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Gower Gulch is a nickname for the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.


Advertisement for the Gower tract, 1905

Since the days of silent film, the surrounding area had contained several movie studios, including the Christie Studios (on the northwest corner) during the 1920s, then later, Columbia and Republic Studios to the south along Gower Street.

Western films at both studios were extremely popular, especially from the 1930s through the 1950s, and actual working cowboys would come to Hollywood hoping to find work in the movies. They would congregate at that particular street corner, which is how it acquired its nickname.[1] The Columbia Drug Store, which stood on the southeast corner for several decades, was a hangout for many western film extras in hopes of finding work, knowing the casting agents from the studio could reach them there.[2] John Wayne, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers all got their start in this neighborhood, as did director John Ford.[citation needed] Columbia Studios was filming western films about every ten days for a time. The cowboy extras stood at the corner already dressed in their Stetson hats, boots, and bandannas, ready for saloon scenes, as cattle rustlers, or as members of a posse. The pay was about $5 a day or $10 for a minor speaking role.[citation needed]

Charlie Chaplin made some of his first movies in this area.[citation needed]

In February 1940, actor Jerome Bonaparte "Blackjack" Ward became involved in a homicide on Sunset Boulevard at Gower Gulch, near Columbia Pictures studios when he shot and killed stuntman and background actor Johnny Tyke.[3][4]

A strip mall, Gower Gulch Plaza,[5][6] "paying homage to the past" and designed in the style of an Old West backlot was built in 1976 on the southwest corner of Sunset and Gower.[1] The name "Gower Gulch" is painted on the side of a vintage western medicine show wagon. The strip mall remains unchanged as of 2014 and has been described as "Old West kitsch".[7]

In pop culture


  1. ^ a b Alleman, Richard (2005). Hollywood: The Movie Lover's Guide: The Ultimate Insider Tour of Movie L.A. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 9780767916356., p. 76
  2. ^ Cary, Diana Serra (1996). The Hollywood Posse: The Story of a Gallant Band of Horsemen Who Made Movie History. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2835-6.
  3. ^ "Movie Cowboy Kills Another In Real Fight". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. February 24, 1940. p. 3. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  4. ^ Roland, Zelda (2016-06-03). "How a Cowboy Standoff Gave Hollywood's Gower Gulch Its Name". KCET. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  5. ^ Nichols, Chris (12 September 2018). "What's With the Old West Theme at Gower Gulch Shopping Center?". Los Angeles Magazine. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  6. ^ "The Hollywood Hub for Silent Film Cowboys". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  7. ^ Broverman, Neal (July 6, 2012). "Downtown San Dimas Losing Its Cheesy Old West Motif". Curbed LA.

34°05′53″N 118°19′19″W / 34.098°N 118.322°W / 34.098; -118.322