It was still hot and sunny returning to Corriganville. We knew from what the docent at Santa Susana Depot explained that Robin Hood Lake was to the right of the parking area. Neek and I hiked out there and after about five minutes we came upon the dried out man-made lake.
We could see the concrete housing structure that had been used during the 40s and 50s for filming underwater sequences for movies and TV shows. It was a steep walk down the lake bottom. No underwater film equipment remained, but there was some humungous pipes hanging overhead. I tried to swing from them, but as you can see in the video, that didn’t last too long!
Then I climbed the huge man-made boulder that we had seen pictures of Johnny Weissmuller diving from when he played Jungle Jim. Wow, what a drop! Maybe it was less intimidating when the lake was filled with water. Not a jump worth taking now.
Corriganville was such a fascinating place that it inspired us to do more research about both the place and the actor it was named after. One astounding piece of trivia concerned Ray Corrigan’s ex-wife Rita, who he divorced in 1954. She was seeing Bud Stiltz, the former foreman at the ranch, and one day in January 1959 when he was visiting her, a man showed up demanding Bud repay a $50 debt. Bud shot the man dead in what was ruled justifiable homicide, though some eyewitnesses indicate it was murder. The victim? Carl Switzer, known to fans of Our Gang as Alfalfa!
Santa Susana Pass is beautiful, but is also filled with bizarre bits of history.
Well, we were back to Corriganville Park to find Robin Hood Lake. I was a little tired now and wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue but we came this far and I was curious. It was getting hot, the ants were everywhere but I could smell the minty, pine scent of distant eucalyptus trees and tried to imagine what it was like long ago with the horses and movies being filmed. The road was very dusty and my once white socks were turning brown fast. Then we saw the lake…….
It was dry. Obviously, it was a man-made concrete lake but a pretty long and somewhat deep one. It was built around the early 1940’s and we encountered some information signs that showed some photos of Johnny Weissmuller (of the Tarzan films) being filmed underwater as “Jungle Jim”.
The concrete bunker that housed the camera equipment was under a walking bridge. I looked inside and it was pretty creepy with a lot of graffiti. Not a place to explore at night. Square camera holes were built in the front and there was enough room in the bunker for about two people with large movie cameras. There were very big and sturdy pipes to the side where Lex pretended to be a ninja warrior.
Johnny Weissmuller dived from one of the man-made boulders into the lake during filming. It’s pretty high. There are remnants of blue paint on the edges of the lake. It must have been nice at one time with the water flowing by.