Pioneertown, Realtors’ Version of Old West,
Becomes Movie Producer’s Horse Opera Center
By Aline Mosby
The Wild West not being so wild anymore, a Western movie company is turning this desert village into a permanent cowtown.
This Hollywood version of the good, old days started out to be a resort for Western movie stars with millyuns. Even the stores of the tiny one-street town were built in old-fashioned Western style to make oatburner heroes feel right at home.
Then the picture company discovered the place, wasted, and made it one supercolossal movies set.
Pioneertown’s great white father is producer Philip Kranse, who moved his company here for keeps to make “Cisco Kid” thriller. Now you can’t tell where real life ends and the reel life begins.
The entrance to the village as a sign “Pioneertown Is This-A-Way.” Next sign: “Horseless carriages Aint Aloud on Mane St.” Even producer Kranse discreetly parks his Cadillac off the dirt street.
Kranse & Co, get chow at the Golden Stallion, which serves such unWestern dishes as Eastern oysters at prices that would shock Mike Romanoff. This eatery also has 50 cent slot machines and “Wild West” tunes like for Dorthy Lamour’s “One Rose” on the juke box.
Down the street are “Trigger Bill’s Shooting Gallery,” “Pioneertown Gazette,” “Likker Barn,” etc. The “Red Dog Saloon” has swinging doors supplemented by the ordinary variety, and a beat-up unplayable piano for atmosphere.
These places will be used as movie sets, and in between are propped real false-front sets imported from Hollywood. The town’s 300 pre-Hollywood residents will get in the act, too. The barber who runs the “Klip ‘N Kurl” place will play barber for “Cisco Kid.” The town electrician will work kleig lights; the Red Dog bartender will act movie bartender.
I’ll import just stars like Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo, explains Producer Kranse, Who rules his Wild West domain in cigar, bow-tie and finally tailored frontier pants. “Most will settle down here, so I won’t have to pay their expenses for commuting 125 miles from Hollywood.”
He’s making a home himself, he added, out of a building Marked “Nell’s Ice Cream Palace.”
In Hollywood he’d pay an extra $40 a day when his company was on location. Here he hires local citizens for the standard $15.50. Pioneertown doesn’t have smog or airplanes to louse up scenes, either. And Kranse built a sound stage for indoor shots.
“I’ll make this the Hollywood of Western,” he says “Genuine Wild West town.”