Tony Parrille introduced our speaker for today, Mr. Vince Foley, a resident of Arcadia. He is retired and his career was with the Department of Water and Power. Mr. Foley has been involved with community organizations and was named Citizen of the Year in 2010.
Huel Howser, who made arrangements with the CEO of the Arcadia Arboretum to come and interview him, and, of course, film the beautiful Arboretum for his Television show. The day that this was to happen, the CEO could not appear, and he asked Vince to fill in for him. Since that time, Vince Foley has introduced various slide and power point presentations to many audiences over the years. And, today, that is what he is doing for our Rotary Club.
The Los Angeles County Arboretum is a 127-acre botanical garden and historical site with plants from around the world. Baldwin Lake is a four-acre body of water located within the heart of the Arboretum’s Historical Section and surrounded by the Tropical Forest.
In 1839 Hugo Reid applied for title to 13,319 acres of land and became the first private land owner. In 1875, “Lucky” Baldwin purchased for $200,000 the 8,500 acres of the Rancho Santa Anita that still remained intact. In 1885, Lucky built “Baldwin’s Belvedere” situated near the lake. Today, this house is known as the Queen Anne Cottage.
Baldwin died in 1909, and the size of the property decreased to 3,500 acres. There was only 1,300 acres remaining when in 1947 the property was sold to a real estate syndicate, Rancho Santa Anita Inc., which was headed by Harry Chandler of the Los Angeles Times.
However, movies were starting to be filmed in 1936 with Johnny Weissmuller starring in Tarzan Escapes. Besides Tarzan films, other jungle adventures were being filmed here, such as Safari, starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. In this movie a paddlewheel boat was sunk in Baldwin Lake.
The same year the road pictures with Bing Crosby were filmed at the Arboretum. There were seven road pictures, total, and also starring with Bing was Dorothy Lamour.
In the 40’s there were other island adventure romances, including Moon Over Burma, 1940 and Typhoon also in the same year. In 1946 Cary Grant and Claude Rains starred with Ingrid Bergman in Notorious. A movie that is still remembered.
Tarzan movies became outmoded as Johnny Weissmuller decided to hang up his loincloth and become Jungle Jim.
B-1 horror movies became a hit in the 50’s. The movies Cyclops and the Attack of the Giant Leeches were hits. Between 1960 and 70 TV serials became most popular such as Marathon Man 1976 starring Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier, and also MacArthur 1977 starring Gregory Peck. Made for TV mini- series, the most notable being Roots: The Next Generations (1979), a popular saga highlighting Alex Haley’s family.
Since 1950, television has recognized the Arboretum as a prime location for many productions. Ramar of the Jungle, ran for several seasons with 52 episodes. Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, 26 episodes and also Sea Hunt starring Lloyd Bridges.
During the 60’s many popular shows included Lassie, Daniel Boone, Green Hornet and Mission Impossible. In the 1970’s popular shows were, The Immortal, Longstreet, The Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, Love Boat, Fantasy Island. Fantasy Island ran 157 episodes.
1980’s brought us Dallas, Hart to Hart, Knots Landing, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, and Remington Steele. In 1989, Murder She Wrote starring Angela Lansbury, and lasted many years. 1990 gave us new stories. Homicide, being one, starring a newcomer, George Clooney.
Top movies were also made at the Arboretum. “Dave” with Kevin Kline and Susan Sarandon starring. A White House was even created for this movie. Also, the movie “The Flockers” was recently filmed on the grounds of the Arboretum.
Yes, many movies, television, commercials were all filmed at the Arcadia Arboretum. We residents hardly knew that all these famous people, at one time or another, were in our midst.
We thank Vince Foley for the fine program that took us back in time and down memory lane for many.