The Paramount Ranch Western Town in October 2018, just days before the Woolsey Fire
My friend Marion Veal stopped by Paramount Ranch in late October and took photos of the Western Town during what turned out to be its final days — before the Woolsey Fire burned the place to the ground on Nov. 9.
The General Store, dressed for its final appearance
The General Store and other buildings were being used by an independent film company in October and November, with that filming disrupted by the fire. (Click on these photos to see larger versions.)
Interior of the General Store
The General Store building was open in October, with the production company filming some interior shots in the town. We rarely get a chance to see the buildings' interiors.
Rental truck parked in front of the Saloon in October
A Budget rental truck was on the site at the time, presumably part of the independent production. Notice the small gazebo near the front of the truck.
The gazebo in October 2018, just days before it was destroyed by the fire
The gazebo has been prominently featured in the HBO series "Westworld," which filmed at Paramount Ranch in 2016 and 2017.
The gazebo in 2017, dressed for a wild scene in "Westworld"
Film historian and photographer Jerry Condit was able to get this shot back in 2017 showing the gazebo as it appeared during production on a scene for season two of "Westworld."
The gazebo and neighboring buildings during "Westworld" filming in 2017
A wider view of the setting shows overturned tables and other signs of the chaos created by the "Westworld" scene. The building partially visible at top left is the Saloon.
The administrator's house in its yellow trim, in 2010
The administrator's house previously had a yellow paint job, as seen in this photo from 2010. Additional photos of these buildings can be seen in my recent post about the rebuilding effort at Paramount Ranch.
The Mining Equipment store in 2010, next to the administrator's house
The building next to the administrator's house was decked out for years as a mining equipment store.
The same building in October 2018 — as the "Trapper" building
But by the time the structure burned down this month, it had evolved into the "Trapper" building, part of the "Westworld" set.
A spelling error that survived for years
Readers with a sharp eye — or a productive form of OCD — may have already spotted this, but it's easy to miss. The sign on the building had an extra "t" in the word "equipment" throughout its "Mining Equiptment" years.
Here's a screen shot from a "Westworld" scene in 2016. The shot is taken with the camera shooting down the walkway in front of the Saloon, with the gazebo visible at the far end of the walkway.
The same walkway in 2017
Jerry Condit framed this 2017 photo to match the "Westworld" shot. The town was still in its "Westworld" trim at the time, although this was a separate visit from the one in which the overturned tables were seen.
The Hotel Mud Bug and Grandmother Oak in October 2018
This shot by Marion Veal would be one of the last photos of the Hotel Mud Bug — and also one of the last, for the time being, to capture a healthy Grandmother Oak, seen looming behind the hotel.
The Grandmother Oak after the Woolsey Fire
It remains to be seen whether the Grandmother Oak, also known as the Witness Tree, will survive the fire. The tree's southern side appears to be in pretty good shape, but the northern half, which was closer to the old barn as it burned down, suffered significant damage.
"The Trumpet Blows" (Paramount, 1934): The old horse barn and the Grandmother Oak
Not surprisingly, the Grandmother Oak is so named because it's really old. This shot from the George Raft movie "The Trumpet Blows" includes a much younger version of the tree, on the left, about 84 years ago.
Jane Seymour as Dr. Quinn, in front of her medical clinic
Here we see Dr. Quinn, played by Jane Seymour, standing near the doorway to the clinic. The TV series filmed extensively in the Paramount Ranch Western Town throughout its six seasons.
"The Devil's Hairpin" (1957): The old racetrack at Paramount Ranch
It's not widely known that Paramount Ranch used to have its own racetrack, which held sports car races in the 1950s and appeared in a few movies. The track hasn't been used in more than 50 years.
The old racetrack bridge after the Woolsey Fire
Like the rest of Paramount Ranch, the remains of the old racetrack were damaged earlier this month in the Woolsey Fire. Mike Malone took these shots of the burned track remnants on one of his post-fire visits.
The Iverson Movie Ranch sign in its new home at the relocated Valley Relics Museum
Recent news about the fire at Paramount Ranch, and before that the Quentin Tarantino shoot at Corriganville, has been keeping the Iverson Movie Ranch on the "back burner," to use a shamefully inappropriate term.
"Beyond the Blue Horizon" (Paramount, 1942): "Sarong Queen" Dorothy Lamour at Iverson
But we can reassure readers who need their Iverson fix that research continues at a furious pace and we will get back to reporting on our favorite location ranch in the weeks, months and years ahead. Since the Woolsey Fire, we've been especially focused on any Paramount movies filmed on the Iverson Ranch.
"Beyond the Blue Horizon": Elephant rampage at Iverson
One thing we've been searching for — without success, so far — is the site where an elephant went on a rampage — a "movie rampage," anyway — and where "Sarong Queen" Dorothy Lamour emerged from a cave on the Iverson Ranch during filming of Paramount's "Beyond the Blue Horizon." Stay tuned ...