Showing posts with label Bob Hope. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bob Hope. Show all posts

24 September 2019

Once Upon a Time In… Corriganville

by Paul D. Marks

Famous Corriganville rock in upper left of picture,
Silvertown Street, Corriganville
One of my favorite places to go as a kid was Corriganville. And knowing that Quentin Tarantino recreated the Spahn Ranch of Manson fame (or infamy) for Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood on what’s left of Corriganville brought back lots of memories. So I thought I’d talk a little about it today. (Next time I’ll talk about other locations he used in that flick.)

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
The ranch was owned by actor and stuntman Crash Corrigan, who could be found there on the weekends—he lived there. Some of the things filmed there included Sky King, Lassie, the Roy Rogers show, the Lone Ranger (for a time it was even known as Lone Ranger Ranch) and tons of mostly B, but some A movies. One of those A flicks was the John Ford/John Wayne/Henry Fonda Fort Apache movie. The fort at Corriganville was built for that movie and was used in many other things, including the Adventures of Rin Tin Tin TV series. I was a huge Rinty fan. So going there as a kid, getting to go to the fort and play around was a big thrill.

John Wayne (back row, third from left) and John Ford (se ated front row) on Fort Apache set
There’s a famous rock in the background—Corriganville Rock—that you can see in many of the TV shows and movies (see postcard pic at top). The western town street was called Silvertown, but the ranch also included a Mexican village, outlaw cabins, caves, Robin Hood Lake, a Corsican village and plenty of rugged scenery.

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
I remember the excitement of being on a “real” western street with real cowboys and Indians and staged shootouts. But one of my strongest memories is of going into the western street saloon, through those swinging saloon doors and finding that instead of a false front there was an actual restaurant or cafeteria. It was more of the modern variety but still fun. And in my mind I was a real cowboy in a real cowboy saloon and pity the poor fool who drew against me.

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 
Some time during the late 1970s or early eighties, I saw a newspaper—you remember newspapers, don’t you?—announcement saying there was to be a chili cook-off at Corriganville, the old movie ranch. I was more than a little excited to relive some of those fond memories of yesteryear. So my cousin and I took our nephew and headed to the land of Crash Corrigan. And, like the smell of a Madeleine pastry in Proust's novel Remembrance of Things of Past (yeah, I know they changed the name), which brings on a lifetime of memories for the protagonist, just being at what used to be Corriganville, still called Hopetown at the time of the cook-off, brought on a flood of memories, even if most of the sets were gone with the wind. See the pix here of set remnants—and now even the remnants of the sets that were there then are gone.

Corriganville Fort Apache set location pad

 And then Amy and I went there after it had become a park and even more was gone, but some things remained, mostly the lake/river bed channel and some foundations of the old sets. Still, it was fun to be there and share the experience and reminiscences with her as she’d never been.

Me with Pepper and Audie at Corriganville Park
Since Tarantino is such a fan of Hollywood, I’m sure it was a kick for him to film there. And, corny as it may sound, although Corriganville is gone it will always be there in my mind, a place of fun, wonderful grandparents, and good memories. Who could ask for more? And what are some of your special childhood memories?

You can find out more about it here: .


And now for the usual BSP:

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09 April 2012

Late Sunday… Easter Sunday

by Jan Grape

Jan Grape

Late Sunday...Easter Sunday.

Okay, no little kids to worry about Easter bunnies but since my grown-up grandson, Cason lives here with me, I broke down and got an empty Easter basket and filled it with Chocolate Bunnies and Candy. Just couldn't resist.

Mostly today was like most any other Sunday. Read the paper, watch bowling on TV and read greetings and jokes that family and friends sent. One of the funniest was from a friend and it was about Bob Hope reaching heaven's gate and St. Peter telling him to come on in that many friends were waiting for him. It quoted several Hope jokes and for some reason, one that tickled me was his comment about not ever receiving an Oscar. He was hosting the event and said, welcome to the Oscars or "Passover" as we all it at our house.

That has absolutely nothing to do with mysteries or writing or even blogging, it was just a funny line that caught my attention. Funny lines. They say that comedy is hard to write. And I suppose it really is. What I may think is might not even crack a smile over. And a belly laugh to you may not seem a laughing matter to me.

That's honestly how all writing is in many ways. We pour our thoughts out, write a good story, build suspense, dynamic characters and send it out to some jaded agent or editor only to be rejected after waiting for six months to hear back. That's just the name of the game. Wait, and wait and wait. Then someone says no thanks. What do you do?

All you can do, is brush the tears away and send it out to the next person on your list. Because, class, all writing is subjective. No matter how hard you try there is no magic way to write a story or a book that someone will pay money to publish.

However, if you are lucky enough to find the right person who likes your work, you are in a small class by yourself. Even the best-selling authors still get rejected. Of course, most of us know already that if you are a best-selling author you won't get rejected very often. Whereas we mid-list writers are still struggling and we get dealt the REJECTION hand fairly often.

Sometimes the hardest thing to understand is how some writers ever got published in the first place. I've run across a few in my years of reading, especially when we had our mystery bookstore. There's no way to explain some successes. A writer friend one explained it this way. It's like there's this giant claw in those arcades...the claw hand will grind down and pick up a toy and sometimes get tantalizing close but the hand then opens and drops the toy. However, once in a great one thousand, million times the hand will pluck a toy and drop it through the slot. Wow, Bam, Whoo-hoo...a publisher will grab a book, promote the heck out of it and the author is on the way to NY Times Best-Seller status.

Never forget for everyone of those lucky picks there's the remainder of us. Margaret Mitchell was rejected over 39 times and she only wrote one book. Harper Lee only wrote one book...I have no idea if she was rejected or how many time, but I imagine she was. Eventually they were published. They kept on, learning and working and sending their work out and finally found some wonderful editor who liked their book and published it. I'll bet neither of their editors ever had any idea how timeless or how classic their book would be.

So my message on this late Sunday evening is: keep on trucking, kids. We may not ever make the best-sellers list, but we can continue writing and if we get published we've joined an elite group. And that class is what it's all about.