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Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center & Community Garden from “La La Land”

Jan 30th, 2017 | By | Category: 90210 & Beverly Hills, 90210 Filming Locations, Movie Locations

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On paper, La La Land looked like my perfect movie.  I love Ryan Gosling.  I love Emma Stone.  I love musicals.  And I LOVE L.A.  The film just didn’t work for me, though.  I realize mine is a vastly unpopular opinion, but I found La La Land to be too long, too slow, and too melancholy.  My main beef, though?  For a flick that purports itself to be a love letter to Los Angeles, it certainly did not showcase many real area locations.  Sure there was the Griffith Observatory – I’ll give you that one.  It’s a real site – and a great one at that.  (Though the planetarium featured was a set re-creation.)  What about the Rialto Theatre?  Yes, the Rialto is an actual movie house, but it’s closed and has been since 2010.  You can’t actually see a film there.  Angels Flight?  That’s real and historic – but, again, shuttered.  Watts Towers and Grand Central Market were utilized, but their appearances were fleeting at best.  Not even all of the scenes purported to take place on the Warner Bros. backlot were actually shot there.  [And no, the coffee shop where Mia (Stone) worked isn’t real, either, though its facade can be seen on the WB Studio Tour.]  And while a couple of area restaurants (like the Smoke House) did make the cut, most either played fictitious eateries or were never referred to by name.  So basically everything the movie showcased was fake.  Southern California is chock full of vibrant, picturesque, dramatic, historic, very real sites that are accessible.  Why not celebrate the city and all of its glory by featuring them?  A couple of years ago, I stalked one of the few La La Land locales that is actually open to the public (though it did not play itself in the movie) – Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center & Community Garden.  I was familiar with the property thanks to its appearance in an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210, so I recognized it immediately when it popped up onscreen.  I had never gotten around to blogging about it, though, and figured what better time than now?

Orcutt Ranch was originally established by Union Oil Company president/geologist William Warren Orcutt and his wife, Mary Logan.  The couple purchased and developed a 210-acre plot of land in what is now West Hills and commissioned architect L.G. Knipe to built a large adobe-style residence on the site.  The home, which they dubbed “Rancho Sombra del Roble” (Spanish for “shaded oak ranch”), was completed in 1926 and still stands today.  That’s it below.

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The Orcutts first used the dwelling as a vacation home before eventually retiring there.

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William passed away at the residence in 1942 and Mary continued to live there until 1966, at which point she sold the ranch to the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department.

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By that time, a 24-acre portion of the property, which included the house, had already been declared a Historic-Cultural Landmark.

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The city dubbed the site “Orcutt Ranch” and opened the grounds to the public.

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When I stalked the place in August 2014 (along with Mike, from MovieShotsLA), I was thrilled to discover how open and accessible it is.

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Even the Orcutt’s historic adobe was unrestricted, though we were not able to venture inside.

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Besides the adobe, a large barn, and several other buildings, the sprawling property also boasts a myriad of gardens, groves, and green expanses, each dotted with countless varieties of plants and trees including birch, wisteria, dogwood, purple lily magnolia, oak, sycamore, and eucalyptus.

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Orcutt Ranch is a beautiful place to peruse nature, sit and reflect, or wander aimlessly.

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It is also a popular wedding venue.

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And filming location!  Orcutt Ranch actually portrayed two different places in La La Land.  (For those who have yet to see the movie, be forewarned, the paragraphs that follow contain spoilers.)  The interior of the Orcutt adobe first masked as the inside of the Chateau Marmont bungalow where Mia was staying at the end of the film.  (Why the scene wasn’t shot in an actual room at the historic hotel is anyone’s guess.)  Sadly, I do not have any screen captures of that particular scene to post here, but you can see images of the room used in it here and here.  Later, in La La Land’s dreamy final montage, during which Mia and Sebastian (Gosling) imagine what could have been, the adobe portrays the couple’s home.  Thankfully, I do have screen grabs from that scene thanks to this YouTube video.

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It was the adobe’s unique arched door that I recognized while watching La La Land.

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The interior of the Orcutt residence was also used in the sequence, including the solarium (which you can see a photograph of here) . . .

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. . . and the living room (which you can see a photo of here).  You can check out some more images of the adobe’s interior here.

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The property’s courtyard and fountain made an appearance in the scene, as well.

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As did the lush grounds.  (My imagery below isn’t the best because that portion of the scene was shot on a 16mm movie camera and is therefore a bit grainy.)

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As I mentioned in my intro, Orcutt Ranch also appeared in an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210.  In Season 10’s “Laying Pipe,” it masked as the supposed Ojai-area church where Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering) and Janet Sosna (Lindsay Price) took Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) and Dylan McKay (Luke Perry) to meet their minister.

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Only the exterior of the ranch appeared in the episode.

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The gazebo where Janet and Steve had a mini wedding rehearsal was not a set piece brought in for the shoot, but is an actual element of the property, which I was thrilled to see!  It does look a bit different today, though, than in 1999 when the episode was shot.

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The ranch’s gardens made an appearance in “Laying Pipe,” as well.

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A couple of Orcutt Ranch’s outbuildings also masked as the Thomas family farm in the Season 1 episode of Deadtime Stories titled “Grandpa’s Monster Movies.”

