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SANTA ANITA TO OFFER FREE WALL CALENDAR DEC. 26, ‘SANTA ANITA ON THE SILVER SCREEN’ IS 2011 THEME
Santa Anita has been a prime location for movie shoots dating back to its opening in 1934, and this beautiful, full-color calendar chronicles 12 movies that have been shot at “The Great Race Place.”
“Our opening day wall calendars are one of our most popular items,” said Candice Chew, Santa Anita’s Director of Print and Graphics. “Opening day and our traditional calendars are synonymous and we are very excited about the theme and look of this year’s edition. From the 1930’s, to the present day, Santa Anita remains a very popular shooting destination for the movie industry—and I think that’s a tribute to the fact that Santa Anita offers a distinct look and represents a timeless beauty that producers and directors have been and will continue to be attracted to.”
In 1935’s “Goin’ to Town,” a black-and-white musical comedy, a sensual Mae West performed four songs. After inheriting wealth, the character she portrayed pursued various activities, which included racing her horses in Buenos Aires, with the Arcadia track cast in the role of “stand-in.”
“Charlie Chan at the Race Track,” filmed in 1936, was one of 16 popular Charlie Chan movies starring Warner Oland, who played the role of a Chinese-American detective. In this picture, Chan, working for the Honolulu Police Department, investigated the death of a friend who was kicked to death by his own racehorse.
Perhaps the most successful early movie that was shot at Santa Anita was “A Day at the Races,” which was filmed in 1937 and featured the Marx Brothers. Maureen O’Sullivan, famous from her work in earlier Tarzan movies, played the heroine whose farm must be saved by the zany threesome of Groucho, Harpo and Chico.
Long before 2003’s blockbuster hit film “Seabiscuit,” Shirley Temple was at Santa Anita to star in 1949’s “The Story of Seabiscuit.” The film also included Barry Fitzgerald, who played trainer Tom Smith, and Lon McAllister, who portrayed jockey Red Pollard. The Technicolor movie included actual black-and-white newsreels of the legendary Seabiscuit.
Very few actors were stronger at the box-office in the 1950s than Bob Hope, who came to Santa Anita to star in 1951’s “Lemon Drop Kid.” In one memorable scene, Hope, in the role of con man, visits Santa Anita’s Jockeys’ Room “hot box.” He then talks a gangster’s girlfriend out of betting on a winner and cooks up a scam to come up with the money.
Another popular film shot in large-part at Santa Anita, was 1983’s “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” which starred Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo. As husband and wife, Chase and D’Angelo drive cross-country in order that their family can visit the fictitious Walley World theme park, which was created in Santa Anita’s expansive main parking lot.
“Seabiscuit,” based on Laura Hillenbrand’s book and release in 2003, generated more box-office revenue than any other film shot at Santa Anita. The cast included Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Gary Stevens and it included dramatic racing footage.
Another film depicted in Santa Anita’s 2011 wall calendar is 2009’s “Public Enemies,” which starred Johnny Depp. In the movie, Santa Anita was substituted for South Florida’s Hialeah Park, and Depp played the role John Dillinger, an infamous bank robber who didn’t hide from authorities as he as he spent an afternoon at the races.
World-renowned producer/director Michael Mann, who worked on “Public Enemies,” is shown in a production photo directing a scene from the Santa Anita walking ring.
First post time on opening day is 12 noon. For more information on opening day and upcoming racing action, go to www.santaanita.com.