Canyon of Dreams

The West Portal of Bronson Cave served as the entrance to the Batcave in the Batman television series (1966-69).

If you dig it, they will come.

In the early 1900s, the Union Rock Company excavated a tunnel through the base of a mountain in what was then called Brush Canyon. Their intent was to extract rock to pave the streets of LA.

What they left behind was something more enduring.

Over the years, the tunnel’s three openings have been featured in countless films and television shows, in which they have served as everything from the Batcave (the Batman TV series) to the cavern of a prehistoric planet (King Dinosaur) to the hideout where Tonto first meets the man who becomes the “resourceful masked rider of the plains” (Episode 1 of The Lone Ranger).

As a kid raised on superheroes, sci-fi, and Westerns, hardly a week went by when the miracle of television didn’t transport me to the old quarry tunnel and the surrounding canyon. Occasionally, I even glimpsed the Hollywood sign on nearby Mount Lee. (I recall seeing it slide accidentally into frame in at least one hastily filmed monster movie, possibly Robot Monster.)

The Hollywood Sign from Bronson Canyon.

The place is now called Bronson Canyon, and the tunnel’s three entrances–which resemble natural formations–have been dubbed Bronson Caves. But whatever you call them, for me they are the stuff of dreams.

So this week, with development on a couple of film projects bringing me back to LA, I’ve finally managed to find time to visit the storied location.

The place is smaller than I imagined, and the caves are covered with steel grates and signs warning of falling rocks. No matter. The magic is still there.

Standing in the shadow of the East Portal, I can almost hear the roar of the Batmobile.

Scopman in the Canyon of Dreams.

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Latest Comments:

  1. The cinematography alone draws me in. Thanks for the heads-up on this one, Larry. And best of luck as your…