Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Franklin Canyon Park

Larry and I usually visit a park or some other sort of natural environment on New Year's Day. We were lazy on January 1st this year, so since January 2nd was also a holiday, we experienced the wild on Monday. After breakfast and watching the Rose Parade, we drove the short distance through Beverly Hills up to Franklin Canyon Park. Neither of us had ever been there!
It's a sweet park, full of hiking trails, a lake, a duck pond and lovely canyon views. It was a cold and blustery day with rain clouds threatening in the distance. We walked a bit, then looked around the Sooky Goldman Nature Center. I knew Sooky when I was a child. She was a neighbor and mother of one of my classmates. Sooky was also the photographer for our local Beverly Hills newspaper. A few times, she called up my Mother and said, "Put Ellen in a party dress! I need her for a photo shoot!" I wish I'd saved a few of those photos. I remember one time, going over to Temple Beth Am and having my photo taken with Sooky's youngest son, Joel (my classmate) and Michael Katleman (father of Harris Katleman, head of TV at 20th Century Fox where I worked, decades later). We were posed lighting the candles of a menorah for a newspaper publicity shot at the start of Chanukah.
Sooky was always very active in civic life in Beverly Hills, working to organize the Maple Counseling Center, The Beverly Hills Theater Guild and particularly the preservation of Franklin Canyon. She established the William O. Douglas Outdoor Classroom which serves to educate children and adults in this unspoiled nature refuge. There are 605 acres of wilderness at the Park, once slated for development, now part of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the National Park system.
The park has a long history of movie and television filming on it's property. Most famous, was the hitch hiking scene from "It Happened One Night" with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable in 1934. 
Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. A scene from "It Happened One Night" 1934, filmed at Franklin Canyon Park

Many of us will recognize the trails and lake in the opening credits of "The Andy Griffith Show" with Andy Griffith and a very young Ron Howard.
Andy and Opie at Franklin Canyon Park, 1960
Click on Photo to see other films and TV shows filmed at Franklin Canyon Park

After our brief foray into nature, we decided that some healthy nourishment was needed!

Happy New Year 2017!

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