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"In Hollywood's Backyard" for Library Distribution

Topanga Canyon, just as beautiful as then!

"In Hollywood's Backyard"

A Documentary Film by Sasha and Anne Christine Von Wetter  52 minutes

During the early 1970s, Topanga Canyon, nestled in the California mountains just behind Malibu, became a hippie Mecca and home for many of Hollywood’s top musical performers. These musicians and their artist friends blended in naturally with the latter day hippies and long-time eccentrics that made up this laid-back community a 'stoners' throw from Los Angeles.

Topanga was unique, a wilderness paradise that attracted the off-beat and the anti-establishment. Though individualistic, they always came together for their community, rallying, through a remarkable music scene and a multitude of historic art “happenings, personal aid for victims of the frequent wildfires, floods, and earthquake that ravaged the canyon. 

Music Star Billy Preston loved Topanga in the 70's.

Filmmakers Sasha and Anne-Christine VonWetter , who had come from France to settle in Topanga, filmed it all for German Television, and succeeded in creating a revealing a close-up look of an extraordinary period in America. The original film has recently been re-mastered.

Bob Hite of Canned heat gave one of his last performances and interviews for this film before his untimely death.

This is the inside story of an iconoclast culture, filled with impromptu and staged musical performances by noted Topanga residents Bob Hite, Canned Heat, Billy Preston, Lowell George, Fred Tackett, Ramblin Jack Elliott, Spanky McFarlane, Gary Farr and others. The late Herta Ware Geer, former wife of actor Will Geer reminisces about the singular Topanga lifestyle, as Billy Preston rides through the canyon in his beloved cowboy garb.

British Music Star Gary Farr loved Topanga too!

While Preston recorded with the Beatles, Lowell George (Little Feat, Mothers of Invention)  worked independently, Spanky McFarlane (Spanky and Our Gang) was a busy homemaker, Ramblin' Jack Elliott (Woody Guthrie student and Bob Dylan band member), was still performing. Fred Tackett had finished up with The Band, and Russ Tamblyn ('West Side Story', 'Twin Peaks') was wrapping up a spectacular acting career. All in '70s Topanga. All perform in this film. 

Living the California Dream in Topanga.....Lowell George, Rus Tamblyn, Billy Preston wiht the Beatles, Spanky McFarlan, Fred Tackett of "Little Feat".

Gary came to find his fortune in America.

 Most of the artists are gone. The late Gary Farr of the popular British band 'Gary and the T-Bones' arrived in America looking for stardom, only to find a carpenter’s life. Yet he played on in the canyon. Ramblin' Jack Elliott is the recent subject of a brilliant Bob Dylan documentary. Those that made it, and those that failed despite their talent are remembered and filmed as they came together… “In Hollywood’s Backyard”.

Will Geer and the Family Band. Herta Ware Geer performs and tells us about "Old Topanga" in this film.

In Hollywood's Backyard...'70s Topanga from sarasotafringefilms on Vimeo.

This Film is licensed for Academic Library, Classroom Screenings, and Closed Digital Streaming

Academic Purchase “In Hollywood’s Backyard”  $250 (includes classroom screening and closed-campus streaming)