Thursday, May 31, 2012

Meanwhile, Back at Paramount Ranch

CC peers into the window of a Western facade at Paramount Ranch.
If you ever feel like going back to the days of Dr. Quinn, Medicine, Woman, Paramount Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains is the place to do it.

CC and I visited the old Western movie lot last weekend, after driving up to Malibu on the PCH and turning inland toward Agoura Hills. It's beautiful country, tucked into alternately green and deserty hills, and you can almost imagine what it was like in the pioneer days from a long time ago.

Either that, or you can imagine what it might have been like to film it mere decades ago.

Paramount Pictures purchased the 2,700 acres back in 1927 to use as a movie ranch. The sets were featured in movies Wells Fargo (1937), as well as TV shows The Cisco Kid (1950), Zane Grey Theatre (1956) and, of course, Dr. Quinn (1993).

Ownership of the ranch changed hands several times over the years, with the National Park Service buying a portion of the original property in 1980. The organization then refurbished the movie ranch.

When we went, there were tons of families, and a tour guide leading visitors through the hollow buildings. It was a great picnic spot, with shaded tables and even a stage that CC made great use of.

There were several photographers and even a wedding party (the bride wore cowboy boots and a mini wedding dress!).

We had a fun time wandering the grounds and meeting other families. CC played so nicely with a little toddler girl who kept trying to tickle and hug her. It was cute.

While we might wait until after summer to visit again -- it was pretty hot and dry -- we'll definitely be going back. Maybe next time, in our own cowboy kicks.

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