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SCV In the Movies | Episode 24: Son Of The Border

Uploaded 12/11/2012

Episode 24: Son Of The Border

Tom Keene stars in “Son of the Border” (RKO Radio Pictures 1933)


Son of the Border    More important to us as a historical record than a film, director Lloyd Nosler gives us some rare views of William H. (“Henry”) Krieg’s cabins at Vasquez Rocks in this 1933 RKO picture — including the rock house that was probably built by Charles Hanawalt and served as the headquarters of the Sterling Borax mining company in Tick Canyon during the 1910s and 1920s.

Krieg began leasing his Vasquez Rocks property to film companies in the 1920s, and his nephew Ray Toney continued the practice after Krieg’s death in 1937 — as did Jefferson Asher, who bought 400 acres of the Vasquez property in 1934, including the rock house, which the Ashes expanded into the headquarters of their Triple A Ranch. Our film predates the Ashers’ purchase by one year.

The inimitable Yakima Canutt appears in this film in two capacities: as himself (“Yak”), and as star Tom Keene’s stunt double.

Keene (1896-1963) was a second-string actor typical of those who played the good-guy roles for the Poverty Row studios of the 1930s such as Republic and Monogram.

Film buffs may note the presence of Lon Chaney Jr. as the character Jack Breen. It’s an early appearance for Chaney, who was credited as Creighton Chaney until 1935. (His dad, the famous “Hunchback of Notre Dame,” had died in 1930).

Charles King plays his typical bad-guy role; rounding out the named cast are Julie Haydon as the love interest, Edgar Kennedy, David Durand, Al Bridge and Claudia Coleman.

Read the pertinent Vasquez Rocks history [here].


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.

Early Warner Bros. Book    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.


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 and Liliana    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.”

©2012 SCVTV
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