Beneath Los Angeles ARCHIVE~

Travels With Huell

Hello, again, dear BLA Subscribers:

Today I had the very unique experience of being the featured guest on "California's Gold" with Huell Howser. Turns out Huell is a fan of the Beneath Los Angeles website and wanted to do a show about animal actors. Dead ones. Wanted to visit the graves of the dead animal actors, especially the ones who aren't in cemeteries or marked in any way. The ones who were buried in backyards and studio lots that are now paved over, lost to history. So he called me, or more precisely, he had his segment producer send me an e-mail.

I met Huell and his cameraman, Cameron (yes, Cameron the cameraman) at 8:30 at Hollywood Forever Cemetery to shoot the opening shot. Huell likes to shoot the show in order, even if it means criss-crossing the city many times. Cameron has been his camera operator for over five years now and still, everywhere he goes with Huell, people want to know if he is the infamous Louie. It kind of pisses him off.

Huell begins the show at Hollywood Forever to talk about how people come from near and far to visit celebrity graves. But today's show is not about the human celebrities but the animal ones. He introduces me and "Our adventure begins...right now!"

Our first stop is the bank parking lot in Glendale where the Western Studio Town of Mixville once stood in 1914. Here, cowboy star Tom Mix starred in many of his early films with his trusted horse, Old Blue. When Old Blue died, he was buried on the studio lot. Years later the entire town was leveled and a shopping center was put up. A branch of East-West Bank stands at the south end of the former property and the parking lot is right over Old Blue.

Then it was on to Studio City and the grave of Terry, the dog who played Toto in the 1939 "Wizard of Oz." Formerly the ranch of Terry's trainer, Carl Spitz, this property too is now a parking lot and apartment complex right up against the Ventura Freeway. Toto is under the freeway. Huell, by the way, was a hoot during all this. He has so much fun doing what he does.

Next up, Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills. Not surprisingly, they wanted nothing to do with this show and would not allow filming there, so we stood across the street and talked about Frank Inn, the animal actor trainer who is buried there with the ashes of three of his most famous actors, Benji, Arnold the Pig, and Tramp, the dog from "My Three Sons."

We ended our day at the LA Pet Memorial Park in Calabasas, where we could show actual graves of actual celebrity animals. Unlike Forest Lawn, this place was very cooperative (as was Hollywood Forever), and very happy to have Huell Howser on the premises. Here, we filmed the graves of Kabar Valentino (faithful pet Doberman of Rudolph) , Topper (faithful horse of Hopalong Cassidy), Petey (murdered star of the Our Gang comedies) and Tawney, the lion who roars at the start of all MGM Films.

The show should air sometime in September, so set your TiVo's and DVR's!


(Published: Sun Feb 03 2019; Hits: 0)

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