James Coburn, right, at Zorro's Cabin in "Bat Masterson" (1959)
I'm going "Off the Beaten Path" here — veering away temporarily from the Iverson Movie Ranch — but I was pretty excited to find shots of Zorro's Cabin during a recent scan of some old episodes of the "Bat Masterson" TV show. Best of all, I ran across shots of one of my favorite actors, James Coburn, at the cabin and out in the nearby rocks.
Bad guys defend Zorro's Cabin in "The Black Pearls"
Zorro's Cabin played a pivotal role in the "Bat Masterson" episode, with a couple of bad guys holed up in the place before Poke, Coburn's character, and Bat, played by Gene Barry, partnered up to flush 'em out.
James Coburn in action, in front of Zorro's Cabin
The rocks seen here come up a lot during the action sequences shot at Zorro's Cabin for the episode. The same rocks can be seen in the shot above this one, and in a shot higher up with Coburn walking among the rocks.
Zorro's Cabin in recent times
Zorro's Cabin still stands on the site of the former Bell Location Ranch off Box Canyon in the hills above the western San Fernando Valley. This portion of what we now think of as Bell Ranch was previously owned by the Berry family and has also been called Berry Ranch.
Zorro's Cabin, up close
I've heard a couple of different origin stories about Zorro's Cabin. One widely circulated story has it that the place was built by Disney for the old "Zorro" TV series, although another version of the story says the cabin was built by the owners at the time, the Berry family, and was not originally meant to be a movie building but served as the family's weekend getaway.
James Coburn as Leo Talley, with Carol Ohmart as Lisa Truex,
in the "Bat Masterson" episode "Six Feet of Gold" (1960)
James Coburn subsequently made a second guest appearance on "Bat Masterson," playing a different character, Leo Talley, in "Six Feet of Gold" in early 1960. Coburn's character in this one is more of a "dude," and Coburn never has to get his boots dirty much — although on the downside, I believe he gets killed off in both episodes.
"Bat Masterson" (1961) — the Western town at Bell Ranch
"Bat Masterson," which aired for three seasons on NBC, from 1958-1961, shot quite a bit on the Bell Location Ranch, and is a good source for screen shots of not only Zorro's Cabin, but also the Bell Western town. The above shot, from the episode "Run for Your Money," which premiered March 2, 1961, provides a sample of what the Western town looked like. To read an earlier post about a "Bonanza" shoot at Bell Ranch, please click here, and to read about a "Star Trek" shoot at Bell, try this link.
Off the Beaten Path is a series of posts that are not specifically focused on the usual subject matter of this blog, the Iverson Movie Ranch. Past subjects have included Pioneertown, Corriganville, Oak Park and other old filming locations. You can go directly to the Off the Beaten Path posts by looking up the term "Off the Beaten Path" in the long index of labels at the right of the page, or by clicking here.