SCV In the Movies | Episode 50: ‘Way Out West’ (Laurel & Hardy in Placerita, 1937)
Produced by Hal Roach and Stan Laurel for MGM, “Way Out West” (1937) stars those masters of comedy, Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, and also features James Finlayson along with the musical troupe, the Avalon Boys featuring bass vocals by Chill Wills.
Laurel and Hardy are seen in Placerita Canyon, where Monogram Ranch is posing as “Brushwood Gulch”, a slippery place with much drinking, gambling and carousing. We have to believe it’s a coincidence, but a dozen years after this film, Ernie Hickson, builder of the western town at Monogram, would transform his own property into “Slippery Gulch” on the Fourth of July, where drinking, gambling and carousing made it a celebration to remember. Or not. When SCV’s own William S. Hart performed in the same area way back in 1915 for “The Disciple,” the town in that film was called “Barren Gulch.”
Our own Placerita Canyon has provided the movie industry with gulches-galore!
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.
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.”©2015 SCVTV