Saugus resident and Hollywood stunt coordinator Ray Saniger performs at Callahan's Old West Trading Post in Agua Dulce, 1967-1970.
A reboot of Robert E. Callahan's Mission Village in Los Angeles, his Sierra Highway trading post provided entertainment in the form of
shoot-outs and other fictionalized Western reenactments. For the professional stunt performers, it provided a bit of steady work between movie shoots.
HS9907a-b - Saniger at Callahan's Old West, 1967.
HS9907c - Stuntman Jack Colt (center) and Saniger (right) at Callahan's Old West, 1968.
HS9907d - Entertainment at Callahan's Old West, 1970.
HS9907e - Saniger doffs his hat at Callahan's Old West, 1970.
Saniger's film career stretched from 1969-2009 ("Helter Skelter," 1976 "King Kong," "The Return of the Living Dead,"
"To Live and Die in L.A."). Saniger was stunt coordinator on the 1972 indie horror film, "Curse of the Headless Horseman,"
which was made at Callahan's Old West.
Saniger and his stunt team were regular features at the Canyon Country Frontier Days celebrations and Newhall Fourth of July
parades throughout the 1960s-70s.
Saniger donated these images (8x10 copy prints) to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society in 2019. It wasn't his first contribution to the Historical Society;
Saniger and his wife, Candy, contributed to the fund that paid to rescue and move the SPRR Saugus Depot to Heritage Junction-Hart Park in 1980.
Read more about the performers at Callahan's Old West here.
About Callahan's Old West.
Robert E. Callahan's Old West Trading Post, aka Indian Village, at 13660 Sierra Highway in "Outlaw Canyon" was the equivalent of an amusement park of its day.
Callahan (b. Oct. 27, 1892; d. Jan. 10, 1981), an entertainer and novelist, exploited America's fascination with all things Western —
especially the romanticized notions of
Old California as presented by Helen Hunt Jackson in her seminal 1884 novel, "Ramona" — by collecting objects with a connection, real or imagined,
to the novelist and her work, and enticing the public to experience them.
Callahan's initial visions of creating an amusement park to be called Ramona Village morphed into the Mission Village Auto Court, which he opened in 1926
at 5675 W. Washington Blvd. in Culver City. Along with a themed hotel, he erected teepees for travelers and put his collections on display, including a chapel,
little red schoolhouse and kiva (a small sweat lodge).
Auto parks were big business as the automobile came into age in the 1920s. There were a few auto parks in the Santa Clarita Valley, most notably McIntyre's camp at Castaic Junction, which was wiped out in the 1928 St. Francis Dam disaster.
In time, L.A. city builders had a different vision for Callahan's Culver City property. By the early 1960s, Mission Village stood in the way of the coming I-10 Santa Monica Freeway. So in 1962 Callahan
closed Mission Village and moved it to 13660 Sierra Highway. (The freeway was completed in 1965).
Note: In Callahan's day, that part of Sierra Highway was known as Saugus. The county of Los Angeles later included it within the Acton-Agua Dulce Town Council's sphere of influence. It is commonly considered part of Agua Dulce today.
In 1987, Callahan's widow, Marion, donated several artifacts from the former Indian Village — including the Ramona Chapel and little red schoolhouse — to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society.
The main building remained on the property, and from From 1986-2000, Marion Callahan leased it to the Canyon Theatre Guild. In 2000 the CTG moved back to downtown Newhall where the community theatre had started.
HS9907: Download larger images and original scans here
. Saniger's business card on file with photos.