August 29, 1962 — Gene Autry's Melody Ranch in Placerita Canyon, as seen the day after wildfire claimed most of the Western movie town that had been
erected in 1936 at 24715 Oakcreek Ave.
Original UPI wirephoto; 7x9-inch glossy copy print, as distributed, of image and cutline. This copy date-stamped on back: 9-10-1962, NEA (Newspaper Enterprise Assn., which was
related to Scripps).
NCP092909—8/29/62—LOS ANGELES: A view down the main street of the movie set at Gene Autry's Melody Ranch
made 8/29 shows only desolation and fire damage. In the foreground are what is left of buildings used on TV series "Wyatt Erp" [sic]
and "Gunsmoke," all leveled by a brush fire. In the background is a Mission building that completely escaped damage as the fire
hopped over it. UPI TELEPHOTO
The first blaze broke out just after noon in Hasley Canyon, north of Castaic Junction. The second broke out an hour later near the Circle J Ranch between
Newhall and Saugus. High winds whipped the flames into the most intense inferno anyone had ever seen.
When the smoke cleared three days later, 17,200 acres had been scorched and 15 structures and numerous out-buildings were lost.
No one was killed, but the Western street at Melody Ranch was gone.
"I had always planned to erect a Western museum there," Autry remembered in 1995, "but priceless Indian relics and a collection of rare guns,
including a set used by Billy the Kid, went up in smoke. Thank God, the ranch hands and all 14 of our horses were uninjured."
800 TB Patients Flee Fire; Homes, Autry Ranch Razed (AP 8-29-1962)
My Memories Of Melody Ranch by Gene Autry, 1995
Melody Ranch: Movie Magic in Placerita Canyon