Gower Gulch

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Gower Gulch is a nickname for the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

Advertisement for the Gower tract, 1905

Since the days of silent film, the surrounding area had contained several movie studios, including the Christie Studios (on the northwest corner) during the 1920s, then later, Columbia and Republic Studios to the south along Gower Street. Western films at both studios were extremely popular, especially from the 1930s through the 1950s, and actual working cowboys would come to Hollywood hoping to find work in the movies. They would congregate at that particular street corner, which is how it acquired its nickname. The Columbia Drug Store, which stood on the southeast corner for several decades, was a hangout for many western film extras in hopes of finding work, knowing the casting agents from the studio could reach them there.[1] Indeed, John Wayne, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers all got their start in this neighborhood, as did director John Ford.[citation needed] Columbia Studios was filming western films about every ten days for a time. The cowboy extras stood at the corner already dressed in their Stetson hats, boots, and bandannas, ready for saloon scenes, as cattle rustlers, or as members of a posse. The pay was about $5 a day or $10 for a minor speaking role.

Charlie Chaplin made some of his first movies in this area. As of 2010, a modern strip mall sits at the southwest corner bearing that name painted on the side of a vintage western medicine show wagon.

The name Gower Gulch also appears in a Warner Bros. cartoon "All a Bir-r-r-rd". It is the name of a western-looking town Tweety's train passes through. In another Warner Bros. cartoon, "Drip-A-Long Daffy", Porky Pig sings a Michael Maltese song entitled "The Flower of Gower Gulch". In yet another Warner Bros. cartoon, "Nelly's Folly", Nelly the Singing Giraffe (voiced by Gloria Wood) sings a different version of that song.

"Drugstore Cowboy", a song written by Maria McKee for her eighties Los Angeles-based band Lone Justice, is the story of a cowboy extra and his cohorts hoping to find work at Gower Gulch.

A B-movie was released in 1950 called The Kid from Gower Gulch starring Spade Cooley. In the film, singer Red Murrell sings a song called "Gower Gulch is Home Sweet Home".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cary, Diana Serra (1996). The Hollywood Posse: The Story of a Gallant Band of Horsemen Who Made Movie History. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2835-6. 

Coordinates: 34°05′53″N 118°19′19″W / 34.098°N 118.322°W / 34.098; -118.322