Saturday, February 07, 2009

Spahn Movie Ranch

At 1200 Santa Susana Pass Road in Chatsworth, stands the former location of the infamous Spahn Movie Ranch.
Many Westerns were shot here, including "Duel in the Sun" and episodes of "Bonanza" and "The Lone Ranger". The old western town sets burned down in a 1970 fire.
This is George Spahn, the dairy farmer who purchased the property in 1948.
Here you can see one of the many Westerns that were shot on the property.
But Spahn Ranch is probably more well known today for being the location where the infamous Manson Family lived in the spring of 1969. On my visit there I found the location of the famous LIFE magazine photo of the Family, above. The lady third from the right is Lynette Fromme, who is serving a life sentence for attempting to assassinate President Ford in 1975.
It was from this ranch that madman Charles Manson sent out his followers on two nights of murder in the Los Angeles area.
On the night of August 9th, 1969 they went to the Benedict Canyon home of director Roman Polanski. The Manson Family members killed five people on the property, including Roman's wife, actress Sharon Tate. He was over in England working on a film at the time of the murders.
The next night, they went to the Los Feliz home of Leno and Rosemary Labianca and killed the couple.
I could go into more details about the crimes, but it's been written about so much.
This shot is from a Police raid on the ranch. Members of the Family were picked up on a separate charge of car theft. The killers were finally charged in the Tate/Labianca murders after Manson member, Susan Atkins bragged to her cellmate about committing the crimes.


jriggity said...

WOW....what a visit!

and know your locations dood!

great matches on the pics.


Mark said...

You are factual in your photographs of the ranch as I lived a few miles away and knew the infamous area of Chatsworth.

Oddly I am watching a documenturary on Manson when something they said was odd, that is Spawn was in Benedick Canyon, which was outright wrong, so I am glad I came upon your website to confirm what I know to be correct. The pictures bring me back. I assume you got permission to be on the property as any one who would apprach the ranch by foot (or the last time I was there, mountain bike back in the early '90s) would shoo people off with a rifle as it was clearly marked no tresspassing. The ranch blended with the local hills so there was no clear distinction when you were on the ranch's property and the surrounding area.

Thanks again for the pics.

Anonymous said...

Wow what a flashback! We had our own commune on Spahn's up the hill from Charlie's place in the old outlaw shacks during the entire time Charlie wss programing his clan. We used to get a kick out of Charlie's girls and whenever they came to visit we used to say her comes "Charlies robots". We were real hippies and violence was not in our makeup. I knew all of them including Charlie, Tex and Bobby as well as Shortie, Randy Starr and the old man George himself.

Kevin MacLean said...

Very interesting. Thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...

WOW! these photos are amazing! I was there a few years back, but I wasn't sure of the exact location. Is it near a church?

great photos!

Kevin MacLean said...

Yes, across the street from the church.