"Legend Never Dies"™ Blog

Pancho Barnes and Duncan Renaldo (aka: The Cisco Kid)

Born in Romania on April 23, 1904, Duncan Renaldo (birth name Vasile Dumitru Cughieaneas) was orphaned at an early age and never knew his birth parents. He was raised and educated in various European countries and arrived in the United States in 1917 as a stoker on a Brazilian coal ship. After his ship caught fire at the docks in Baltimore, Maryland, he was stranded and overstayed his 90-day seamen’s permit. He moved to New York, where he found a job as a janitor at a film studio. His attention to detail on movie sets earned him a promotion to set designer, and eventually, he began acting in [Read More]

By |2024-05-16T00:09:54+00:00May 13, 2024|Stories|Comments Off on Pancho Barnes and Duncan Renaldo (aka: The Cisco Kid)

Pancho Barnes’ 1951 Ford Country Squire “Woody” Wagon

Originally owned by the legendary aviatrix and entrepreneur, Pancho Barnes, this station wagon automobile originally was used to transport guests between Los Angeles and her Happy Bottom Riding Club dude ranch located in the Mojave Desert, where they were treated to laughter, camaraderie, live music, excellent meals, drinks and adventure.  It was later gifted to one of Pancho’s hostesses as a wedding gift to ensure safe cross-country driving to Connecticut, where the automobile spent many years.  It was well cared for by the hostess and her family, and eventually was sold to a car collector in Southern California. [Read More]

By |2024-05-15T23:51:25+00:00May 10, 2024|Stories|Comments Off on Pancho Barnes’ 1951 Ford Country Squire “Woody” Wagon

Vince Barnett Visits the Happy Bottom Riding Club [Part 1]

Vince Barnett (1902-1977) was an American film actor and comedian who specialized in playing practical jokes on his audiences. He was a licensed pilot since 1921.  His initial involvement in Hollywood was writing screenplays for two-reeler silent movies of the late 1920s. He began appearing in films in 1930, playing hundreds of comedy bits and supporting roles. After World War II Barnett became a familiar face on television.

A master of disguise, Vince Barnett for years was known in Hollywood as a professional ribber, appearing at banquets and parties as a paid practical joker. His most famous prank was to show up at an event as “the worst waiter in the world.”  He would insult the guests in a thick [Read More]

By |2023-05-26T05:00:46+00:00May 26, 2023|Stories|Comments Off on Vince Barnett Visits the Happy Bottom Riding Club [Part 1]

Newlyweds Elizabeth Taylor and Conrad ‘Nicky’ Hilton Visit the Happy Bottom Riding Club

Famous film star Elizabeth Taylor’s first marriage was to Conrad ‘Nicky’ Hilton Jr., who was a businessman, socialite, and heir to the Hilton Hotel fortune. She was just 18 years old at the time of the marriage in October 1949, and he was 24 years old. Her husband liked to have fun and was known for his partying which included drinking and gambling. He had heard stories about the Happy Bottom Riding Club, and about its legendary proprietress Pancho Barnes, from several friends. He wanted to check it out for himself and wanted his new wife to have some fun.

In November 1949, Elizabeth Taylor and her husband Nicky ventured out to visit the famous Happy Bottom Riding Club. This iconic [Read More]

By |2023-05-26T04:59:04+00:00April 12, 2023|Stories|Comments Off on Newlyweds Elizabeth Taylor and Conrad ‘Nicky’ Hilton Visit the Happy Bottom Riding Club

Desert Skies and Hayride Highs: An Unforgettable Night at the Happy Bottom Riding Club

One particularly memorable evening at the Happy Bottom Riding Club, the whole gang was gearing up for another hayride and BBQ out in the desert. This time not only was Chuck Yeager attending, but also Pancho Barnes, her loyal Dalmatian dog Barney, ranch foreman Mac Mckendry as well as the head Hostess of the club, the platinum blonde Dallas Morley. They were all eager to join in on the festivities and spend some quality time together.

By |2023-05-05T00:46:05+00:00April 9, 2023|Stories|Comments Off on Desert Skies and Hayride Highs: An Unforgettable Night at the Happy Bottom Riding Club

Bob Hope Pays a Surprise Visit to Pancho Barnes and her Happy Bottom Riding Club

One early evening in October 1951 in the Mojave Desert, the sun was setting on another long day of filming the movie “Son of Paleface.” The cast and crew were tired, but none more so than the movie star, Bob Hope. The legendary comedian decided to take a drive to unwind and clear his head. As he wiped the sweat from his brow, he remembered a conversation he’d had with his good friend, comedian Milton Berle. Milton had mentioned a place called the Happy Bottom Riding Club, owned by a fascinating woman named Pancho Barnes. Intrigued, Bob decided it was the perfect time to pay Pancho a visit and surprise her. [Read More]

By |2023-04-02T18:31:09+00:00April 2, 2023|Stories|Comments Off on Bob Hope Pays a Surprise Visit to Pancho Barnes and her Happy Bottom Riding Club

Milton Berle Visits the Happy Bottom Riding Club

Milton Berle was a legendary comedian known for his quick wit and outrageous sense of humor. Berle’s “Texico Star Theater” was consistently the top-rated show on TV since debuting in June 1948. Berle’s stature as the mediums first superstar earned him the sobriquet “Mr. Television.” However, because he was also known for doing “anything for a laugh,” he was affectionally referred to as “Uncle Miltie” by his millions of fans.
[Read More]

By |2023-03-03T20:03:58+00:00February 19, 2023|Stories|Comments Off on Milton Berle Visits the Happy Bottom Riding Club

How Did the Happy Bottom Riding Club Get It’s Name?

General Jimmy Doolittle was an accomplished aviator and leader, but he also had a love for horses and horseback riding. Pancho Barnes and General Doolittle had been friends for many years and Doolittle was a frequent visitor to her ranch. One day, in the early 1940s, he visited his old friend Pancho Barnes at her ranch in the Mojave Desert for a horseback ride. [Read More]

By |2023-02-19T23:58:46+00:00February 18, 2023|Stories|Comments Off on How Did the Happy Bottom Riding Club Get It’s Name?

Steak alá Hurrell at the Happy Bottom Riding Club

George Hurrell was internationally known for his talent as a photographer, but little known was the fact that he also had a talent and passion for cooking. In between his work assignments George would often visit the Happy Bottom Riding Club to relax and catch up with his old friend, Pancho Barnes. [Read More]

By |2023-02-19T23:56:03+00:00February 17, 2023|Stories|Comments Off on Steak alá Hurrell at the Happy Bottom Riding Club
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