It's a big operation covering an area of many city blocks. It's located in a residential neighborhood and bounded by the Los Angeles "River" on one side and busy Ventura Boulevard on another, where Laurel Canyon comes down out of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Inside the gates, there are huge sound stages and a small cluster of tree-lined streets with names like My Three Sons (see map). Someone with a knowledge of movie history could probably tell you what movies and TV series the houses there have appeared in.
I arrived not long after 11:00 a.m. when the gates opened. By that time there was already a long line waiting to get through security. It could have been LAX, but few people had any "carry-on" so it wasn't a long wait. People, many of them, came dressed for the occasion in cowboy hats and western gear. Emerging from the parking garage, we found ourselves on Gunsmoke Avenue, where the vendors were lined up.
|Jay Rockwell and Bodie|
|Stand-up trick gunslinger|
Opposite the performance areas were several structures looking like houses in Anytown, USA. Here a security guard is stationed to discourage visitors from looking inside for one of their favorite TV families.
|All quiet on My Three Sons Avenue|
By now I'd begun finding people to talk to. A conversation started with Ed Boyle below who was putting on one of the finest pairs of high-top cowboy boots I'd seen in a long time. Calling himself, "just a cowboy," he spoke of growing up on a family ranch in southern California, riding rough stock in rodeos (where he knew Slim Pickens), and working in western movies as a cowboy extra.
Says he rarely had lines in Hollywood movies, but after being featured in a commericial shot in Spain, he is famous in Europe - now known there as Cash Cow Hank, who's learned that online investing is more profitable than rustling cattle. Here he is with his wife Jo, who runs a mobile western wear shop that sets up at events like this one.
|Jo Pavlina and Ed Boyle|
|Laurie Powers and Bobbi Jean Bell|
|Troy Andrew Smith and John Bergstrom|
Someone I knew from the movies was also at the Bell's Out West, actor Peter Sherayko. Here he is taking advantage of the shade and striking a pose with a cigar .
|Actor, Peter Sherayko|
OK, that's probably enough for today. I'll finish up next time.