|Famous Corriganville rock in upper left of picture,|
Silvertown Street, Corriganville
But Corriganville really does have a special place in my heart. It was a movie ranch out Simi Valley way, north of Los Angeles. Tons of B westerns and other movies were filmed there and at the nearby Iverson Ranch (more on that in another piece, too). But on the weekends it was opened up as an amusement park of sorts, sort of a pre-Universal Studios Tour studio tour—or movie ranch tour. My grandparents took me there several times and in those days it was quite an excursion to get out there, if not quite a covered wagon journey over Donner Pass. And the reason it’s special to me is that it’s the only place my grandparents took me that no one else ever took me. So that gives it a special significance.
|Quentin Tarantino's Spahn Ranch set at Corriganville - photo by Cliff Ro berts|
|John Wayne (back row, third from left) and John Ford (se ated front row) on Fort Apache set|
And what a kick it was to go there as a kid when it was still in use as a movie ranch. As one knows, one should always dress for the occasion and Corriganville was no exception. I would don my cowboy hat and bright red cowboy boots, my six shooters, maybe a vest or even chaps. And off we'd go—because in those days a kid could wear a fairly realistic-looking gun and holster to an amusement park and nobody would look or think twice about getting shot for real.
|Girl and boy playing at Fort Apache, Corriganville|
Being a fan of Rinty, Rusty and Lt. Rip Masters my favorite site on the ranch was Fort Apache. It was like being there in the old west. And it was a kick to see it in person to go along with my Marx Toys Rin Tin Tin Fort Apache playset and autographed photo of Jim Brown (Lt. Rip Masters) in cavalry uniform, posing with Rin Tin Tin himself.
Several fires at various times burned down most of the sets. Eventually, Bob Hope bought the property from Crash Corrigan. He changed the name to Hopetown and also built a housing development by that name on some of the property. Eventually, most of the ranch was sold off for development. But about 200 acres of the property, where most of the sets were, has been turned into a park.
|Corriganville western town set remnants|
|Corriganville Fort Apache set location pad|
|Me with Pepper and Audie at Corriganville Park|
You can find out more about it here: www.corriganville.net .
And now for the usual BSP:
Don't forget to check out Broken Windows, the sequel to my Shamus award-winning novel, White Heat. Betty Webb at Mystery Scene magazine says: "Broken Windows is extraordinary."
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