John Schneider's L.A.
Exploring his favorite L.A. haunts.
The Paramount Ranch was home to dozens of films and TV shows, from Gunsmoke to Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and is open to the public.
Surprise, the guy who played Bo Duke doesn’t live in Hazzard County, Georgia, but outside Los Angeles a mile from where they filmed Gunsmoke. He told us about some of his haunts around town.
Never mind those New York and Hazzard County roots, John Schneider has been living, acting, producing, directing, singing, strumming, and driving his caravan of vintage Dodges out West for the past three decades. Here are a few personal favorite stops in and around his L.A. neighborhood he wouldn’t want you to miss. Enjoy, and mind the speed traps.
Favorite Old Western Movie Set: Paramount Ranch
This remote outpost in the Santa Monica Mountains near Agoura Hills was once a bustling production set for some of the biggest Western movies and TV shows of its era. Today, you can wander through the Old West-style ghost town that’s still there. Bring a picnic lunch and take a really nice hike in the hills to some great ocean views. Open daily 8 a.m. – sunset, 805.307.2301, www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/paramountranch.htm.
Favorite Drive: Pacific Coast Highway
Unless I’m in a hurry, I always take PCH [aka California Highway 1] instead of the 101 Freeway into Los Angeles for a great drive along the coast. I catch it from here in Agoura Hills via Kanan Road, which winds through the hills right to the ocean. If you’re really not in a hurry, take a detour along Mulholland Highway, which winds for several more miles through the middle of nowhere in the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s a much wilder side of L.A. that makes you feel like you’re in the movie Chinatown.
Favorite Restaurant That Serves Elk Steak: Saddle Peak Lodge
My wife’s a great cook, so I usually dine at home, but one of my favorite fine restaurants around here is this remote spot perched in the hills above Calabasas — pretty close to the old movie set for M*A*S*H. It’s got a great wine list and a unique menu with lots of game specialties like buffalo, antelope, and elk tenderloin. 419 Cold Canyon Road, Calabasas, 818.222.3888. http://www.saddlepeaklodge.com/.
My Favorite Bar with a Mechanical Bull: Saddle Ranch Chop House
This is just a fun place right on the Sunset Strip with great steaks, cold beer, and — as far as I know — the only mechanical bull in town. What else can I say? 8371 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 323.656.2007, http://www.srrestaurants.com/.
Babylon-Inspired Shopping Mall: Hollywood & Highland Center
I’m not much for the new Hollywood scene — I think I’d prefer the old one they tore down decades ago — but I appreciate the Babylonian-style design of this large new retail center in the heart of Hollywood next to the Kodak Theatre, where the Oscars are now held. The architecture is a tribute to D.W. Griffith’s 1916 silent-era classic Intolerance movie set — complete with grand stairways, huge stone arch, and giant pillars topped with massive elephant sculptures. If you stand in a certain spot, it frames the Hollywood sign up there in the hills — but that could apply to just about any spot in Hollywood on a clear day. 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, http://www.hollywoodandhighland.com/.