Film: "In Hollywood's Back Yard"

"In Hollywood's Backyard" A Documentary Feature 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 Mecca 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 lived, loved and created his music in Topanga in the 70's.

Bob Hite of "Canned Heat" lived and loved playing gigs in Topanga.

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, close-up look at an extraordinary period place and time in America. The original film has recently been re-mastered.


Living the California Dream in Topanga, one day at a time! Lowell George, Russ Tamblyn, Billy Preston with The Beatles, Spanky McFarlan and Fred Tackett all perform in the Film.

This is the inside story of an iconoclast culture, filled with impromptu and staged musical performances by noted Topanga residents Billy Preston, Lowell George, Fred Tackett, Ramblin Jack Elliott, Spanky McFarlane, Bob Hite, 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. Bob Hite and Canned Heat are filmed at one of Bob's last live performances before his untimely death of a heart attack at the age of 38. All in '70s Topanga. All perform in this film.

"Gary and the T-Bones". 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".


PURCHASE "In Hollywood's Back Yard" Consumer Price $50 (plus $5 handling/shipping)