Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Embossed Envelope from Trem Carr Pictures

Hollywood | Placerita Canyon

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Embossed No. 6 envelope (3⅝ x 6½ inches) from Trem Carr Pictures of Gower Gulch (Sunset and Gower in Hollywood), addressed to Trem Carr's older brother, oilman Arnold Plack "A.P." Carr, of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, sent by airmail in August 1932.

"Plack" was A.P.'s mother's maiden name. Arnold (b.1886) and Trem (b.1891) were two of three children of William Toney Carr, a druggist, and Amy Bertha Plack Carr of Trenton, Illinois. A sister, Tonina, came between them in 1888.

At the time our envelope was mailed, Trem Carr was producing and distributing movies, some starring a young John Wayne, that were made at the Placerita Canyon movie ranch Carr leased in 1931. Today the property is part of Walt Disney Co.'s Golden Oak Ranch on the east side of the 14 Freeway at Placerita Canyon Road.

When Carr's lease expired in 1936, he moved his operation to Ernie Hickson's Placeritos Ranch, aka Monogram Ranch, which eventually became Melody Ranch.

The correspondence is missing from the envelope, but we can take a pretty good gander at its subject matter.

In 1932, A.P. Carr was trying to square accounts with a partner in a luckless oil venture in Zapata County, Texas. In April, at a cost of $7,840.30, they had two wells dug that proved to be dusters.

With financing from brother Trem, A.P. was able to pay his half-share of the oil leases, but he still owed money for the drilling.

In May 1932, A.P. Carr tried to convince the partner, Texas oilman W.J. McGinley, to let bygones be bygones.

"We just lost, and that's all there is to it," A.P. Carr wrote to McGinley (see below). "I agree with my brother's letter of April 28th. Let's close this out and turn to something else. ... Together we [A.P. and Trem] will work out the cash to pay the bills, although it may not be at once, as Trem has had nearly $2,000.00 of extraordinary expense recently."

No doubt related to Trem's budding "B" (low-budget) Western empire.

In his 1932 letter to McGinley, A.P. Carr signaled his intent to relocate to California, as other Oklahomans were doing. A 1920s oil boom that drove Pawhuska's population past 6,000 had gone bust; worse, family farms were drying up and blowing away. But if A.P. came to the West Coast at all, it was only temporary. He ended up in Dallas.

In 1935, McGinley sued A.P. Carr for his unpaid portion of the drilling cost and won. In 1937, A.P. challenged the verdict in the Court of Civil Appeals in Texarkana and lost.

By that time, brother Trem had moved over to Universal where he continued to produce the occasional John Wayne movie made in the Santa Clarita Valley such as 1937's "California Straight Ahead!" In the film, Wayne plays a truck driver in a cross-country race against a train to see who can deliver aviation parts to California ahead of a labor strike. The picture was supposed to be shot in San Francisco, but the script had to be rewritten to fit Los Angeles when a Bay Area labor strike stymied production.

Trem Carr worked in the motion picture business until his death in 1946. His 5-year-older brother outlived him by 36 years. "Sis" outlived them all.

LW3765: 9600 dpi jpeg from original envelope purchased 2020 by Leon Worden.
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