Callahan's Old West Trading Post on Sierra Highway in Agua Dulce is the primary location for the unwatchable Western-hippie-horror film, "Curse of the Headless Horseman" (Kirt Films International Ltd. 1972).
Description, source unknown:
A young medical student named inherits a broken down ranch/tourist attraction from his late Uncle Callahan, and must turn a profit with the enterprise within six months in order to comply with the uncle's will and possess it fully.
He invites a bunch of his hippie friends to start living on the property and brainstorm some ways to make "Callahan's Old West" a success. However, the ranch's caretaker warns the kids that an eerie spectral presence haunts
the area, a headless horseman who rides through the night seeking revenge for a deadly shootout that occurred at the ranch. Sure enough, the mysterious horseman begins appearing, splashing blood from a disembodied head over the
frightened hippies and driving some to accidental deaths. When gold is discovered in the land the ranch occupies, suspicions arise that perhaps the headless rider isn't a ghostly presence at all.
"Curse" is directed by John Kirkland, written and produced by Kenn Riche, filmed by Henning Schellerup and edited by Jeremiah Hayerling. Stunt coordinator is Saugus resident Ray "Shorty" Saniger, who was no stranger to Callahan's; he coordinated
gunfights there as part of the regular weekend entertainment for the real Callahan, who was very much alive and plays the justice of the peace in the movie.
Cast, in credit order: Ultra Violet,
Jefferson Clarke (as Tom Clark),
Becky Sharpe (as Rebecca Perlman),
Randy Ornelaz (as Randy Ornalez),
Tim Grace (as Timothy A. Grace),
Ritch Brinkley, Loreilie.
About Callahan's Old West.
Robert E. Callahan's Old West Trading Post, aka Indian Village, at 13660 Sierra Highway in "Outlaw Canyon" was the equivalent of an amusement park of its day.
Callahan (b. Oct. 27, 1892; d. Jan. 10, 1981), an entertainer and novelist, exploited America's fascination with all things Western —
especially the romanticized notions of
Old California as presented by Helen Hunt Jackson in her seminal 1884 novel, "Ramona" — by collecting objects with a connection, real or imagined,
to the novelist and her work, and enticing the public to experience them.
Callahan's initial visions of creating an amusement park to be called Ramona Village morphed into the Mission Village Auto Court, which he opened in 1926
at 5675 W. Washington Blvd. in Culver City. Along with a themed hotel, he erected teepees for travelers and put his collections on display, including a chapel,
little red schoolhouse and kiva (a small sweat lodge).
Auto parks were big business as the automobile came into age in the 1920s. There were a few auto parks in the Santa Clarita Valley, most notably McIntyre's camp at Castaic Junction, which was wiped out in the 1928 St. Francis Dam disaster.
In time, L.A. city builders had a different vision for Callahan's Culver City property. By the early 1960s, Mission Village stood in the way of the coming I-10 Santa Monica Freeway. So in 1962 Callahan
closed Mission Village and moved it to 13660 Sierra Highway. (The freeway was completed in 1965).
Note: In Callahan's day, that part of Sierra Highway was known as Saugus. The county of Los Angeles later included it within the Acton-Agua Dulce Town Council's sphere of influence. It is commonly considered part of Agua Dulce today.
In 1987, Callahan's widow, Marion, donated several artifacts from the former Indian Village — including the Ramona Chapel and little red schoolhouse — to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society.
The main building remained on the property, and from From 1986-2000, Marion Callahan leased it to the Canyon Theatre Guild. In 2000 the CTG moved back to downtown Newhall where the community theatre had started.