Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Alabama Hills

Windblown in the Alabama Hills at sunset. I'm still pretty sick from a nasty virus, first day up & about. Determined, I am. More like two sheets to the wind. Bawdy betrayal. I'm too sick to fight the camera. Surrender,

The Alabama Hills are the tip of a very steep vertical escarpment, probably flipped on end from an earthquake; the Owens Valley is filled with about 10,000' of rubble. The weird rocks are 82- to 85-million-year-old biotite monzogranite. Got that? Good.

We're on Movie Flat Road. Dozens of old TV Westerns were filmed here, including Hopalong Cassidy, The Gene Autry Show, The Lone Ranger, Riders of the Purple Sage, and Bonanza. You can hear the Bonanza soundtrack in your head when you drive down the road. Hoss at the wagon yelling, hyahhh! to the horses.

Some 150 movies including bits of How the West Was Won, The Walking Hills, Yellow Sky, Springfield Rifle, The Violent Men, Maverick, Gladiator, and Bad Day at Black Rock were filmed here too. That scene of the Khyber Pass in the 1939 epic Gunga Din, was really set in the Alabama Hills, ditto The Lives of a Bengal Lancer,

My friend, Mark Adler said he and his friend John Rosenberg visited the Alabama Hills a few years back. His father, Frank Rosenberg, produced "King of the Khyber Rifles, also shot there. So crazy how this place has become, through the movies, a pop culture icon. But it's also its Own Place."

There's a reason the Alabama Hills seem so familiar. You've been seeing them all your life. The ultimate alien background. The last frontier. The Alabama Hills, named after the Civil war ship, the CSS Alabama, was once home to the Paiute, the native names are lost.

Location Filming in the Alabama Hills

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