Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Lou Costello on Set of "Ride 'Em Cowboy"
Soledad Canyon

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Molly the hen lays one in the lap of contract actor Lou Costello in 1941 as he snoozes on the Soledad Canyon set of the Arthur Lubin comedy, "Ride 'Em Cowboy" (Universal 1942).

8x10 BW publicity still cut to 6x8 inches. Photo date-stamped Sept. 25, 1941. Cutline reads:

From: John Joseph | Universal Studios | Universal City, Calif.
For release on receipt

Molly, a Rhode Island Red, developed a deep affection for cherubic Lou Costello while Universal's comedy star and his partner, Bud Abbott, were on location at Rancho Chihuahua in Solemint Canyon, where much of their newest laughfilm, "Ride 'Em Cowboy," was made. In fact, Molly's devotion to Costello was so great that she even toiled for him while he slumbered, dropping the eggs right in his plump lap.

We're not sure about the Solemint Canyon reference, but Rancho Chihuahua wsa a 161-acre guest ranch run by a hustler named Dr. Ralph Waldo Wagner, who was referenced in newspapers as a "wealthy sporting impressario, psychologist and gold mine operator." That was before he supposedly fell victim to exortionists (the case went unsolved) and later faced prison on charges of swindling investors who entrusted him to stake mining claims on their behalf in Inyo County. Ernest Wagner (his son?) took over ranch operations by the end of 1939.

"Ride 'Em High" also used other locations across the Santa Clarita Valley including the SPRR Saugus depot, Sable Ranch in Sand/Placerita Canyon and the B-Bar-A Ranch in Newhall.

Another SCV connection: Sand Canyon resident and old-time riata expert Sam Garrett was technical adviser for the rope tricks in the picture and appears on screen.

Ella Fitzgerald, Iron Eyes Cody and Johnny Mack Brown find their way into this film, whose credited cast also includes costar Bud Abbott, Dick Foran, Anne Gwynne, The Merry Macs (Judd, Ted and Joe McMichael and Mary Lou Cook), Samuel S. Hinds, Douglass Dumbrille, and Morris Ankrum.

Official trailer.

Click to enlarge.

LW2903: 9600 dpi jpeg from original photograph purchased 2017 by Leon Worden.

Ride 'Em Cowboy: Sable Ranch, Rancho Maria Scenes 1942

Ride 'Em Cowboy (Still) 1941-42

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