Sunday, November 10, 2013

Carrillo Ranch- Carlsbad, California

Today John and I got to know the man behind the character of Pancho in the 1950s television series The Cisco Kid, which starred Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo.  Carrillo played the role as Cisco’s sidekick, Pancho.  Pancho was kind to everyone; dogs, cats or kids- anyone in distress.  While rescuing that person or animal he usually got his partner into trouble.  That was the gist of the series as I recall them- the characters  being a bit like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza who fought the windmills of mankind's woes.  An interesting side note here, which we learned while touring Carrillo’s ranch, is that the tale of The Cisco Kid came from O.Henry’s short story "The Caballero’s Way".  Carrillo acted as Pancho in 1950 at the age of 70 years.  At that time of his life Leo Carrillo had been on Broadway and in 90 films.
In 1937 Leo Carrillo and his wife Edith (Deedie) wanted a retreat away from Hollywood, and he wanted that home to reflect his Californian history. Carrillo came from a long line of prominent, wealthy Spanish- Americans, a descendant of one of the twelve original families of San Diego.  He found the land he wanted in Carlsbad, and on that land he constructed many farm and ranch structures.  By 1940 he had cattle herds and horses.  He was also growing crops of citrus, avocados, beans, corn and hay.  His hacienda is L-shaped, with the main wing having a living room, dining room and a large commercial-style kitchen.  In the other wing is two bedrooms.  He had only one guestroom where his friends from Hollywood (as Clark Gable, Will Rogers, Carol Lombard, Walt Disney) would stay.  As he had only one guest room, many of his friends came in their Airstream trailers and parked them on the ranch grounds.  On the entry way threshold of Carrillo’s home is carved the words “SUCASAMIGO".  Carrillo threw lavish parties and not only wanted his guest to have fun, but to also experience the life of a vaquero, or cowboy. For that purpose he had his guests assist him with branding his cattle and calf roping.  Pictured below is the pool and cabana.  Around the deck chairs is white sand- apparently Carrillo wanted his guests to also have the beach experience!
Another feature of the ranch is Carrillo's man cave in the barn and stable complex, which we found quite interesting.  Also on our tour we saw the small building which Carrillo constructed for his wife to pursue her artistic talents.  It was known that she was at times shy and reclusive and would escape to her hideway.  
On the side of this building there are restored pictographs etched by Carrillo.  Before he got into acting he worked for the San Francisco Examiner as a cartoon artist.  He was a poet and lyricist for California's official centennial song,as well as an influential environmentalist and conservationist for the state.   My next posting will spot-light some of the plants and animals we saw on our tour.  I had not expected the tour of the ranch to be as interesting as it turned out to be! 

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