Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> GENE AUTRY
"Tumbling Tumbleweeds"
Starring Gene Autry

"TUMBLING TUMBLEWEEDS"
Republic 1935

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Lobby Card

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Re-release 1944

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Gene Autry's first feature for Republic Pictures Corp. was "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," filmed in 1935 at Trem Carr's Western movie town in Placerita Canyon (later part of Disney's Golden Oak Ranch). Autry is seen here in this lobby card in front of some of the wooden buildings, which Hickson would move a year later to the corner of Oak Springs and Placerita Canyon Road. Hickson would lease the town to Republic's rival, Monogram Pictures, and the town came to be known as the Monogram Ranch. In 1952, following Hickson's death, Autry purchased the movie set and renamed it "Melody Ranch." In 1962 the buildings burned down as a wildfire consumed the canyons surrounding the Santa Clarita Valley. Autry sold off the property in pieces; Paul, Renaud and Andre Valuzat picked up the 10-acre area where the buildings were located and rebuilt them off of old photographs.

It was Autry's first starring role in a full-lenth feature film. He had a small part in a 1934 Ken Maynard vehicle ("In Old Santa Fe") and then starred in Republic's 12-chapter serial, "The Phantom Empire," which initial release was in February 1935. "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" filmed in July and was released September 5, 1935.

"Tumbling Tumbleweeds," 61 minutes, stars Autry and his sidekick Smiley Burnette as themselves; Lucille Browne as Jerry; George "Gabby" Hayes as Dr. Parker; Norma Taylor as Janet; Edward Hearn as gang leader Barney Craven; Eugene Jackson as Eightball; Jack Rockwell as McQuade; George Chesebro as Connors; Frankie Marvin as Shorty; and Slim Whitaker as Higgins. Also appearing are George Burton as the Sheriff; Horace B. Carpenter; Tommy Coats; Oscar Gahan; Joseph W. Girard; Henry Hall; Cornelius Keefe; Charles King; Tracy Layne; Tom London; Cliff Lyons; Bud McClure; George Morrell; and Bud Pope. Directed by Joseph Kane; written by Ford Beebe and Alan Ludwig; produced by Nat Levine. Additional filming locations include Bakersfield, Victorville and Barstow.

Further reading: Memories of the Place I Called Melody Ranch by Gene Autry, Old Town Newhall Gazette, 1995.


LW2067: 9600 dpi jpeg from smaller jpeg. Online only.
GENE AUTRY FILMS

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Tumbling Tumbleweeds 1935 x3

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"Oh, Susanna!" 1936: Saugus Depot Clip

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Melody Ranch (Movie) 1940 x2

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The Singing Hill 1941 (Mult.)

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Cowboy Serenade 1942

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Strawberry Roan 1948 x3

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Rim of the Canyon 1949

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The Big Sombrero 1949/56 x3

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Apache Country
1952 x3

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Saginaw Trail 1953

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Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Pat Buttram 1988 (Video)

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