While "Purple Rain," "Amadeus" and "Sleeping Beauty" might have grabbed the headlines, at least one motion picture with a Santa Clarita Valley connection was selected to join them this year in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
"Old Yeller," Walt Disney's 1957 classic, heart-wrenching story of a boy and his dog, adapted from the novel by Fred Gipson, was partially filmed at Disney's Golden Oak Ranch in Placerita Canyon — actually two years before Disney purchased the ranch, when it was owned by a man named Lloyd Earl.
Principal filming was done between January and May 1957 at the Albertson Ranch in Westlake Village, Sherwood Forest in Thousand Oaks and the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth. But certain sequences were filmed in Placerita Canyon. For example, when young actor Tommy Kirk rides Old Yeller across a meadow, the meadow is at the Golden Oak Ranch.
In a short documentary film included with the 2-DVD Vault Disney Collection set of "Old Yeller," actor Fess Parker recalls how the cast and crew were tormented by yellowjackets whenever lunch was served at the ranch.
In addition to filming, some of the set construction work was performed at the Golden Oak Ranch for scenes shot at other locations.
Every year, the Library of Congress adds 25 motion pictures to the National Film Registry. They are selected for their "cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation's film heritage." The selections for 2019 were announced December 11.
LOC's description and rationale for adding "Old Yeller" reads: "Stories of boys and their dogs have long been fodder for films and books, but none has ever resonated more strongly with the public than this 1957 adaptation of the Fred Gipson novel. Produced by Disney, which knew how to touch the hearts of moviegoers with both laughter and tears, the beloved film was directed by Robert Stevenson and stars Fess Parker, Dorothy McGuire and Tommy Kirk. Few movie endings have ever proved as emotionally affecting as the conclusion of 'Old Yeller.'"
The 25 films selected in 2019 are: