Location Sleuth: Lasky Mesa

Charge of the Light Brigade
Photo: “Charge of the Light Brigade,” filmed at Lasky Mesa.


James Curtis’ interview with Dick Lane touched on a filming location known as Lasky Mesa. Films shot there include “Rose of the Rancho” 1914, “The Thundering Herd” (1925), “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (1936), “Another Dawn” (1937),  “Geronimo” (1939), “They Died With Their Boots on” (1941) and “Duel in the Sun” (1946).

The area was described in news stories as “70 miles north of Universal City” or “two miles north of Calabasas.” Moviesites.org describes it as northwest of Los Angeles on the west end of Victory Boulevard. Later known as Ahmanson Ranch, it is now the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve.

April 15, 1926, Lasky Mesa

April 15, 1926: The Times reports Universal filming “The Great West That Was” at Lasky Mesa.

April 10, 1933, Lasky Mesa

April 10, 1933: Lee Shippey writes about filming locations in Southern California, including Lasky Mesa and Tejon Ranch.

March 19, 1939, Lasky Mesa

March 19, 1939: Filming a stunt for “Geronimo” at Lasky Mesa.

May 18, 1946, Lasky Mesa

May 18, 1946: A small mishap during filming of an unidentified Columbia picture.

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About lmharnisch

I work at the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Film, History, Hollywood, Lee Shippey, Location Sleuth, Parks, San Fernando Valley and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Location Sleuth: Lasky Mesa

  1. Pingback: Location Sleuth: Lasky Mesa | « Feeds « Local News Feeds

  2. Mary Mallory says:

    Calabasas isn’t anywhere near Sylmar, that was the fact that I was pointing out that was wrong. I will write Mike Malone, the Ranger for the Park Service, and the ranger for Paramount Ranch, to write in and explain all about these areas. Here is a link to the National Park Service’s website about it:
    American Cinema plays a starring role in the cultural life of the United States and the world. Since before the advent of “talking pictures,” Paramount Ranch has served as a setting for hundreds of cinematic productions.

    Lights! Camera! Action!… In 1927, Paramount Pictures purchased 2,700 acres of the old Rancho Las Virgenes for use as a “movie ranch.” For 25 years, a veritable who’s who of Hollywood practiced their craft at Paramount Ranch including director Cecil B. Demille and actors Bob Hope, Gary Cooper and Claudette Colbert. The diverse landscape was the real star of the show. It offered film makers the freedom to create distant locales such as colonial Massachusetts in The Maid of Salem, ancient China in The Adventures of Marco Polo, a South Seas island in Ebb Tide (1937)and numerous western locations including San Francisco in Wells Fargo. The art of illusion was mastered on the landscape.

    Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…The golden era of movie making at Paramount Ranch came to an end when changes to the studio system prompted Paramount Pictures to sell the ranch. Paramount Ranch found renewed life as a film location when William Hertz bought the southeast portion in 1953. An ardent fan of movie westerns, he built a permanent western town utilizing Paramount Pictures’ old prop storage sheds. As a result, television companies began producing westerns at the ranch such as The Cisco Kid and Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theatre. William Hertz sold the property in 1955. The Paramount Racetrack opened a year later, and some considered it one of the most challenging in the U.S. Although it closed 18 months later, after three fatal accidents, the racetrack was featured in The Devil’s Hairpin, filmed in 1957. Most of the track still winds through the grasslands of the park.

    If people want to see the Paramount Ranch in Topanga, where films like

  3. Mary Mallory says:

    To finish my sentence, this Sunday night, the Silent Society will be screening Tom Mix’s “The Great K and A Train Robbery” out at the Paramount Ranch after sunset. Tickets cost $5 for Hollywood Heritage members, $10 for nonmembers. People are welcome to come early and picnic and see what’s left of the site. Will Ryan and his Cactus County Cowboys will perform for about 20-30 minutes before the film starts.

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