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Paramount Ranch was purchased in 1927 by Paramount Pictures. It is located in the Santa Monica Mountains. Since before the advent of “talking pictures,” Paramount Ranch has served as a setting for hundreds of cinematic productions. For 25 years, a veritable who’s who of Hollywood practiced their craft at Paramount Ranch including director Cecil B. Demille and actors Bob Hope, Gary Cooper and Claudette Colbert.

The diverse landscape was the real star of the show. It offered film makers the freedom to create distant locales such as colonial Massachusetts, ancient China, a South Seas and numerous western locations. The art of illusion was mastered on the landscape.

The golden era of movie making at Paramount Ranch came to an end when changes to the studio system prompted Paramount Pictures to sell the ranch. Paramount Ranch found renewed life as a film location when William Hertz bought the southeast portion in 1953. An ardent fan of movie westerns, he built a permanent western town utilizing Paramount Pictures’ old prop storage sheds. As a result, television companies began producing westerns at the ranch such as The Cisco Kid and Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theatre. William Hertz sold the property in 1955. The Paramount Racetrack opened a year later, and some considered it one of the most challenging in the U.S. Although it closed 18 months later, after three fatal accidents, the racetrack was featured in The Devil’s Hairpin, filmed in 1957. Most of the track still winds through the grasslands of the park.

From 1957 to 1980, the ranch changed ownership several times, but filmmaking continued. After purchasing a portion of the original Paramount property in 1980, the National Park Service revitalized the old movie ranch. From 1992 to 1997, Paramount Ranch was used as the setting for the television show, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

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Additional Photos by John Moeschler (johnjmoe) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 32 W: 0 N: 150] (915)
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