Saturday, March 12, 2011

IN SEARCH OF RANDOLPH SCOTT’S CAMPFIRE…54 YEAR’S LATER

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DOESN’T THIS JUST MAKE YOU WANT TO STRAP ON THE BOARDS, POINT YOUR FEET DOWN HILL & SKI, SKI, SKI:))  (300mm)

Had myself a great super Saturday morning.  Among the many brochures we picked up the other day was self guided tour showing 10 movie locations on Movie Road in the Alabama Hills.  Kelly isn’t quite the western Cowboy oriented person that I am so she elected to sit the ‘movie tour’ out this morning.  Hopped in the Jeep & away I went.  Scouted out a few roads nearby & discovered oodles & oodles of Boondocking spots scattered throughout the Alabama Hills.  And, it’s all BLM land.  What an absolutely great place this is. So many quiet out of the way sites.  No need to stay in this campground if we pass this way again.

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THE ALABAMA HILLS ARE CRISSCROSSED WITH COUNTLESS MILES OF JEEP ROADS & NUMEROUS BOONDOCKING SPOTS…HOW CAN RVING GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS EH:))

As a small boy, Hopalong Cassidy was my Cowboy hero & I even had some Hoppy stuff as I recall.  As a young boy in the early 50’s we would sometimes go to the Saturday Matinee in Stratford’s Avon Theater & it was here on the big Technicolor screen & Hi-Fi sound that I first saw Randolph Scott.  He quickly became my new Cowboy hero & never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that one day I would be standing in the exact same spot where my hero once sat next to a desert campfire with the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background.  Well, today I stood on that very spot:))

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THIS WAS MY FAVORITE FIND THIS MORNING…MY HAT ON THE GROUND MARKS THE SPOT WHERE YOU CAN SEE RANDOLPH SCOTT SITTING BY THE CAMP FIRE TALKING TO FELLOW ACTOR RICHARD BOONE WHO WOULD LATER GO ON TO PLAY PALADIN IN THE TV SERIES…’HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL’

My goal this morning was to find & photograph some of the movie sites that were in the movie guide book.  Wanted to take the same photo the book showed from the old movies.  I love that kind of Geographical sleuthing.  With my trusty self guided tour book in hand I headed off down ‘Movie Road’ to see if I could find those very locations.  Found the place where western star Audie Murphy had galloped his horse while leading another horse in the movie, Showdown.  A bit further down the road a left turn into the desert led me to the exact spot where the graveside scene took place in the movie Rawhide.  My hat sits atop the round stone where that scene took place.

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(click to enlarge pictures)

A short drive from the Rawhide location I began looking for the village of Tantrapur which was built for the movie, Gunga Din.  Of course the Hollywood built movie village site is long gone but I could see the location where it had been.  While at that same spot I was also able to find two more movie locations with the first one being a scene from the movie, The Gay Caballero starring Cesar Romero. 

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MY HAT SITS ATOP A ROCK JUST BEHIND CESAR ROMERO’S FEET

This ‘Cabellero’ spot was not an easy find & easily took a good half hour of walking around because I had a couple rock formations mixed up.  From the same location I took this shot I had only to turn around & walk about 10 feet to do the Randolph Scott & Richard Boone Tall T location photo.  And, from there it was a short walk to line up a second location from the movie Gunga Din.

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JEEP IS SITTING WHERE THE BRIDGE IN THE SCENE STRETCHED ACROSS IN THE MOVIE…PHOTO AT RIGHT SHOWS WHERE THE MOVIE CREW HAD ANCHORED THE BRIDGE TO ROCK ON THE LEFT.

Again, it was only another short walk in the soft desert sand to the next movie location showing a Stagecoach scene from How The West Was Won.

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And, just a few feet from where that scene was filmed, only coming the other way, was a runaway Buckboard scene with a lady spilling out of it.  This was the last picture I took before heading back to the rig.

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Movie Road is only about a mile & a half from our campground here at Tuttle & if we make it back this way again we will find us a Boondocking spot over there in that movie location area next time.  That very area I first saw as a young boy, gazing starry eyed up at that big Saturday afternoon Matinee movie screen, watching Randolph Scott ride his big brown horse through the desert of rocks, sand & mountains.  WOW, did I ever have myself a great Saturday morning:))

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CAME ACROSS THIS CAVE ENTRANCE FRIDAY….SOMEONE MAY HAVE LIVED IN HERE AT ONE TIME BECAUSE A SMALL STOVEPIPE WAS INSERTED IN A SMALL OPENING ALLOWING SMOKE TO COME OUT ONE OF THOSE HOLES IN THE ROCK ABOVE THE ENTRANCE

In recent years the Alabama Hills movie location has been used in Star Trek V & VII, Tremors, Gladiator, Dinosaur & as recently as Robert Downey Junior’s, ‘Ironman.’

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GROANER’S CORNER:((  What do you call a country where everyone has to drive a red car?
A red carnation.
What do you call a country where everyone has to drive a pink car?
A pink car-nation.
What would the country be called if everyone in it lived in their cars?
An in-car-nation.

Hey, I don’t write these things, I just stick em in the blog…..A:))

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28 comments:

Jean and Skip said...

Wow, you did have yourself a saturday
morning. What a fun thing to do, we are wishing we had gone there before heading home. Next trip for sure.

Luci & Loree said...

THAT was really neat to see those places!!!! What a FUN thing to do!

Gypsy said...

what fun you must be having in all that cowboy history. I watched the cowboy films on b&w Television back in the day, but I always thought it was a little corny.

The Hollingers said...

Now that was simply awesome Al... good work on the photography... hard to believe the spots still look exactly the same as when the movies were made...

