Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Deja Vou - or My, that looks familiar!

Written by Cindy Nunn

While looking through the photos of our blog you might be thinking to yourself..."I'm SURE I've seen this place before!" yet you've never been to Simi Valley or even to California for that matter.

My answer to you is this..."Oh, but you HAVE been here, many times, if only through the magic of Hollywood. You just weren't aware of it!"

With its rugged mountains, gentlly rolling hills, groves of oak trees, pastures of green and gold and sandstone rock formations Simi Valley and Santa Susana have been the backdrop of literally thousands of movies and television shows since at least the 1930's. The Larry Levinson Studios, producers of the Hallmark Channel movies, is located in Santa Susana / Simi Valley, directly across from the former Corriganville Movie Ranch. We are also home to the Big Sky and Paramount movie ranches.

Simi Vally is a small town with lots of BIG country surrounding it, making us an ideal location for everything from an old west setting to more modern suburban ones. Recent movies filmed here have been Transformers, Thor and The Benchwarmers. That "cursed" Poltergeist house? You'll find that right in the middle of one of our average, middle-class neighborhoods.

The location of the photo below will be familiar to any fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder as this is where America's much loved "Little House on the Prairie" television series was filmed dueing the entire run of the show. Sadly, the buildings are now all gone, with most of them going up in a blaze of glory on the last day of filming for the series when the town was blown up. Those few buildings which remained were consumed by the wild fires which raged through Simi Valley and Moorpark in 2003.

Another classic, Gone With the Wind, was also filmed in Simi Valley. Well, okay, not the entire movie, but those famous Tara cotton fields were filmed here. I suspect that some of the footage with the oak trees may have also been filmed here since our valley is full of these grand old trees.

At Corriganville you can still wander through "Robin Hood Forest" and visit the site of the former "Fort Apache." You can also stand in what was at times the lagoon from "The Creature From The Black Lagoon," "Robin Hood Lake," and "Jungle Jim's" swimming hole. In this recent photo, taken by the author, the lagoon/lake is dry.

For the rest of the world Simi Valley's "old west" flavor has been immortalized on film, with actors playing the parts of tough men crossing rugged trails and desert canyons. For those of us who reside here, well, we get to experience the real thing through our hiking adventures. In many ways the Old West is still alive and well in Simi Valley's back hills country and meandering canyons.

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