Pioneertown is Newest Old Town in All of the West

Oct. 14, 1955 - The Desert Sun


PIONEERTOWN, the newest little “old” town in the West—on the south western slopes of; the San Bernardino mountains. 4,000 feet above and some 15 miles north of Devil’s Garden. With peaks and pinnacles of rock as a backdrop, mesa and Joshua trees fading info distant vistas of blue, this huge; stage setting filled the eyes of’ observing location scouts and, an idea was born and swathed, in the Hollywood Intrepid manner.

Nine years ago, Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers performed the officiating ceremonies at the ground-breaking celebration, opening the project Pioneertown. But the bonanza to be reaped from Hollywood and its stars proved to be mostly glitter and as plans progressed, then slowed almost to a standstill, only a few residents remained to carry on and hope for the final culmination of the ideal plan of the co-founders. Today, there is new hope for the faithful. New life is springing to the fore, TV pictures are being made by several companies. Russ Hayden is producing the Judge Bean series at his own particular set. Gene Autry arrives by plane and his crew starts the work rolling on Mane street “where gas buggies dasn’t go”.

The cowboys and horses race down the street, pretty girls in sunbonnets and long percale dresses with dust ruffles run out to see if “he went that-a-way,” and as the reflectors of silver and gold leaf glisten in the sun, the director, calls “quiet,” then “camera” and while we hold our breath, the actors go into the scene with serious will and when the call and signal is given “cut”, we know that one more bit of the wild west has been recorded.

SOME OF THE PORCH rails may be shaky but the Red Dog seems to have a full quota of visitors. The Face on the Bar Room Floor is still bright and untrod, for who could knowingly step in the pictorial saga of the West? One leaves this delightful rustic spot with the twinkle of the old player piano fading as a dream.

The Pioneer Bowl, that emporium of recreation, namely, bowling, quaffing the brew, hitting the “8” ball or just looking at the clever murals that depict the ‘”characters” around Pioneertown. The Bowl is headquarters for Kactus Kate a character created by Lil Thompson that is now nationally known, Lil, Tommy and daughter Alice keep things lively and welcome all who need this bit of recreation. Here you will find Trigger Bill and many others who help Autry keep tradition alive in the Western mode.

The natural termination to a visit in Pioneertown is a delectable meal at The Golden Stallion, famous throughout the country as a gourmet’s delight in Chinese cuisine. Built in 1948 by Frank Cra and Henry Jew, two western movie fans who heard about Pioneertown on a radio commercial, this has become the place most desert visitors remember. The novelty of Chinese Cowboys and the life sized murals of Trigger done in gold leaf on light blue walls contribute to the pleasant atmosphere in the dining room. Logs glowing in the huge fireplace on cool evenings give diners a feeling of welcome and they leave with a desire to return soon.

Oct. 14, 1955 - The Desert Sun article clipping