Fat Jones Stables

September 25, 2008

Fat Jones Stables was the top supplier of horses and horse wranglers to the movies for 51 years.  The business was founded by Clarence “Fat” Jones in 1912 when he provided horses for a Pathe Films western.

Originally located in Edendale (which today is Silverlake), the Stables moved to North Hollywood in the ’20s.  They shut their barn doors in 1963, but not before they had making an indelible mark on the screen with such stars as Flicka, Silver, Gene Autry’s Fury, and the horses which Hoss and the boys rode on “Bonanza”.

And, of interest here, Raider, the white horse of choice for one Durango Kid.  According to Charles Starrett, there were 31 “Raiders” over the years.

With a pedigree like that, we just had to visit this joint, so Briar and I set out on a little road-trip.

If Clarence had never moved his base of operations, we would have had a short drive.  Edendale is less than a mile from our home.  Mixville Studios, where Tom Mix produced his westerns, is long gone.  It served as a fire station for some years and then was converted to the Edendale Grill.  Yummy food by the way.  The drive would have been a lot more pleasant as well — winding tree-lined streets, residential homes, schools and many pedestrians.

Instead we were headed to the dark heart of the Valley, Sherman Way and Lankershim.

This has become one ugly part of town.  Body shops, discount shoe warehouses, cut-rate lumber yards, run-down prop houses.

And hot too.  It was over 100 degrees on the sunny September afternoon.

At least it was clear.

The best I can figure, a Storage business occupies the land that so many equine stars once called home.

There is no marker, no stone, no trace at all.  Not even a stray bit of dried-up hay or a faint whiff of petrified manure.

Too bad.  Briar brought her riding boots.