The Santa Susana Mountains are as naturally beautiful as they are rugged, but that has not kept man out — in fact, it is their majestic beauty and untrodden areas that has attracted men to both enjoy and exploit the area.
The Santa Susana Mountains are rich with Native American history, and the place where Superman went head-to-head with Lex Luther. John Wayne fought staged cinematic battles here, and Tarzan ran wild in the Santa Susana’s. That’s because from 1912 through the late 1960s, Santa Susana Mountains, including Burro Flats, was a coveted location for filming movies, especially the old westerns.
Author Jerry England runs a website about movie locations and ranches in the Santa Susana Mountains, including Iversons, Brandeis Ranch, Bell Ranch, Corriganville. His website and books afford us insights into a slightly different history of SSFL than rockets and cave paintings — that of the old wild, wild west, or, at least, Hollywood’s version of the west.
England’s book, “Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas” is a photographic history of “B” western flicks filmed at various ranches in Chatsworth, California. The book contains 350 stills taken from movie scenes that show the beauty of the Santa Susana’s captured in films. England writes:
..”Witness Tom Mix, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, John Wayne, Allan Lane, Bill Elliott, Charles Starrett, the Lone Ranger, Buster Crabbe, Tim McCoy, Lash LaRue, and many other six-gun heroes as they ride the pony trails of the gone, but not forgotten Iverson Movie Location Ranch, Brandeis Movie Ranch, Bell Moving Picture Ranch, Corriganville Movie Ranch, Spahn Ranch, and Burro Flats.“
He also authored “Rendevous at Boulder Pass: Hollywood’s Fantasy Land” which is now out of print ( but England states on his website he has a few copies left for sale) and sells a DVD titled, “Chatsworth Movie Locations” which shows his presentation to the Chatsworth Historical Society in 2010.
“Video content includes: A tour of the Iverson Location Ranch in a 3-Part Series which examines: • Garden of the Gods, • Indian Hills, and • Upper Ranch filming areas. Plus footage from other Chatsworth filming locations: Bell Motion Picture Ranch, Brandeis Movie Ranch, Burro Flats (now known as the Rocketdyne SSFL), Chatsworth Lake (aka Chatswoth Reservoir), Chatsworth Trains (depot, tunnels, tracks, etc), and the Double R Bar Ranch – (Roy Rogers & Dale Evans former home). And, clips showing some of the best comedy scenes filmed in Chatsworth.”
You can find more about SSFL’s movie magic history on Jerry England’s website at http://a-drifting-cowboy.blogspot.com/
“Iron Mountain Trail” one of many movies filmed at Burro Flats (SSFL) was about a postal inspector (Rex Allen) who comes to California and starts the pony express. Stars: Rex Allen, Slim Pickens, Nan Leslie, Roy Barcroft, and Grant Withers.