Western Street "A"
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Western Street "A" as it was known, was the primary backdrop for many of Columbia Pictures Western movies. It can be clearly seen in movies such as High Noon, Valley of Fire, Cat Ballou to name a few. As in most good westerns, you needed a small western town that included a Saloon, Bank, Sheriff's or Marshall's Office (with Jail), Church, School House and a Blacksmiths or Stable... these were all included on Wester Street "A".
The street had many looks and as with any good back lot set would have, the buildings were transformed to be what best suited the films needs. Several different buildings appeared as the Sheriff’s or Marshall’s office with the Jail included. In “Cat Ballou”, “A Good Day for a Hanging”, “High Noon” and even “I Dream of Jeannie” the Jail moved around the street and was portrayed in different locations.
There were two different Saloons, depending upon the need of the film as to which one was used. In some films the Saloons were depicted as being in two different towns, even though they were both on Western Street “A” even the Hotel was located in at least 3 different locations, from “3:10 to Yuma”, “High Noon” and “Cat Ballou”. Along with Western Street “B” the filming on the Ranch was very flexible in meeting the needs of many of the Classic Westerns.
But the Western Street’s were also used in many other ways; take for example the transformation of the Western Streets into Small Town America for the Columbia Pictures classic “The Wild One”. Classic Hollywood magic turned the Western Streets into a typical 1950’s small suburban town, filmed within the same year as “High Noon” on the same back lot set. A church was hidden by a gas station, fronts were converted from wood frame structures to look like brick or stucco type fronts, the hitchin’ posts were replaced with sidewalks and cars & motorcycles graced the same streets normally used by horses & carriages.
The Western Street’s were even used in the 1960’s by “The Monkees” for many of their off-beat sketches. Used for a raceway in one episode and for the center of a typical “Hatfield and McCoy” type hillbilly feud and also featured as the seaport of Seattle in Here Come the Brides.
Even the 1930’s & 1940’s “Superman” & “Batman” serials used these streets for rural areas and include the Stables as well.
Three Quarters of “A” Street burned down in a 1970 fire, but was quickly rebuilt according to original blueprints. However, it was said that it never did have the same feel as the original.