The Western, Redux.
From John Wayne to “Westworld” and “The Outlaw Johnny Black”, a 95-Year-Old Iconic Movie Ranch Comes Alive.
Located deep in the Santa Monica Mountains, just north of the Malibu coast, is a place like no other.
Paramount Ranch, a key location for over 100 Western films since the 1920’s, has a rich history in the movie industry and can still be experienced today which makes it the perfect place for The Outlaw Johnny Black. Paramount Pictures leased the property back in 1923 with a vision of transforming it into a fully functioning movie ranch. Back then, flying to different locations for diverse film settings was much more challenging for productions compared to today.
The idea was that filmmakers could create various film backdrops without having to travel beyond the borders of Los Angeles. As a result, Famous Director Cecil B. Demille and Hollywood actors such as Bob Hope, Gary Cooper, and John Wayne once sauntered through the streets of the town set as they filmed popular films like “Nevada” (1927), “Stagecoach” (1939) and “The Paleface” (1948), just to name a few.
After a successful 20-year run, the decline in demand for Western movies caused Paramount to make the decision to sell the property. William Hertz attained ownership, and transformed the movie set into a permanent Western Town.
As the years went by, TV shows like “The Cisco Kid” (1950-1956), “Tombstone Territory” (1957-1960), “Dr. Quinn, The Medicine Woman” (1993-1997), and episodes of “The X-Files” (1993-), and “Charlie’s Angels” (1976-1981), were filmed at the Ranch. Due to heavy use, the condition of the town began to deteriorate and, in an effort to save the ranch, the National Park Service purchased the property and restored it to what it looks like today.
So what exactly can you experience while visiting The Paramount Ranch?
Now open to the public, visitors can tour Paramount Ranch down its Main Street and see an old saloon, a jail with one cell, a Sheriff’s building, an old main building, a train station, as well as a recent addition of a church which was built for the popular tv series, “Westworld” (2016). Although you cannot enter the structures, it is both an incredible and nostalgic experience to be able to travel back in time and experience what Old West Towns and working Movie Ranches are like. Who knows, depending on the day you go, you might get to see a movie production going on in full swing!
With a landscape and environment that encapsulates not only a part of Hollywood history but also American history, Paramount Ranch has been integral in the survival of the Western genre in contemporary television and film.
Today, the ranch is utilized by major studios like HBO, seen in movies and tv shows like “Bone Tomahawk” (2015), “Aquarius” (2015), “Carnivale” (2005), and was also the location of Michael Jai White’s teaser shoot of his new Blaxploitation Comedy Western film, “The Outlaw Johnny Black” (2018).
So if you find yourself seeking an adventurous outing, Outlaw Style, stop by the Paramount Ranch and experience firsthand the wonders of this Wild West Movie Ranch.
For hours and to plan your visit check out: https://www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/paramountranch.htm