Seeing Stars: Where the Movies Were Shot on Location

The 1950's & early '60s

Filming locations of TV Shows,
Made-for-TV Movies & Music Videos.

    Anyone familiar with "The Lone Ranger" remembers its classic opening credits, as the masked hero sped along on his white horse 'Silver', through rugged Western territory, firing his six-shooter.

    Then, with a his hearty cry of "Hi, ho, Silver!', his steed reared up on its hind legs, next to a uniquely-shaped rock.

    So, you may ask, where was that "Lone Ranger" rock?  Is it still around to be found after all these years?

    The answer is yes, it is.

    You'll find it still standing out in Chatsworth, in northwest corner of the San Fernando Valley. It can be seen from traffic on the east side of Redmesa Road, just north of Santa Susana Road (only a few miles from the Oakwood cemetery, where Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers are buried).

    • From that cemetery, head back east to Topanga Canyon Blvd, then take Topanga Canyon a mile and a half north to Santa Susana Road and make a left. Follow Santa Susana west about a third of a mile to Redmesa Road and turn right (north). About halfway up the hill (after you drive only about 250 yards up Redmesa), the rock will be visible (through the trees and bushes along the side of the road) on your right (east) side.

    • Or, from the Ronald Reagan (118) Freeway, take the Topanga Canyon Blvd offramp and go about a third of a mile south to Santa Susana. Make a right and go west on Santa Susana to Redmesa Road, then turn right. Here is a map, with the locations marked.

    The once wild area is slowly building in with condos. so it may not be there forever.

    Be warned that to actually reach the rock on foot (and see it from the front), you have to climb down a steep incline. So exercise reasonable caution...

    Here are some photos of the rock, courtesy of Rich Barnes. Click on them to see larger versions.

    View from the road.

    Close look at the Lone Ranger rock.

    Click on the photos above to see larger versions of the images

    If the scenery in some of those old TV Westerns such as "THE RIFLEMAN" and "HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL" looks alike to you, that may be because many of them were shot in the same place: a mock western town inside the Paramount Ranch (at 1813 Cornell Road, Agoura).

    It's now a part of the Malibu Creek State Park, and is open to the public. Recently, they filmed the TV series "DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN" at the ranch, as well as "WESTWORLD".

  • Other western TV series, such as some episodes of "THE LONE RANGER" and "HOPALONG CASSIDY," (as well as the 1995 movie "WILD BILL") were filmed at Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio, at 24715 Oak Creek Avenue, in Newhall, CA (out near Magic Mountain.)

    You can visit the ranch each March during the annual Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival.

  • Remember Ozzie & Harriet and Ricky Nelson? Well, in their old TV sitcom, the Nelsons lived at the fictitious address of the 822 Sycamore Road.

    But in real life, you can find that family home from "THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE & HARRIET SHOW" at 1822 Camino Palmero Drive, in Hollywood.

    It was the Nelson's family's actual home.

    That short, hilly street is located above Hollywood Boulevard, half a mile east of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

    Their house was a very short drive from the small  Hollywood Center Studios, where they recorded their TV show, on a set resembling their own home. 

  • The Los Angeles City Hall (at 200 N. Spring Street) in downtown L.A. looks familiar to just about everyone.

    In the old "SUPERMAN" TV series (starring George Reeves), it was the "Daily Planet" building (the newsroom was supposed to be on the 18th floor).

    And TV viewers may also remember that same city hall's image embossed on Joe Friday's police badge (#714) in "DRAGNET," starring Jack Webb

    If you remember "The Andy Griffith Show", you'll remember the catchy tune song that was whistled during the opening credits of that rustic hit show, while Andy & Opie strolled past their idyllic fishin' hole, and young Opie tossed a stone into the lake.

    Well, that lake was real, and you can visit it. And it hasn't changed much over the years

    But don't go looking for it in North Carolina.

    This classic scene was actually shot right here in Southern California, at the upper lake of Franklin Canyon Park. That's located up in the hills between Beverly Hills and the Valley.

    The official address is 2600 Franklin Canyon Dr, in Beverly Hills, CA

    This is a big park, almost 3 miles long, and there is a lake at each end. That's right, two lakes.  The lake you want, from the show, is on the north side of the park, and it's officially called the Upper Franklin Canyon reservoir.

    [ Update 2020: Unfortunately, I've been told that the area has changed dramatically over the years, that much of the lakefront has disappeared due to low water levels in the reservoir (and overgrowth), to the point where the spot seen on the show is now virtually unrecognizable. ]

    Here is a Google StreetView of the lake.

    If you're old enough (or if you're just a fan of classic reruns), you may remember the TV series "77 SUNSET STRIP," and its neighbor, "Dino's Lodge."  (Here are the opening credits.)

    Well, Dino's Lodge is gone, but the real address of the old Lodge was 8524 Sunset Boulevard - right on the Strip.

    Dino's Lodge disappeared back in the '70s. But the remodeled building continued as home to the Tiffany Theatre.

    In 2014, they tore the block down, and are putting up some new project.  But here's a StreetView of how it looked back in 2009, before the wrecking ball...

      "She took her daddy's car,
      and she cruised to the hamburger stand, now.
      Seems she forgot all about the library,
      like she told her Old Man, now.
      And with the radio blasting,
      she goes cruising just as fast as she can, now.
      And she'll have fun, fun, fun,
      'till her daddy takes the T-Bird away!" *

      Capitol Records, Inc.)

    Remember those lyrics to the Beach Boys' song, "FUN FUN FUN" ? Well, the Beach Boys grew up in Hawthorne, CA., and the "hamburger stand" mentioned in that song was actually a Foster's Freeze (which they nicknamed "Frostie's"). It seems that Brian Wilson spotted a friend driving by in her daddy's T-Bird, and the rest is history...  (Listen to it here.)

    This Foster's Freeze is located at 11969 Hawthorne Blvd. (between 199th and 120th Streets), in Hawthorne. It's on the west side of that street, just across from the old Hawthorne Plaza Mall.  The Beach Boys lived on 119th street, just a mile east of this stand, which is still open for business.
    Here is a Google StreetView of "Frostie's".  It hasn't changed much over the years... *

      While in the Hawthorne area, you can also see a Beach Boys monument that was erected nearby, on the former site of the Wilson's family home, where the Beach Boys wrote and recorded many of their hit songs.


    * Locations marked by an asterisk (*) may be located in areas with high crime rates.
    Exercise reasonable caution.

    For information about watching TV sitcoms being taped live in the studio, see the separate page about getting tickets to live TV tapings.

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