Yesterday Kongo visited Paramount Ranch with a couple of cowgirls. The ranch is a Hollywood movie set built in the 1920s in Agoura Hills, about fifteen minutes from Kongo’s house.
Hundreds of movies and television shows have been filmed here. Everything from the Cisco Kid to Westworld. It’s an active movie set even today although there was no filming going on during Kongo’s visit. It’s also a national park where anyone can visit and its easy to get to, only a few miles off of the 101 Freeway.
Kongo’s granddaughters wanted to come along for the visit and they are not camera shy. Oh no. Without being promoted they dressed for the part, and spoke in twangy, pretty realistic cowgirl language sprinkled with phrases like, “bite my biscuit!” and “well, just chop me up and call me a steak.” Seriously. Like where does this stuff come from?
These two wannabe Annie Oakley’s posed in trees, hanging over railings, and just about anywhere they could find a spot to pause.
In 1927 Paramount Pictures bought 2,700 acres in the rugged Santa Monica mountains north of Los Angeles for a movie ranch to film westerns. Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Clara Bow, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and dozens more stars tromped through the dusty town making movies for the Silver Screen. It’s changed ownership several times and evolved. The National Park service took over the property in 1980 and later rebuilt the western town.
More than just a haven for movie buffs, the area is also famous for horseback riding, hiking, studying native wildlife, and nature.
It’s obviously also a spot for engagement pictures, weddings, and taking photos of grandchildren!
In May the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest is held here and there is a Fall Festival in October.
If you’re really into movies you can often watch the filming going on but you have to stay out of the way (obviously) and put your lips together tightly when they shout “Silence” on the set. Check with the rangers for information about filming times if you’re in the area.
Even without an ongoing film schedule there is a lot to do at Paramount Ranch. There’s plenty of hiking trails, shaded picnic areas, or just wander about the movie sets and check out the scenery.
When you visit LA next, add this spot to your list. And don’t forget your camera!
Travel safe. Have fun!