(photos from the Jerry L. Schneider collection)
Known variously as Century Ranch, Fox Ranch, and Malibu Creek Park (its current name), filming began on the property while under the ownership of the Crag's Country Club.
Never a part of any Spanish or Mexican land grant, the main portion of the property that was once owned by 20th Century Fox was originally purchased in 1900 by a group of people who formed the Crag's Country Club.
In 1901, they built a dam across Malibu Creek at the top end of the gorge, thus forming the seven acre lake, now known as Century Lake.
The members of the club built homes around the property: in 1911, Jim Mott built an adobe home along Malibu Creek; around 1910, William Garland built a 3-story home on a hill near the Country Club clubhouse (it was removed in 1955); the clubhouse was built overlooking Rock Pool and the lower gorge (it was removed in 1955); the visitor's center across the creek from the clubhouse was originally the Hunt-Wesson home.
Filming came to the property as early as 1935 with MGM's Tarzan Escapes when the studio built the treehouse near Crag's Road and Brent Mountain.
When 20th Century Fox filmed the 1941 How Green Was My Valley, the studio took an active interest in the property. While they did have an extensive and large backlot at their main studio location, they were interested in the Crag's property because they envisioned moving their entire studio operation to the Malibu Creek property. The property was purchased by the studio in 1946, but they never moved their studios, probably due to the cost of the move.
The studio later purchased part of the Ronald Reagan Ranch and the Hunter Homestead. It was on the latter property that the house used in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House was built--a fully functional house, still standing and in use.
The property was the home to the movie and television versions of Mash as well as Planet of the Apes.
While some sets were built and removed, long standing sets included a ranch set, a Mexican Village, and a Fort, now all gone.
In 1974, the State of California purchased the ranch and opened it to the public in 1976.
"Tarzan Escapes" (MGM 1936) Directed by: Richard Thorpe. Cast: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, John Buckler, Benita Hume, William Henry, Herbert Mundin, E.E. Clive, Darby Jones.
"Blockade" (United Artists 1938) Directed by: William Dieterle. Cast: Madeleine Carroll, Henry Fonda, Leo Carrillo, John Halliday, Vladimir Sokoloff, Robert Warwick, Reginald Denny.
"Tarzan's Revenge" (Principal 1938) Directed by: D. Ross Lederman. Cast: Glenn Morris, Eleanor Holm, George Barbier, C. Henry Gordon, Hedda Hopper, Joe Sawyer, Corbet Morris, George Meeker, John Lester Johnson, Frederick Clarke.
"Full Confession" (RKO 1939) Directed by: John Farrow. Cast: Victor McLaglen, Sally Eilers, Joseph Calleia, Barry Fitzgerald, Elisabeth Risdon, Pamela Blake, Malcolm McTaggart.
"Tarzan Finds a Son" (MGM 1939) Directed by: Richard Thorpe. Cast: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Johnny Sheffield, Ian Hunter, Henry Stephenson, Frieda Inescort, Henry Wilcoxon, Laraine Day, Morton Lowry.
"Brigham Young" (20th Century Fox 1940) Directed by: Henry Hathaway. Cast: Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Dean Jagger, Brian Donlevy, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Mary Astor, Vincent Price, Jean Rogers, Ann Todd, Willard Robertson, Moroni Olson, Stanley Andrews, Frank Thomas, Fuzzy Knight Dickie Jones.
"The Moon Is Down" (20th Century Fox 1943) Directed by: Irving Pichel. Cast: Cedric Hardwicke, Henry Travers, Lee J. Cobb, Dorris Bowdon, Margaret Wycherly, Peter van Eyck.
"Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" (RKO 1948) Directed by: H. C. Potter. Cast: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas, Reginald Denny.
"Viva Zapata!" (20th Century Fox 1952) Directed by: Elia Kazan. Cast: Marlon Brando, Jean Peters, Anthony Quinn, Joseph Wiseman, Arnold Moss, Alan Reed, Margo, Harold Gordon, Lon Gilbert, Mildred Dunnock, Frank Silvera, Nina Valero, Florenz Ames, Bernie Gozier, Frank de Kova, Fay Roope.
"The Second Time Around" (20th Century Fox 1961) Directed by: Vincent Sherman. Cast: Debbie Reynolds, Steve Forrest, Andy Griffith, Juliet Prowse, Thelma Ritter, Ken Scott.
"The Sand Pebbles" (20th Century Fox 1966) Directed by: Robert Wise. Cast: Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, Richard Crenna, Candice Bergen, Mako.
"Planet of the Apes" (20th Century Fox 1968) Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner. Cast: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly, Linda Harrison.
"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (20th Century Fox 1969) Directed by: George Roy Hill. Cast: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katherine Ross, Strother Martin, Henry Jones, Jeff Corey, George Furth, Cloris Leachman, Ted Cassidy, Kenneth Mars, Donnelly Rhodes, Jody Gilbert, Timothy Scott, Don Keefer.
"Battle for the Planet of the Apes" (20th Century Fox 1973) Directed by: J. Lee Thompson. Cast: Roddy McDowall, Claude Akins, Natalie Trundy, Severn Darden, Lew Ayres, Paul Williams.
"The Towering Inferno" (20th Century Fox 1974) Directed by: John Guillermin & Irwin Allen. Cast: Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire.
"Timestalkers" (Fries Entertainment 1987) Directed by: Michael Schultz. Cast: William Devane, Lauren Hutton, John Ratzenberger, Forrest Tucker, Klaus Kinski.