Lost Treasures: Ranch of the Golden Oak
Walt Disney Co.
Wald Disney Co. short documentary, "Lost Treasures: Ranch of the Golden Oak," shows and tells about the use of the Golden Oak Ranch in "Old Yeller" (1957).
Ranch manager Steve Sligh also provides a bit of history about the ranch and discusses its use in other productions.
"Lost Treasures: Ranch of the Golden Oak" is included as bonus material in the 2-DVD Vault Disney Collection set of "Old Yeller."
Also appearing are Roy E. Disney, vice chairman, Walt Disney Co.; and actors Fess Parker, Beverly Washburn and Tommy Kirk.
According to the full revised shooting script, principal location filming of "Old Yeller" (Disney 1957) was conducted in Westlake Village (Albertson Ranch), Thousand Oaks (Sherwood Forest, aka Lake Sherwood) and Chatsworth (Iverson Ranch).
However, according to the short documentary, "Lost Treasures: Ranch of the Golden Oak," which is included as bonus material in the 2-DVD Vault Disney Collection set of "Old Yeller,"
certain scenes were also filmed at Lloyd Earl's Golden Oak Ranch in Placerita Canyon — which Walt Disney would purchase two years later.
Certain construction work for the film was also performed at the Golden Oak Ranch, for scenes that were probably shot at one of the other locations.
Also, the opening titles (Scenes 1-6) and the end fade-out (Scenes 315-316) may have used Bouquet Canyon.
Those portions of the script read:
1. SCENIC SHOT — DAY — BOUQUET CANYON
Over the hills there trots a big, lop-eared mongrel yellow dog. As the stops close to CAMERA we superimpose the main title "OLD YELLER." DISSOLVE
2-5. OTHER SCENIC SHOTS — BOUQUET CANYON (FIRST UNIT) AND ANY OTHER SUITABLE LOCATIONS USED BY EITHER UNIT — DAY
Old Yeller trots across each scene. These scenes should be at least fifty feet long and should only be shot on locations of exceptional beauty and grandeur. Over them the credit titles are superimposed. DISSOLVE
315. SCOPE SHOT — (BOUQUET CANYON?) — DAY
Over the crest of the hill come Travis and Arliss, the pup bounding merrily at their heels. (The pup can be a little older for this shot which therefore should be done at the conclusion of the picture.) Travis carries his gun.
316. SCOPE SHOT — (BOUQUET CANYON?) — DAY
As the two boys and the puppy pass CAMERA WHICH PANS WITH THEM as they race along the top of the hill and away into the distance. FADE OUT
At the end of the day, there is another SCV connection: The inimitable Yakima Canutt, who didn't live in the SCV but worked here for decades, was second unit director; and his son, Agua Dulce resident
Joe Canutt, performed the stunt work.
Yakima Canutt's autobiography (Canutt 1980:166) and Schneider's "Western Movie Making Locations, Vol. 1" (Schneider 2011)
confirm the use of Sherwood Forest in Ventura County and don't mention Golden Oak Ranch.
"Old Yeller" was directed by Robert Stevenson and features Tommy Kirk as Travis Coates and the dog, Spike, in the title role, with
Dorothy McGuire, Fess Parker, Jeff York, Chuck Connors, Beverly Washburn and Kevin Corcoran.