History of Cinema in the Conejo Valley
For more than 80 years the Conejo Valley has played a significant role in the California Film Industry. The Conejo Valley--which consists of the cities Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Westlake Village, Oak Park, Agoura Hills, and the surrounding communities of Lake Sherwood, and Hidden Valley--features picturesque mountain vistas, lush ranches and parks, and beautiful city streets that have provided a perfect backdrop for many film productions. Below is one of the most extensive histories of cinema in the Conejo Valley, which is broken down alphabetically by city/community.

Agoura Hills
Film in Agoura dates as far back as the 1920s; when the community was briefly known as Picture City—due to the fact that Paramount Studios owned a ranch in the area that was used for filming old Westerns. In 1982, Several neighborhoods in Agoura where used in the opening neighborhood shots for the film Poltergeist—the opening shot with a large oak tree in the middle of the street is Rustling Oaks Dr.—while the actual Freeling House was located in Simi Valley. The Paramount Studios Ranch also became the setting for the television show Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Agoura was also utilized in the television show The OC, which used an Agoura home as the character Summer’s mansion. The famous TV show, M.A.S.H., was filmed in nearby Malibu Lake on 20th Century Fox’s ranch, only a few minutes away from the Paramount Ranch.



Source: Conejovalley.com, Wikipedia, Seeing Stars

Hidden Valley
Hidden Valley is probably the most common filming location for movies and television around the Conejo Valley due to its close proximity to Los Angeles, its country atmosphere, and its little known location. The Hidden Valley area was used in the late -Patrick Swazye film, Roadhouse, and was also used as President Charles Logan's estate in both seasons 5 and 6 of the hit TV show, 24. Much of Seabiscuit was also shot in area.



Source: Wikipedia, 80's Movie Rewind

Lake Sherwood
As an unincorporated part of the Conejo Valley, Lake Sherwood has had a storied film past. Originally named Potrero Lake, it’s considered to be the oldest man-made lake in California. The named was changed to Lake Sherwood when the surrounding areas were used for the filming of Robin Hood starring Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., in 1921. It has also been featured in episodes of television shows like Bonanza and the OC. And part of the films, Out of the Past and Muppet Movie were filmed here.



Source: Wikipedia, Sherwood Country Club, Seeing Stars, Bonanza: Scenery from Ponderosa, Film in America

Newbury Park
Located in the western portion of the Conejo Valley; Newbury Park, along with Thousand Oaks was part of a master planned community developed by the Janss Investment Company. Rancho Conejo Village—built on the site of the former Rancho Conejo Airport, was a location used for portions of the film, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Because the large majority of Newbury Park and the Dos Vientos communities are within the city limits of Thousand Oaks, much of their film history is part of the larger Thousand Oaks cinematic history.



Source: Conejovalley.com, Wikipedia, Gchudleigh.com

Oak Park
Although not known for being the most famous film location in the Conejo, Oak Park was founded by Jim and Marian Jordan—nationally beloved radio personalities known better as “Fibber McGee and Molly.” But various scenes from John Carpenter's Christine, Ladybugs, and Role Models were all filmed in Oak Park.



Source: Conejovalley.com, Wikipedia

Thousand Oaks
As the largest part of the Conejo Valley, Thousand Oaks has an immense film history. Janss Ranch, much like the other movie ranches in the Conejo Valley, hosted many film productions and popular Westerns including Gunsmoke and The Rifleman, which were shot in the Wildwood neighborhood. Jungleland—once located where the current City Hall/Civic Arts Plaza is—has also been classified by many as one of the most well known filming spots in the Conejo Valley and is often regarded as Southern California's first theme park. Wild animal shows entertained thousands in the 1940s and 50s at the park. And scenes from 100's of movies and television shows were filmed here—making use of the park's trained animals—including Birth of a Nation, Tarzan, and The Adventures of Robin Hood. Believe it or not, Memoirs of a Geisha—set in 1930s Japan—was also shot in Thousand Oaks.



Source: City of Thousand Oaks, Conejovalley.com, Wikipedia, LA Times, LA Times Blogs, Ponderosascenery.com, Filmstew

Westlake Village
The area that is now Westlake was once known as Russell Ranch and was a very popular movie ranch. Many movies and TV shows were filmed on the ranch, including Robin Hood, King Rat, Laredo, and various episodes of Tarzan, Buck Rogers, Gunsmoke, and Bonanza. Demolition Man used the outside of the Baxter building in Westlake Village as the police station in the film. Some scenes from Gridiron Gang where shot at Westlake High School, Agoura High School, and Moorpark College.



Source: Conejovalley.com, Wikipedia, Brent Davis Real Estate

We are currently working on a Films Section, which will feature a list of all the films and television shows shot in the Conejo Valley.

If you would like contribute to this site please feel free to email us at conejofilm@gmail.com or check out our twitter @conejofilm
1 Response
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