“Cavalcade of the West” is a rather big name for a fairly small film that pits brother against brother during the brief life of the Pony Express.
Using numerous SCV locations including Vasquez Rocks, the picture stars SCV regular Hoot Gibson, who appeared in dozens of movies made in the Santa Clarita Valley from the silent era through the 1940s when he became a mainstay of Monogram’s B-Westerns shot at Ernie Hickson’s movie ranch in Placerita Canyon (now Melody Ranch).
Gibson also hosted rodeos and “Wild West” shows throughout the country, notably at the Baker Ranch Rodeo in Saugus (now the Saugus Speedway and Swap Meet). In fact, Gibson purchased the Saugus rodeo grounds from Roy Baker in 1930 and made it an attraction for Hollywood pals (and SCV residents) such as William S. Hart and Harry Carey. But like Baker before him, Gibson couldn’t make it profitable and sold it in 1934. The stadium would change hands once more before finally receiving a Midas touch from “Big Bill” Bonelli, who saw its future not in bronco busting but in auto racing.
ABOUT E.J. STEPHENS
E.J. Stephens is a noted Hollywood historian, author, lecturer and tour guide. An Indiana native, E.J. has lived for 10 years in the Santa Clarita Valley with his wife Kimi and their two children, Mariah and Dylan.
By day, E.J. can be found in Burbank on the Warner Bros. Studios lot where he is a tour guide and an audience coordinator on Conan O’Brien’s late-night talk show. When not giving tours at the studio, E.J. and Kimi host tours of their own for their Newhall-based company, Newhallywood Tours.
E.J. has co-written four books on subjects ranging from the history of Warner Bros. and Paramount to Griffith Park and the Santa Clarita Valley (the latter with Kimi and Dr. Alan Pollack). The trio is currently working on another SCV history book titled “Then & Now: The Santa Clarita Valley,” scheduled to hit the shelves in early 2014.
ABOUT BILL WEST
Bill West is a movie nut who serves on the board of Friends of Hart Park, gives tours of the Hart Mansion and maintains the Friends’ website.
In his spare time, Bill writes software for Walt Disney Imagineering, where he has contributed to Star Tours, Toy Story Midway Mania, the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and other attractions. Previously, he wrote software at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Bill enjoys lounge music and he plays the drums for pickup bands. He lives in Santa Clarita with his Realtor (his wife Liliana) and their son Josh. Pets include Maya the Mutt, Luigi the Canary, and a cat whose name he can’t pronounce but is Polish for “kitty.”