William S Hart Park and Museum

3/29/17 Wednesday in Acton, CA (Soledad Canyon-TT)

We drove about 30 miles to the William S Hart Park, arriving before noon so we could catch the first tour of his mansion. He was one of 3 top movie actors in the world, along with Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, appearing in 69 silent movies. He studied in Europe to be an actor, having grown up in the Midwest among the Sioux. Back home he was upset with the way the West was portrayed – nothing was authentic. He eventually got his friend, Thomas Incle, head of Paramount, to let him star in and produce better Westerns. Tom knew that Westerns were a dying genre, but let “Bill” give it a try. The Hart Westerns were a huge hit, making Hart a wealthy man. Note, Bill didn’t start acting in the movies until he was 50! Here he is with his beloved pinto pony “Fritz”. Both he (a tall man) and Fritz (a short horse) clicked from the beginning and both did their own stunts. Hart even had a special burial place for Fritz, as well as another for his dogs. In his love for animals he also kept many that are now on the site for people to enjoy…”for the benefit of the American public of every race and creed.” He wanted all those people who paid their nickels and dimes to see his shows to enjoy what he loved.

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The Ranch House was originally built in 1910. Then Hart wanted to use it for location filming, putting boards and nail walls up so they could easily be removed for “sunlit” scenes. Later (1921-1924) he lived there, using it as a second home, a breather from Hollywood. Yes, he permanently installed the walls and stuccoed the outside by 1922. Click on images for captions.

Meanwhile, he got busy building his retirement home on the hill, LaLoma de los Vientos, living there from 1927 until his death in 1946.

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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One Response to William S Hart Park and Museum

  1. Thanks for the info on the ‘much forgotten’ Bill Hart. Plenty here I didn’t know. I believe he occupied The Mabel Normand Studio, after Mabel ‘ran away’.

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