Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood’

Courtesy of BigBearHistorySite.com

At the same time that the film industry was getting started in Big Bear Lake, tourism was beginning to take off.  Lodges were being built all over the valley. Real Estate values were soaring. Business was good, but only during the summer.  During the winter months, the lodges and most resort businesses would close down and their owners would leave the hill.  Except for a hand full of hard core locals, Big Bear sat empty.  The ski resorts didn’t exist yet.  During the winter months, there was absolutely nothing going on in Big Bear.

Filming at the old Pine Knot Lodge at Big Bear Lake in the 1920's - Rick Keppler collection.

Until Pine Knot Lodge opened it’s doors to the movie studios, Big Bear was a ghost town during the winter. – Rick Keppler collection.

However, there was a local guy back then, by the name of Fred C. Skinner, who wanted to do something to try and change that.   Fred was manager of the new Pine Knot Lodge, which was Big Bear’s largest resort.  He had organized Pine Knot’s first Chamber of Commerce, and in 1914, Fred informed Hollywood production companies that the Pine Knot Lodge would remain open during the winter if they wanted to film. He even brought in a generator, and Pine Knot Lodge had electrical power five years before electricity reached the valley.  The movie industry enthusiastically supported Skinner’s efforts and began filming right through the winters.  Few people in Big Bear today realize just how important Fred’s work was back then.  Until the  ski resorts came along, it was the film industry, not the tourists, that kept the Big Bear community alive through the long winter months each year.

The Big Bear community and the movie industry pretty much grew up during the same time period.  The film companies mixed easily with the local community, and Big Bear residents enjoyed working as extras on films whenever they were needed.  Many early Big Bear pioneers including Dad Skinner, Bill Knickerbocker, Henry Shay (of Shay Ranch), and some of the Talmadges of the IS Ranch, all worked as extras in these early films.

If you’d like to come to Big Bear and discover what Hollywood’s love of our valley is all about, consider staying with us at RS Vacations. Book your Big Bear Vacation Rental today!

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Pirate shipThere are some very unique ways of experiencing Big Bear. You can view it from a helicopter, a big, 4-wheel drive jeep or even a Pirate Ship. That’s right, we have our own Pirate Ship. The ‘Time Bandit’ is an actual 1/3 scale replica of a Spanish Galleon that was built by a father and son in their backyard in the late 60’s and early 70’s and then used in the 1981 Hollywood movie “Time Bandits”. It was used in several different capacities over the years, but finally made its way to our own Big Bear Lake.

A tour on the Time Bandit is led by your Captain (a pirate, of course) and features live entertainment while you take a tour of Big Bear Lake and learn about its history and learn the inside scoop on some of our famous residents. You might get to see the homes of Mike Judge (Beavis and Butthead creator), Woody Harrelson and Kevin Costner.

The tour also includes a visit past the “War Games” house and if you’re lucky, you might swing by the former home of cartoon legend Mel Blanc (What’s up, Doc?) where his son, Noel (a current Big Bear resident) could entertain you with some famous voices.bugs-bunny-and-carrot

At the end of your tour, little buccaneers will get a pirate ‘tattoo’ and a peek inside the treasure chest. The perfect way to learn about Big Bear’s ‘Hollywood Connection’.

The Time Bandit shove’s off from Holloway’s Marina. You can get more information by calling  (909) 878-4040.

Book your Big Bear Cabin today, matey, and experience the Time Bandit and all her secrets!

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The year was 1983. I was sitting in Big Bear Lake’s Village Theater. At that time there was only one and it was a single screen. They also always had a double feature. One ticket, two movies! What ever happened to that concept? The only down side to our little theater was that we got the major movies about six months after they came out everywhere else in the country. Ahhh…small town living.

So back to my story. I was sitting in the theater watching the movie “War Games” with Matthew Broderick and wouldn’t you know, Big Bear’s own 7-11 is on the screen! wargames7-11It was the scene where he got arrested by the F.B.I.. Everyone in the theater started whispering and clapping. (Hey, not much happened in Big Bear in 1983.) There were a few other scenes with Big Bear locations as well and it was pretty exciting stuff.

Over the years I have seen many movies and TV shows with Big Bear locations and it is always brings back a little bit of that old excitement. I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising. Hollywood is only a few hours away, after all, and our town offers one of the few alpine settings close by, but when you grow up somewhere as small and close-knit as this (it used to be much more so), the entire valley is your “home”. And even though movie stars are just people, Hollywood has its own kind of excitement that cannot be denied.

As this coming Sunday is the Academy Awards, I thought I would spend the week sharing some of Big Bear’s ‘Hollywood Connection’ with you.

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