When science fiction and western movie tv producers and directors were in need of a pastoral and primitive location bare of city lights and buildings they didn’t have to go any farther from their backlots than up the street a few miles from Paramount near Bronson and Melrose to Bronson Canyon and Franklin.
Widely known as the entrance to the Bat cave in the Batman TV series Bronson Caves was also the site of numerous other movies and TV shows like the Outer Limit TV episodes, the movie Star Trek IV, Bonana, Little house on the Prairie and my favorite the extraterrestrial abduction scene in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers„ and the lesser known sci-fi “Guns of El Chupacabra„.
The caves still bear the fake hieroglyphs and pictographs of some of those movies. The end of Bronson Drive leads to a grassy park, mini playground and Summer Camp for Kids. Further up the trail leads to the Caves and if you are feeling athletic another trail goes to the famous Griffith Observatory.
About a six mile hike both ways. Bronson Canyon also boasts an inordinate amount of Crafstmen Bungalows. Bungalow row can be enjoyed from the 1900 block of Bronson, Van Ness, Taft and Wilton to just above Foothill Blvd. With multi-colored paint schemes out of a Victorian catalogue these homes are a visual feast of a bygone era and style that was brought from the Mid-westerners who settled here.
Roman Polanski,‘China Town’
One rather plain non-descript Craftsmen on Canyon, was used for the movie “Chinatown” See the scene “she’s my sister, she’s my daughter, she’s my sister and my daughter” Considered the Foothills these homes generally have ample front and back yards not found in the upper hills.
A huge plus to most residents who strangely enough happen to be mostly East Coast transplants, are the East Coast and New England Federal, Craftsman, Georgian and Traditional style homes on tree-lined streets with grassy front lawns. Another plus is the easy walking distance to what I like to call “Writer’s Block” on Franklin. A string of European Bistro style cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating where Actors can mull over scripts, Writers can take meetings and other Hollywood types can linger in the sun over a Cappuccino network and stalk their managers and agents for their next project.
A little known enclave in the middle of Bronson Canyon is the ‘Hollywood Oasis” Beginning oddly in the middle of Bronson hill it winds steeply to a flat row of almost tract-like modern homes curiously built around the 1950’s by a Greek/Armenian Contractor who loved Los Angeles and built these Mid-Century style homes with wide floor to ceiling glass window/walls that opened to sunny yards, patios and pools as a tribute to the sunny climate of his home in Greece. Bronson Canyon is also the gateway to the Los Feliz Oaks which is another story altogether