"From the Desert to the Sea, to All of Southern California." - Jerry Dunphy

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Balboa Park & the RKO Movie Ranch


I really did not want to post anymore pictures of myself, however this was the only picture I had of Balboa Park in Van Nuys CA. I believe it is now called Lake Balboa. Balboa Park is a good size park located at the corner of Balboa Blvd. and Burbank Blvd. Back in the 70's there were tennis courts and baseball diamonds where Van Nuys Demolay and others played baseball and softball. Desert Radio Rat and I once coached a girls softball team from Builders Emporium that played here. He was the head coach and I was the third base coach. I had the fun job.

Years later I found out Balboa Park had an interesting history. It used to be the site of the RKO Encino Movie Ranch. The most famous movie shot at this location was "It's a Wonderful Life." On this movie ranch they built the exterior for the town Bedford Falls. Every exterior in the movie that took place in town was filmed here, in the height of summer. Many of the trees from the movie are still located in the park on the western side. There are now houses built on what used to be part of the studio ranch.

Many westerns were shot here as well as the early version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". You can check the internet for additional information.

As I recall there was and may still be an Ambers Chicken place across the street from the park on Burbank Blvd. They used to be very good. I would have to ask our chicken expert Phone Rat how they compare with Pappy Parker Fried Chicken.

2 comments:

Desert Radio Rat said...

i love the hair doo!

yeah you had the fun job as third base coach. used to love playing VN Demolay Softball at Balboa Park..a hop skip and a jump from mary ellens house!

Carey Wilson said...

Mary Ellen....ok so I am happily married but....no, I'll let it go. She was great and somewhere here I have an audio tape of her. You probably remember.