Actor Dick Curtis started Pioneertown in 1946 as an 1880s themed live-in Old West living breathing motion-picture set. The town was designed to provide a place for production companies to enjoy while also using their businesses and homes in movies. Hundreds of Westerns and early television shows were filmed in Pioneertown, including The Cisco Kid and Edgar Buchanan‘s Judge Roy Bean.
The Friends of Pioneertown is a 501(c)3 charitable non-profit organization that works to revitalize the community and town by honoring and promoting Pioneertown’s historic significance as a unique and unusual part of the American story.
The Old Days
Dick Curtis, Roy Rogers and Russell Hayden were some of the original developers and investors, and Gene Autry filmed every episode of his show at the six-lane Pioneer Bowl bowling alley. The Pioneer Bowl’s construction was credited to Tommy Thompson in 1947 and Rogers himself rolled out the first ball in 1949. School-age children were hired as pinsetters until the installation of automatic pinsetting equipment in the 1950s.
Filmed in Pioneertown
Pioneertown isn’t just a movie set from the past. Many of the buildings on Mane Street —”hoof n’ foot only”— are also functioning businesses, like the Saddlery, the Pottery shop, Bear & Arrow, the General Store, the General Merchantile and the Land Office art gallery. There are gunfight reenactment groups, a Wild West Theater, and Cowboy Church at the Soundstage. There is also a church, Post Office, and the legendary Pappy & Harriet’s, where the old Cantina used to be in the filming days.