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The Silent West

March 31, 2000|RICHARD KAHLENBERG | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Celluloid cowboys will be celebrated this weekend during the annual Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival in Santa Clarita.

Tonight, the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society will screen silent-era Westerns that were filmed in the area, including the feature-length "Hell's Hinges," starring William S. Hart, and the featurettes "His Redemption" with Bronco Billy Anderson and "Sagebrush Tom" with Tom Mix.

"This is the only time you're going to be able to see silent-era films projected in an antique railroad station, accompanied by an honest-to-goodness jug band, The Lease Breakers," said Carol Rock, organizer of "Friday Night Flickers."

The films will be screened at the society's headquarters in the Heritage Junction Historic Park in Newhall, and the event will include a chuck wagon-style barbecue dinner.

Saturday night, in the nearby hilltop mansion built by W.S. Hart, the Friends of Hart Park and Museum will present a one-man play, "Wyatt Earp," performed by the great-nephew of the famous Westerner who shares his name. Reservations are required.

Sunday morning, a "Celluloid Cowboy Motorcoach Tour" will take visitors aboard buses to several former movie ranches in the Santa Clarita Valley.

"Downtown Newhall itself was one of these ranches, and many of the buildings first built there on San Fernando Road were [merely] facades," Rock said.

The tour includes the Harry Carey Ranch in San Francisquito Canyon, Vasquez Rocks and Melody Ranch. "Every big TV Western of the '50s and '60s was filmed at Melody Ranch," Rock said.

Elsewhere along the motor coach route, Rock will describe where scenes from classics such as "High Noon" and "Stagecoach" were filmed.

BE THERE

"Celluloid Cowboys" this weekend in Newhall. "Friday Night Flickers" tonight at 6:30, $25, Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, 24101 San Fernando Road. (661) 254-1275. "Wyatt Earp," Saturday, 7:30 p.m. $30, W.S. Hart Museum, 24151 San Fernando Road. (661) 254-4584. "Celluloid Cowboy Motorcoach Tour and Breakfast," Sunday, 9 a.m.-noon, $35. (661) 254-1275.

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