August 26, 2008
Yesterday, we took a little drive deep into Simi Valley and visited two of the locations where many of Charles Starrett’s films were shot.
The first was Corriganville. Opened by Ray “Crash” Corrigan, stunt-man and B-western star, in 1937, this 1900 acre ranch was the location for countless Western films. An amusement park was opened on the site in 1949, featuring all the western town sets and so forth. Today, it’s a wilderness park, with a lazy loop of a dirt path which leads you past many of the locations (some noted by “interpretive signs” and photos.) It’s a nice 1-mile hike and fun to soak in the area.
There’s an excellent webpage with a more complete history, profiles on the many people who worked there, and, best of all, a photo “tour” of the facility when it was up and running.
Oddly, there is a working sound stage next to the park. I can only imagine it is located there out of some sense of tradition — the 118 freeway and Amtrack tracks are right on top of the place, making outdoor shooting impossible. And it’s not like it’s close to anything. Odd.
Next stop was Iverson Ranch. This is where the majority of Starrett’s films were shot. It too had many standing western sets. Most burnt down in fires in 1970 and 1979. The freeway also killed this location.
Sadly, it’s now covered with tract homes. We did find “Lone Ranger Rock”. Here’s a site which has more information on the history and filmography of Iverson Ranch.
To any fan of this genre, these places will look mighty familiar. They are the landscapes of the B-Western. The A-list may have had Monument Valley, Charley and the rest of the guys had Corriganville and Iverson Ranch.