Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Gene Autry Stars in "Rancho Grande"

Monogram Ranch | Placerita Canyon

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Singing cowboy Gene Autry stars in 1940's "Rancho Grande," partially filmed at the Monogram Ranch in Placerita Canyon, which Autry would later own and rename Melody Ranch after his popular radio show.

This unnumbered lobby card accompanied a re-release by Republic Pictures in 1945, when theaters were starved for good material amid a wartime production slowdown.

Autry and pals appear to be huddled in front of the adobe hacienda at Melody Ranch. The balusters supporting the porch railing look wrong for the late 1940s-early 1950s, but they might have looked like this in 1940.

It also should be noted that this motion picture does not appear — in fact no Autry picture appears — on the list of films made at Monogram Ranch in 1940 that was provided by then-owner Ernie Hickson to local historians. The Internet Movie Database reference needs verification.

Additional filming locations, according to IMDB, included the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth and Bronson Canyon (Griffith Park, Los Angeles).

"Rancho Grande" is directed by Frank McDonald from a story by Peter Milne and Connie Lee. Stunt players are Joe Yrigoyen (Autry's double), Bill Yrigoyen, Jack Kirk (for sidekick Smiley Burnette), George DeNormand, Eddie Parker and Nellie Walker (for June Storey). Credited cast includes Autry, Burnette, Storey, Mary Lee, Dick Hogan, Ellen Lowe, Ferris Taylor, Joe De Stefani, Roscoe Ates, Rex Lease and Ann Baldwin. On-camera performers are the Pals of the Golden West, the Boys' Choir of St. Joseph's School and The Brewer Kids.

LW3712: 9600 dpi jpeg from original lobby card purchased 2020 by Leon Worden.
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