Should anyone know of a boulevardier without a boulevard, the local Main Street is for hire at $25 a day. In this home of the hoss opera, however, it is called Mane street. There is a big sign as you drive in from the desert hills and it says “Please Don’t Drive on Mane St.” this is sort of a one yak town..
The reason for not driving on Main Street is that it might be hired out that day to a movie company, Fort Pioneertown is in reality a movie set inhabited by people. It was established in 1946 by Dick Curtis, a heavy of the silence hoss opera. Some 300 citizens moved in and each agreed to build a business with a Western front.
Some of Hollywood’s most famous actors slept here, sometimes through their vast scenes. The Cisco Kid series was made in Pioneertown and Gene Autry live here from 1948 to 1950 while making Annie Oakley. For the Judge Roy Bean television series the village was altered to look like Langtry, Tex. All told, the front face of pioneer town has appeared in some 200 films, In its salad days 3000 visitors flooded the town on weekends, filtering in and out of the saloons and restaurants along Mane street.
Town Went Bust,
Inspired of this prosperity Pioneertown went to bust, and although grass ain’t growing on it streets, there are only 60 people left and that includes those who live in Rim Rock 4 miles over the hill.
Still in business is the Golden Stallion, which serves Chinese and American dishes and makes the flat statement: “No finer foods in the West.” It can dish out anything from a tuna fish sandwich to Almond duck, and it is only open from March to November “Other times too cold” says Frank Gee prop. Across the street, the town House Motel takes in paying customers at $4 per person, $5 for two, and park your iron at the front desk, please. If two persons used two beds it’s $6, if three sleep in the room at $7, If four sleep in the room it’s $8. If anymore sleep in the room it’s crowded.
Many stars–Barbara Stanwick, Teresa Wright, Roy Rogers, Leo Ares, Leo Carrillo have put their foot on the rail of the Red Dog Cafe, a saloon that comes complete within Nickelodeon that cost $.10 to operate. The back of the bar is 100 years old and was fetched up from the old mining town of Otman Ariz. The faces of characters who shoots bottles off’en it are plastered around the walls unwanted signs, Such as: “Notice–to Thieves, Thugs, Fakirs and Bunko Steerers. Billy the Kid, Billy Mollin, Little Jack, the Cutter, Pock-Marked kid and about twenty others: if found within the limits of the city after 10 o’clock p.m. This night you will be invited to a Grand Necktie Party the expense of which ill be borne buy 100 Substantial Citizens.”
Latest “Wanteds’, Too.
Up-to-date wanted signs are still posted in Pioneertown on the wall of its U.S. government post office. Tourists can eat and drink in the Red Dog or Golden Stallion, after picture taken along Mane street, or bowl in the alleys which screeches juke box music across the valley. When I drove up the other day Elvis Presley, the man for whom Mane street was named, was competing for noise with rifle shots that crack across the desert. Maybe somebody was filming a cowboy picture and then again maybe somebody was aiming at the juke box.
To get here you have to take Twenty-nine Palms Highway, a strange, bumpy road that rollicks like a roller coaster or the dry brown land of the high desert. The turn-off to Pioneertown comes out that urban centre, Yucca Valley, Beyond Yucca Valley the highway leads to the Joshua Tree National Monument. Driving through Twenty-nine Palms, and that other metropolis Thousand Palms set me to wondering the other ray–Whatever happened to Helen Twelvetrees?