA) finally opened the doors to the newest addition to its cabinet of curiosities, Pacific Seas, a tiki bar inspired by the first ever Clifton’s, under the same name.
The Pacific Seas was the first of Clifford Clinton’s chain of cafeterias, and featured a gorgeous pacific island theme with lots of bamboo, gorgeous faux rock features, both inside and out, and even neon palm trees. It was gaudy, outrageous, and utterly amazing. Honestly, what I wouldn’t give to go back in time and experiences it. Seriously, take a look…
Pacific Seas opened in 1939 and closed its doors in 1960s, when it was demolished and became a parking lot, which it has remained since. But now Clifton’s guests can either re-live, or experience for the first time, a small taste of what the Pacific Seas was like with its all new tiki bar. On Friday Patrick and I had the pleasure of going the night before its grand opening thanks to a friend. My eyes couldn’t stop darting around at all of the amazing details, and these photos simply don’t do it justice. One of my favorite details was the original plaque to the outside of the Pacific Seas location that discussed the exterior and gave thanks to the artists behind the creation. Sadly, I failed to get any real outfit photos with the exception of a quick snap at the end of the night.
I can imagine we shall be visiting Pacific Seas as often as possible, as it is nothing short of spectacular, and I highly encourage both locals and visitors to LA alike to visit!
As already established. I’m a lover of abandoned buildings. I love the spookiness that is created when nature begins to reclaim man-made structures, and it is this that sparked my interest in visiting the old Los Angeles Zoo at Griffith Park, which we went to after our turn about the Merry-Go-Round.
The zoo opened in 1912, but most of the structures that are visible today were built in the 1930s by County Relief workers and Works Progress Administration crews (gotta love the ol’ WPA!). In 1965 the zoo moved to its current location, which is still within Griffith Park, just two miles from its original location. When the zoo moved all habitats and cages were left behind, vacant. Over the years portions of the area have been overrun by taggers, but the main, larger structures have remained free of being defaced (or frequently get cleaned), and the place used as a filming location for movies and television shows from time to time. Today, these structures also play a historical role in understanding the development of zoology.
This place is pretty amazing, and extremely interesting and I look forward to visiting again, perhaps when we return to another area of Griffith Park as there is so much to see and do there.
Blouse: Jet Rag, Los Angeles, California
Pink Jeans: Old Glory Antique Mall, Vancouver, Washington
Purse: Found by my dad
Bangles: Here and there
Robin Hood Pin: Disneyland