Westworld Filming Locations

“Desert scene: Dr. Ford, the boy, and the snake...”

Dr. Ford and the snake

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
A.  An empty desert area in Westworld.

Q. When do we see it?
A.  In Episode 2.  Dr. Ford is wandering around his vast theme park, when he comes across a young boy, who appears to be a 'host'.  He takes the boy to the edge of a cliff and shows him the horizon below, a vast expanse of empty desert land.  He asks the boy if he can't see a town with a white church, and hear its bell. The boy, who sees nothing but desert at first, seems to hear the church bell after Ford mentions it.

When a rattlesnake appears, Ford simply gestures, and the snake (apparently a robotic creature) freezes, then moves away at Ford's direction.

The boy asks if that is magic, and Ford replies that everything in this world is magic
except to the magician.

Q. What is it in real life?
A.  A stretch of desert land, as seen from a small movie ranch.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

A.  There are quite a few movie ranches in Southern California, and many of them were used in shooting "Westworld".

Some ranches are just acres and acres of open land and rolling hills. Some have entire Western towns built as permanent sets.

A place called "Club Ed" is one of the most unusual "movie ranches".  It's not Western themed, and it's not located in the usual L.A. hills of Santa Clarita, the Santa Monica Mountains or the Simi Valley.

Instead, it's located out in the middle of the western Mohave Desert, in Lancaster, at 150th Street &  Avenue L.

And there is no Old West Town there, just what one might have expected to find while driving through the desert back in the 1950s: an old roadside diner, a cheap motel, and an aging gas station.  The sort of place where travelers might stop to fill their car with gas, or grab a bite to eat.

But these structures aren't real, they're permanent sets for filming movies and TV shows.

And those buildings sit at the edge of 90 acres of open desert land, with rather spectacular views of mountains, rocky cliffs, buttes, joshua trees, sagebrush, dunes and wide desert vistas.

Here are some examples of the ranch's picturesque views:

I first came across Club Ed when tracking down locations for "The O.C."  One scene involved Ryan stopping at a desert motel.  When I finally found that motel, it turned out to be part of something called Club Ed.  "The O.C." also filmed a second scene, there involving the fake diner.

The set was originally built for a 1990 Dennis Hopper film called "Eye of the Storm", and after the production, they decided not to tear the set down, and instead rented it out to filmmakers, along with access to the natural desert surroundings.

But it seems that only the location with the motel, gas station and diner are referred to as "Club Ed" (nicknamed after a former caretaker),  The rest of the 95-acre desert property, behind that Club Ed set, is called "AV Sandlot".

I later found that "True Blood" filmed a fairy battle on this same desert property.  And in "The Last Man on Earth", this is where the title character first discovered there was another person alive in the world.

Other productions filmed at Club Ed include the Rob Zombie film, "The Devil's Rejects", the Ice Cube movie "Torque", the Martin Lawrence / Tim Robbins' comedy, "Nothing to Lose", and TV's "The X-Files".

(The church from "Kill Bill" is about five miles to the northwest of Club Ed.)

Here is a map link.

Here is a Google StreetView of Club Ed.

Here is a Google Earth aerial view.

You can watch a video tour here, featuring a flying drone's view of the property.

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A.  As I mentioned above, I first found Club Ed (and AV Sandlot) when I tracked down two scenes shot there for "The O.C."  I recognized it when I saw the land again in "True Blood".  Those Joshua trees are a dead giveaway, and the unique rock formations make it easy to identify.

Westworld Filming Locations

The Westworld  screenshots from the show & all related characters & elements are trademarks of and © HBO.
All other photos & text are Copyright © 2019-Gary Wayne and may not be used without written permission.

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