It is like entering the collective unconscious of generations of television and movie viewers.
Unlike other locations such as the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower which are icons in their own right beyond their inclusion in films, Bronson Canyon serves as the anonymous backdrop - a location which functions equally well in any time - past, present or future - or any place - whether on earth or in outer space. We have seen it a hundred times in a hundred different contexts. It is truely all things to all people.
Unless you are aware of the existance of Bronson Canyon and its many disguises, you probably have no idea that you have been watching it over and over again. Films such as Teenage Caveman and It Conquored The World have long segments filmed there and the location is clearly identifiable. In other films such as The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956), Bronson Canyon is glimpsed only briefly, and cut together with other locations so astutely that it does not exist as itself. The familiar remains anonymous.
Geomorphologically or aesthetically the canyon may have little merit. It is, after all, just a man made hole in a mountain. However, its closeness to the studios and its relative isolation (off the tourist trail passed only by joggers and their pets), make the site ideal as an outdoor location for producers working on a tight schedule and budget.
It is this almost non-stop use of Bronson Canyon that makes it arguably the most important site in motion picture history.
Last updated 18th Dec 1997.
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