Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
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Saugus Train Station in "Oh, Susanna!"
Starring Gene Autry


The passenger train carrying the villain who's masquerading as Gene Autry travels from the Saugus train station to the Saugus train station in this sequence from "Oh, Susanna!" (Republic Pictures, 1936). The producer is Nat Levine, who discovered Autry and was using the Santa Clarita Valley extensively at the time.

We pick up the story where Autry has just been thrown from the train by Wolf Benson (Boothe Howard). In a scene with the camera (by William Nobles) pointing to the south, the SPRR Saugus Depot is the Sage City depot. After the sheriff (Walter James) inspects the passenger compartment where he's fooled by Wolf Benson, the train departs, and we cut to north-facing scenes where the train has just pulled into Mineral Springs depot (also the SPRR Saugus depot).

One notable charcter is the porter played by Fred "Snowflake" Toones, a character actor under contract with Republic who was usually typecast as a porter or other service-oriented laborer (janitor, bellhop, shoeshine man, etc.). He appeared in many "made in SCV" movies and chapter serials including the early, 12-chapter John Wayne vehicle, "The Hurricane Express" from 1932, and the 1937 Laurel and Hardy comedy, "Way Out West." He also ran the actual shoeshine stand at Republic Studios.

This was the last picture for Boothe Howard, real name Harold H. Boothby, who died in October 1936, two months after the premiere. He had just turned 46.

Most of the outdoor shooting took place in the Alabama Hills, in the shadow of Mt. Whitney.

Yakima Canutt and Joe Yrigoyen perform equestrian stunts. For no paricular reason at all (except to give Canutt and Yrigoyen some work), Autry is riding through the Alabama Hills when he decides to ride standing up on Champion. It does nothing to advance the plot, but it does pay the weekly bills for Yrigoyen, who was Autry's usual double. Then, going from silly to absurd, Smiley Burnette decides he won't be one-upped. That was Canutt. Seriously — Smiley Burnette balancing on a moving horse?

Tommy Coats and Jay Wilsey also performed stunts. Multi-part harmony is provided by the Light Crust Doughboys, who serve up some impressive solo work: Marvin "Smokey" Montgomery on banjo, Clifford Gross and Kenneth Pitts on fiddle, Zeke Campbell and Dick Reinhart on guitar, and Bert Dodson on upright bass.

Rounding out the credited cast are Frances Grant (the girl Autry gets in the end), Earle Hodgins, Donald Kirke, Clara Kimball Young, Edward Peil Sr., Frankie Marvin, Carl Stockdale, Roscoe Gerald, Roger Gray, Fred Burns and Lew Meehan. Uncredited cast includes Silver Tip Baker, Roy Bucko, Horace B. Carpenter, Tommy Coats, Edward Coxen, Rube Dalroy, Curley Dresden, Earl Dwire, Oscar Gahan, Jack Hendricks, Wally Howe, Alfred P. James, Jack Kirk, Tracy Layne, William McCall, Merrill McCormick, Bruce Mitchell, George Morrell, Pascale Perry, Bud Pope, Bob Reeves, Tom Smith, Wes Warner and Jay Wilsey.

SPRR Saugus Depot

See Also:
• Moving Saugus Station 1980
• Saugus Cafe


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Docent Training

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Exterior 1890s

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Track View 1907-12

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1914

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2 Wells Fargo Express Trucks at Depot 1919

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2 Locomotives at Depot Late 1910s

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1930s-1940s

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"Oh, Susanna!" 1936

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May 1941

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1967-1970

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1967-1970

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1970

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1970

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1970

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1970

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Snow Day 12/19/1970

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Train Orders 11/1978:1

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Train Orders 11/1978:2

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Train Orders 11/1978:3

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"Supertrain" NBC 1979: Interiors, Exteriors

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4/17/1980 Mult.

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New Signage 2018

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