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Welcome to Bonanza: Scenery of the Ponderosa

Bronson Canyon
Griffith Park, California

Bronson Canyon Photo  1
Please click on the photos to see enlargements!

     Bronson Canyon is situated on the west rim of Griffith Park, just a few minutes outside Hollywood. It was initially used by the Union Rock Company in 1903. They'd transport the crushed rocks down Bronson Avenue for railroad ballast and street surfaces. The quarry was closed in 1930. Filming of movies began when the quarry was still in operation in 1919. In the years that followed, movie studios used the land as a film site for their pictures and serials. By the 1940's, the television industry would begin shooting filmed segments there. The caves inside the mountain face were the result of the quarry excavations.

     The entrance to the canyon is a large grassy field with trees, plants and a stream. To the right of this field is a trail that leads to the bowl-like canyon. It's much smaller than seen in movies and television series. The man-made caves are still there and anyone can safely walk through them. From there, Mount Lee can be seen. This is the mountain with the famous Hollywood letters going across its face.

     For the "Batman" television series, the Batmobile was driven in and out of the cave for establishing shots. There was barely enough room for the car to fit through, so they would undercrank the camera. This would make it look like the vehicle was speeding in and out real fast. The first "Star Trek" episode filmed at the region was "This Side of Paradise" in 1966. The famous scenes of Leonard Nimoy and Jill Ireland at the tree were filmed on the hillside above the main entrance of the region. The second "Star Trek" episode filmed at the canyon and caves was "Bread and Circuses" in 1967.

     Filmed cuts of "Bonanza" episodes were shot at the canyon that include "The Henry Comstock Story", "The Saga of Annie O' Toole", "The Sisters", "The Stranger", "The Thunderhead Swindle", "The Smiler", "Rich Man, Poor Man", "Mirror of a Man", "Any Friend of Walter's", "Five into the Wind", "My Son, My Son", "Old Sheba", "The Conquistadores", "In Defense of Honor", "Commitment at Angelus", "The Crime of Johnny Mule", "To Die in Darkness", "Queen High", "Warbonnet" and "The Initiation".

Bronson Canyon Photo 2

DIRECTIONS: Take I-5 North to Los Feliz Blvd, and exit and turn left.  You are now in Griffith Park.  Continue on until Los Feliz turns into Western Avenue.  You will go uphill than downhill into North Hollywood.

       You will come the corner of Hollywood Blvd and turn right.  Take the right lane of Hollywood Blvd. until you stop at Cauhenga Blvd, and make a right turn.  You will drive through a residential area, and you will soon see the park entrance.

Click to see photos!To see more photos, visit the Movie Making Locations Website!

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