Sue and Doug said...

what a fine 'classic movie day' you had!!..thanks for the great tour!..love the 'hat shots'!!..and you are so right..looks like there is some pretty nice boondocking campsites out there!!!

Catherine, Jo Beth and Grace said...

Very Cool. Thanks for the post.

PalmsRV said...

The thing I like most about traveling is when I get a chance to step into my little personal Time Machine and travel back to cherished moments of my youth and relive a memory like this. I'm jealous Al because today you hit the Mother Lode.

Sam&Donna Weibel said...

I can remember those old black & white cowboy flicks too. What a great way to relive the past. I'll bet you felt like I do when I find an old steam engine sitting some place. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna..

Sandra said...

And in the words of the Statler Brothers "Whatever happened to Randolph Scott"?

I watched all those shows too when I was a kid. I'm not a western fan but I liked it as a kid. Probably because we got one station and that was all that was on but I grew up with Hopalong Cassidy and the Lone Ranger and Tonto as well.

How did you find those sites. Did you print out the pictures to take with you? You did a great job there!

Virginia said...

The Sierra Nevada foothills are beautiful. What a great spot to camp and be right there where those famous "westerns" were made. Can remember going to Saturday matinees myself on the big silver sceen back in the day of the movie palaces. Thanks for a great post.

Judy and Emma said...

Good sleuthing!

Jerry and Suzy said...

We were not as diligent as you as we traveled along the Movie Road in 2002, but we were there. That is such gorgeous country -- you have given us a prime case of hitch itch. Thankfully (if all doesn';t go square to hell in the meantime) we'll be visitng that same area in about two months.

Malone said...

That was sooo much fun, Al. Your photos compared to the old location photos are wonderful. Made for a truly great post. We were camped right there but we only managed to find the Gunga Din site. Now I have to go check out the other ones.

The Hollingers said...

Hey Al, that was an awesome job of sleuthing and photography. Loved it! Judy from Rvlifeonwheels

Anonymous said...

Al this post was terrific right up my alley. I love westerns when I was younger and still do today.
My favourite was Paladin, Bigvalley, Cisco Kid and I think I had a secret crush on John Wayne; still do! You took me on the most wonderful trip with you and for that I say thanks. Your post was Phenomenal!
Kathy, Windsor, Ont.

squawmama said...

I know all those movies... both my dad and my husband are old cowboy fanatics... GREAT post!!!
Have fun & travel safe
Donna

Wild Blue Yonder said...

Great post today! Absolutely great finds! I have to make a trip there sometime, just to see those myself!

Cheers!

Laurie and Odel said...

I loved this post, Al! Your inner child had quite a romp today!

When we camped in the Alabama Hills, I saw Odel's inner child unleashed. Eyes aglow, words tumbled out of his month as we did the movie tour. When we got to the spot where the Rangers were ambushed by the Cavendish Gang, Odel was so overcome that he acted out the scene for me, even falling on the ground, shot. Quite an eye opener, as I never knew (or even thought about) how the Lone Ranger became "lone" - let alone how my 60+ year old spouse would morph into a 10 year old boy on the strength of a 50 year old memory. :)

Thanks for sharing. O and I just have to get tack to Lone Pine...

wheelingit said...

What a fabulous area this is! We're definitely stopping here on our trip South in Fall. Nina

K and D in the RV said...

Very very cool tour! That is for sure on 'the list'. Whiel we do like cowboy movies, it was neat to know Star Trek has also used the surroundings! Live long and prosper!

Rod and Loyce Ivers said...

I even had a Hopalong Cassidy Lunch Box!! Boy was I cool over at the grade school. But like Sandra and others have said, we only got one or two channels, so you watched what was on. But you know, we didn't even think about the fact we had so few channels. That was just how it was!

Donna K said...

LOVE IT! Of all the times I have been in this area, I have never done this. It won't be missed next time. THANK YOU so much for the wonderful tour and photos. I can hardly wait to get back there.

Russ Krecklow said...

Al, what a great post! I just happen to have a framed black and white poster of Hopalong Cassidy! He was always one of my favorites,too. I've had that picture since I was a kid. I remember one Christmas, my Dad & Mom built a really neat rocking horse for me. It was large, and covered in brown fur like material, had a black mane and tail, and bright beady eyes. When I strapped on my twin pistols and grabbed my trusty BB rifle, I could chase bad guys all day long!!

You've brought back so many great memories. Thanks.

Your ability to find all of those old movie locations is fantastic. What neat pictures!

Wandering Willy said...

Great post Al,nicely laid out and explained....You got me all glassy eyed and frothing at the mouth for a visit next season.
My number 1 was always Roy Rogers.

Dennis and Donna said...

Al,that was one of the best dadgum blogs you've ever posted(and that's sayin' alot!)..I LOVE to try to recreate history, and you did a fabulous job! The "Ceeeeesco" Kid, Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers...I had a crush on 'em all...I especially love the craggy, pock marked face of Richard Boone, a.k.a. Paladin.
I smiled like Cheshire Cat through your whole blog...thanks sooo much!

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Really great stuff-with pictures! I watched those early westerns as a boy and used to ride my pony out in the back pastures pretending to be one of them.

Actually met Hopalong at some kind of event when I was around eight. I can still remember it clearly.

Darrell_G said...

Really good post. It will be on my list of places to see and things to do.
Thanks

I wonder if in oh,,, 500 years or so,,,, how some archeologist will explain the boulder that was used to anchor the bridge. hmmmmm

Paws and Hooves said...

Oh my goodness -- but you take GORGEOUS pictures!!!!!! Thanks, Al, for sharing with us all!!!!