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One of the buildings used in the episode is pictured below.

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For those who felt like I did about La La Land (or who are completely flummoxed as to why I didn’t like it), this The New Yorker review is a great read.  As author Dale Robinette states, “I saw La La Land in a theatre, sitting up close to a big bright screen, and couldn’t tell whether it was filmed on location or in a studio in front of a green screen.  If [director Damien] Chazelle’s intention was to celebrate, among other things, the public face of the city, he failed miserably at it.”  I couldn’t agree more.  Chazelle really should have taken a note from Swingers.  The 1996 film brilliantly showcased a very real L.A., featuring actual area restaurants, bars and landmarks to such perfection that many still draw fans to this day, twenty years after the movie originally premiered.

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For more stalking fun, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Los Angeles magazine and Discover Los Angeles.

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center & Community Garden, from La La Land, is located at 23600 Roscoe Boulevard in West Hills.  The site is open daily from dusk until dawn and admission is free.   You can visit the property’s official website here.

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8 comments

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  1. Turquoise says:

    I adored Lala Land. It’s art. Art is objective. I’m not going to get upset if someone doesn’t have the same opinion as I when it comes to something as trivial as a movie. I totally get what you mean about that lack of real active LA locations used in the film. I’m a southern California gal living in Virginia. It would have been great to see more active LA locations. I wouldn’t call the film a love letter to Los Angeles. It seems more like a love letter to jazz, and classic Hollywood musicals. Great post as always.

    • Lindsay says:

      Thanks for the comment, Turquoise. You are exactly right. It’s an opinion over something trivial. I don’t understand why people get so upset over these things. I also agree that the film shouldn’t have been called a love letter to Los Angeles. I wish the director and media outlets hadn’t billed it as such – I might have gone in with a different mind-frame. Glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂 I was just in Virginia in September. Loved it! Stayed in Alexandria for four days. So many great filming locations in the area, too.

  2. Her mom says:

    Deja Vu of “The English Patient,” about which everyone oohed and ahhed – it also was a major disappointment. Then I was given such pleasurable credibility by Elaine on Seinfeld – best episode ever.

    Owen, I think we are each one of two who didn’t like Gone Girl. So great to know there is another likeminded thinker! “Emperor’s New Clothes.”

    • Lindsay says:

      Oh god, “The English Patient.” I wasn’t a fan of that one, either, and was lambasted for it. I found so much solace in Elaine’s mutual hatred of it on “Seinfeld.” LOVE that episode. I did like “Gone Girl,” though – up until the ending at least.

  3. Owen says:

    You didn’t like “La La Land”? WTF?! Was the umbilical cord wrapped around your neck in your mother’s womb? Did you stick Q-tips too far in your ear when you were a kid? If you don’t like that movie, your a looser, you mouth breather. You probably voted for Trump. I’m being facetious, of course. I was just giving you a sense of what a person can expect from the social media peanut gallery if — gasp! — he or she doesn’t appreciate a universally praised work of art.

    I don’t think Beyoncé is mellifluous nor Amy Schumer humorous. I didn’t enjoy reading “Gone Girl,” and I didn’t enjoy watching “The Godfather.” That opens me to mockery and ridicule, to criticism and vitriol. There must be something wrong with me. I’m not following an unwritten rule regarding the appreciation of greatness.

    It works the other way, too. If you like things that aren’t critically acclaimed, the tweeters and posters will let you know. Loudly. Passionately. Rudely. And, often, incoherently.

    I laugh during the movie “Tommy Boy” and enjoy the TV show “Wings.” I listen to Def Leppard and root for the Philadelphia 76ers. Those interests make me a target. It’s sad.

    Do you like “La La Land”? Great. Do you loathe “La La Land”? Great. It’s an opinion, and it affects no one. I wish the inhabitants of message boards and comments sections would understand that. If you think they ever will, though, you’re living in … la la land.

    (BTW: I intentionally misspelled two words in the first paragraph, to mimic the skills of the typical online bully.)

    • Lindsay says:

      Yep, you’re right. My mom posted her dislike of “La La Land” on Facebook and found herself on the receiving end of several very personal jabs. It’s a movie people, calm down. If we all liked the same exact things, this world would be a very boring place. Thankfully, my readers have been very nice on social media regarding my dislike of the film. No trolls to be found here. 🙂

  4. Martin Pal says:

    Such gloomy comments about a wonderful film, I really liked La La Land. Your objections seem more about what you wanted that wasn’t there. It’s not a travelogue. It’s a movie! Thanks for linking the most gloomy of reviews for the film. Everyone else can go to Rotten Tomatoes and read lots of great reviews. Or this alternate review from The New Yorker:
    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/12/12/dancing-with-the-stars

    • Lindsay says:

      I didn’t like the movie – that’s just my opinion. As I mentioned in the post, most people disagree with me. You liked it. That’s great. Difference of opinion makes the world go round. I don’t think I was looking for something that wasn’t there. The director has repeatedly called the movie a “love letter to L.A.” and says he showcases the city. As someone who has a location background, I did not find that to be the case. Again, just my opinion.


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