As you can see from the pictures Paramount Ranch is a movie set which still gets used for filming from time to time.
When I set the standards for this little challenge to find totally free and fun things to do in Los Angeles, I had to chose a distance to limit my challenge.
It was no coincidence the distance chosen was 45 miles from downtown. The place we went today is the reason this distance was chosen.
Since he was on the way I picked up my good friend The Great Gonzo. Yes my friends all have adjectives in their names. Plus he is aptly named for visiting an old western town.
This is a terrific place to bring your horse for a quick ride. Sadly, our hero does not have a horse. In fact today I wasn’t even our hero.
It seems The Great Gonzo went ahead and dressed all in white making himself the good guy by default.
No problem. I like being a sidekick.
Paramount Studios acquired the property in 1927 for filming and it has been a location for movie and TV shoots ever since. Most recently, Van Helsing was shot here.
Not far from here is where they filmed MASH so if the surrounding mountains look familiar you will know why.
In fact the whole ridge to the north-west is kept completely free of all man made things so it can represent any time in the past for movies and TV.
Needless to say, this too makes a great picnic area but it is also good for hiking but bring plenty of water.
If you own horses, it is a nice spot to ride.
Kids today don’t get a lot of westerns in their TV diet so this is far more impressive to older folks. In fact, I’d say the older they are, the more they will be impressed with the list of films shot here.
For more info on what was filmed her check out this website: http://www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/moviesinthemountains.htm
In doing some research, I discovered this is where they hold the Annual Topanga Banjo & Fiddle Contest.
Being pert near 3/4 hillbille, I cotton to the idea of a fiddle contest right nicely. Reckon if in they have fancy foot stompin, I’m game.
The next one in May of 2010 is the 50 Year Anniversary of the contest!
If it sounds like fun to you, here is some more information: http://www.topangabanjofiddle.org/TasteOfTopanga/TasteOfTopanga.html
For those of us who were kids way back when, you may remember this used to be the site of the Renaissance Faire from 1966-1989.
There is lots of free parking and it is all level unless you go hiking. The distance from the car to the town is very short so I feel safe bringing my 85 year old grandma here.
She was the one I watched HeeHaw with.
Other things to see in the Area include the Malibu Creek State Park which has the original MASH site. This is a great place for mountain biking. The site is far back and bicyclists can park up the hill and save the $10 day use fee.
Rock climbers love this area too.