Monday, June 01, 2009

Tribute to John Wayne #1 (The Alabama Hills Series)

(GPS: N 36 35.085, W 118 06.965)

In the past few months I have been reflecting a lot on my memories of the past. As I have grown older I have noticed that the months of the year seem to go by a lot faster compared to when I was a kid. I was just thinking that some of those mountains I climbed last summer only seem like a few months ago, but now we are getting close to a whole year ago.

May 26th would have been the 102nd birthday of John Wayne. In little over a week we will encounter the 30th anniversary of his death. Holy cow! 30 years?! I can close my eyes and remember talking to childhood friends about John Wayne with very clear memories. I remember it being just a few days before the school year ended. In any case, it was during last summer I thought I would do a small tribute to John Wayne this month with a few locations and maybe an odd tidbit or two.

He started out his career doing a lot of the b-westerns so quite naturally he ended up at the Alabama Hills filming during the 1930's. No one knew if would become the star he did at this time. Frankly, a lot of these movies aren't that good even for the most hardcore b-western fan. I would not recommend running out and buying these types of westerns because of this. The one I am going to show a location from is from the movie Westward Ho. I have shown one location from this movie before HERE in one of my early blog entries. The location I am going to show you this time is really easy one to find and you do not have to leave the car to find it. You can drive right through it.

John Wayne is traveling with his vigilante group on this road. He is in the front row of the riders and 2nd from the left.
In my picture below, this is Horseshoe Meadows Road. The obvious rock is the one is just left of center that you can compare to the rocks above. It turns out that if you were to turn 90 degrees to the left you would see the marble Gunga Din monument that put out here to mark where the temple would have been down below in what they call Temple Pocket.
I think I have only sat through Westward Ho once. It is not a story that really makes me want to watch it over and over, but I do occasionally pull it out and speed through some of the scenes. They use a lot of the popular locations of the Alabama Hills in this movie.

One thing I wanted to note is that this is the south side of the Alabama Hills. I do not think I have shown very much at all of this side for a few reasons. Although there were a bunch of movies filmed on this side, and I do know some of the locations, I tend not to spend a lot of time here when I come here. Part of that is because a lot of the south side area is privately owned with a bunch of nearby houses and fenced off areas.

I am going to show a few more of these John Wayne locations in the Alabama Hills. Then as the month goes on I will cover a few other locations I have never covered before.