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Saturday March 2nd 2024

Westworld | 1973

Westworld film location: Red Rock Canyon State Park, Cantil, California
Westworld film location: the Western landscape outside the town: Red Rock Canyon State Park, Cantil, California | Wikimedia / RuggyBearLA

Before there were cloned dinosaurs, there were robotic gunslingers.

Michael Crichton, writer of the novel Jurassic Park, examined the idea of a dangerously runaway theme-park in this 1973 film which he directed himself.

Most of the film was made at the MGM Studios where the interiors of the 'Delos' park were created.

The formal gardens of 'Roman World' were Greenacres, the 15-acre estate of silent screen comic Harold Lloyd, in the Benedict Canyon section of Beverly Hills, and dubbed "the most impressive movie star's estate ever created."

Lloyd, most famous for his dizzying high-rise stunts, was a huge star who lived in a 44-room mansion here from the Twenties to his death in 1971, at 1740 Green Acres Drive, off Benedict Canyon Drive.

After his death, the estate was sold in 1975 for $1.6 million to a retired businessman, who subdivided it into separate lots.

Part of the grounds can also be seen in 1985's Commando, with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Western town in 'Westworld' itself is the 'Laramie Street' set, which stood for years on the Warner Bros lot in Burbank. It was reused for Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles. It remained standing until 2003 when it was demolished to free up space on the lot.

The rugged, rocky west outside the town to which Peter Martin (Richard Benjamin) flees from the black-clad gunman (Yul Brynner, parodying his character from The Magnificent Seven) is Red Rock Canyon State Park, in the desert about 90 miles north of Los Angeles.

It's on the stretch of State Route 14 known as Antelope Valley Freeway, north of Cantil toward Ridgecrest.

The landscape of cliffs, buttes and spectacular rock formations were later used as the site of Alan Grant's (Sam Neill) dig in Jurassic Park.

It's also seen in countless films, including Universal's original 1932 The Mummy, The Big Country, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Capricorn One and more recently Ghostbusters: Afterlife.