Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Hoot Gibson, Sally Eilers Honeymoon
Actors & Saugus Residents

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Seen on board the SS City of Los Angeles in April 1931, Western screen star Hoot Gibson and his third wife, Sally Eilers, either depart or return from a delayed Hawaiian honeymoon.

6¼x8½-inch ACME wirephoto with a newspaper photo editor's crop marks and enhancements. Date-stamped on back, April 20, 1931. Cutline reads:

Hoot Gibson and his bride, Sally Eilers, both of the films, on liner City of Los Angeles. They had to complete movie engagements before making honeymoon trip to Hawaii.

The SS City of Los Angeles started life in Germany in 1899 as the SS Grosser Kurfürst, making regular runs between Bremen and New York. The United States interned the vessel in New York at the outbreak of World War I, then siezed her when the U.S. entered the conflict in 1917 and used her as a troop transport to France under the name USS Aeolus. After the war, the ship was decommissioned, retrofit and transfered initially to the Munson Steamship Co. for runs to South America as the SS Aeolus, then in 1922 to the Los Angeles Steamship Co. for runs to Honolulu, at which time the ship was rechristened SS City of Los Angeles. She was scrapped in Japan in 1937.

Edmund Richard Gibson earned the nickname "Hoot" when he worked as a messenger for the Owl Drug Co. He was born August 6, 1892, in Tekamah, Nebraska and appeared in more than 200 films (including short features) between 1910, when he earned $50 for his role in "The Two Brothers," and 1960, when he made an uncredited appearance in "Ocean's Eleven." Gibson did most of his work as a silent cowboy actor between World War I and the early 1930s. He directed a bit in 1920-21 and produced some of his own films from 1923-30. The 5'9" Hollywood giant died of cancer on August 23, 1962, in Woodland Hills — five days before a wildfire burned down Gene Autry's Melody Ranch in Placerita Canyon, where Gibson made some of his movies.

In addition to using the Santa Clarita Valley as a backdrop for filming, during the time he was married to Dorothea Sally Eilers (a popular leading lady in late silents and early talkies), he owned a ranch in Saugus now known as the Saugus Speedway. SCV historian Jerry Reynolds writes:

"Roy Baker purchased a 40-acre tract east of Bouquet Junction during 1923, starting construction on a rodeo arena a year later. Hoot Gibson bought the ranch and stadium in 1930, putting on shows that attracted such stars as Tom Mix, John Wayne and Clark Gable. In 1934 Gibson sold out to Paul Hill, who ran the Western Livestock yards and leased it to film companies for three years until a huge flood filled the home and arena with mud and debris. (Hill) was unable to make payments, and the bank repossessed the property, which was eventually taken over by a professor of economics at Occidental College, William Bonelli (who started the Santa Clarita Water Co. and built one of the first local housing tracts in the late 1940s). Today (the rodeo arena) is known as the Saugus Speedway."

LW3010: 9600 dpi jpeg from original photograph purchased 2017 by Leon Worden.
Behind the Scenes


Marries Sally Eilers 6-28-1930


Hawaiian Honeymoon April 1931


Separation May 1932


Crashes Plane, 7-3-1933


June Gale Comforts Hoot in Hospital, July 1933


Eilers Confirms Divorce, August 1933


Hoot Gibson Broke, Sept. 1933

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