By WALT HACKETT
(Journal Hollywood Bureau)
HOLLYWOOD, June 19–Movie stars who want to get away from it all have usually done that escaping in space and taken off for Malibu, Palm Springs or Europe. Recently these seeking folks have discovered another dimension. They’ve gone back in time, too, to a place called Pioneertown. a desert mountain resort where, according to its enthusiasts, “the old west lives again.”
The spot is located 125 miles from busy Los Angeles but all modern conveniences are well camouflaged into a picturesque and rugged terrain. In the restored ghost town, the haunts now cluster around a main street permitting no automobile traffic and lined with authentic circa 1849 buildings which include a Grubstake cafe and Nell’s Place. The latter serves ice cream.
Western stars on a traditional bus summons holiday led the rush, with Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Jane Russell and Jane Frazee among the early settlers. A goodly part of the colony is comprised of writers and idea men who Don Jeans and an air of complete relaxation for their weekend pioneering. Writer Paul Wellman, Film director Frank McDonald and journalists Jimmy Fidler and Harold Swisher hold a stake in new development.
Comedian Budd Abbott of it his owner of a large crack of land once summer he arranged tent city outings at which silly youngsters from Lou Costello Junior Youth foundation Will be given a taste of the cowboy life which they formerly thought originated with Saturday matinee movies. A number of actors have given up retirement to a chicken farm to become Desert rats instead. Among them are Bill Bendix, Minna Gombell, Sara Hayden and Bill Eythe. Gene Autry’s latest show is being filmed there.
Many of the Cowboys at Pioneertown are the genuine article and handier with a lariat than a guitar. At the annual rodeo held in the town in May, ranking teams dogged it out for the world championship steer roping clown and a $2,000 poke. Among the contestants was Bill Lampkin who won the championship in 1945; he had spent 51 years trying.