In 1916, a log-cabin-style roadhouse was built 2401 Laurel Canyon Boulevard that featured a bowling alley in the basement. The tavern later became a private retreat when purchased by Tom Mix, the former rodeo rider turned matinee idol then on his way to earning $17,000 per week prior to the federal income tax. Mix lived there briefly before moving to a seven-acre Beverly Hills compound with front gates emblazoned “T-M” in flowing neon. Mix’s journey from Laurel Canyon log cabin (his “wonder horse,” Tony, was supposedly buried beneath the bowling alley) to Beverly Hills pleasure dome would uncannily foreshadow the diaspora of a later generation of Laurel Canyon pop culturists struck by sudden, thunderous wealth. The log cabin inspired the building of a large mansion across the street. This sprawling gothic estate on willow glenn road came equipped with towers resembling castles in medieval Europe and hosted an underground labyrinth full of hidden chambers and secret passageways.
Underground tunnels both man-made and natural can be found all throughout the Laurel Canyon landscape. One of the best movies filmed in Laurel Canyon, Wavelength, drops hints about where to look when confronted with the Canyon conspiracy. Released in 1983 this forgotten gem stars the former ‘Runaways’ singer Cherie Currie and Robert Carradine. Cherie, herself an early victim of mind control and drug abuse in Hollywood was burnt out by the time she was 19. After taking time off music to address her drug problems, she pulled herself together long enough to follow in her mothers footsteps. Branching out as an actress, Currie, a true Californian beauty could have been a major star if she could ever kick her drug habit. She never did, but she left us a great, albeit spooky performance in Wavelength. In one of her rare leading roles she plays the psychic girlfriend of a loser musician. In a role that on the surface should have went to anyone other than Robert Carradine, our ‘down on his luck hero’ and his smoking hot girlfriend go poking around in the Laurel Canyon caverns in search of a profound mystery.
Carradine was great in Revenge of the Nerds but is way too nerdy for us to believe that he is actually a cool rock singer, or that he could have snatched up Currie after spewing a few lame lines at a bar. But in fairness to Carradine it’s worth noting that he did his own guitar playing and even wrote one of the film’s songs. Unfortunately on the soundtrack composed by Tangerine Dream, he was shown no love. The role wasn’t that much of a stretch for Robert, who grew up in Laurel Canyon playing music as a teenager with his older brother David. David Carradine would go on to international movie star status and even helped his younger brother Robert get roles. One of Robert’s first breaks was a small role in Martin Scorsese’s classic Mean Streets. David Carradine found some mean streets of his own, meeting a fate closely associated with luminaries from Laurel Canyon, a ritualistic death. Only this one took place in a sweltering Bangkok hotel room. David Carradine was found dead, hung in compromising sexual situations fit for instant Internet conspiracy blog fodder. But decades before in Laurel Canyon, David taught his younger brother Robert the craft of acting and how to race sports cars throughout the vast serpentine stretches of the Hollywood hills. So for Robert Carradine a chance to basically play what he wished himself to be wasn’t too far removed from his once daily teenage existence in the Canyon. Back to the film…
After falling asleep to Carradine’s acoustic guitar solo, Currie awakes to the dog’s growling and some other unexplained noises. She gets out of bed and puts her robe on (The Director blows what could have been a great nude shot) and walks outside on the deck. When Carradine awakes they have a conversation about the noises she’s been hearing. Currie believes that she is receiving signals in her mind from somewhere. During a walk they discover an abandoned military base. She tries to convince her boyfriend Carradine that the base isn’t really abandoned and that something weird is going on there. What the film is actually doing is hipping us to the reality of the science and art of mind control, which is the ability to send signals and manipulate an individuals thinking and reactions. Throughout the film, Wavelength discloses that the advancements made in this secret science program were being conducted from a military base deep in Laurel Canyon. Could this be true? In later chapters we’ll discuss at length the Military operation MK-ULTRA and the art of mind control in connection with Laurel Canyon’s secret military base.
But getting back to the movie, which really gets interesting after Currie and Carradine climb down a hillside during sunset on their way to meet a bummy old prospector. The ornery old timer is ticked they brought him whiskey instead of water and when asked if he’s seen anything unusual, sarcastically he replies while pointing, “well there is Beverly hills, there are the Hollywood hills, and right down at the bottom of this hill…is Sunset Boulevard. Have I seen anything unusual?” with a coy smirk he gets the point across. A little while later while chatting with the curious couple beside a campground fire, he discloses some actual facts about Laurel Canyon. When asked about the secret military base he explains pretty accurately the birth of Lookout Mountain, even though it’s told from the point of view of an obvious fictional character. What he says is interesting and mostly correct, especially on the subject of the vast underground tunnel systems that have been reported to exist in the Laurel Canyon topography. After Carradine asks, “how long has that military installation been around?” the old man answers, “1942, after Pearl Harbor. That was the headquarters of Western defense.” Currie joins in the on the conversation by asking, “why did they put it up there? I mean up on the Canyon.” The old man explains, “in 1942 we didn’t know how to kill ourselves with atomic radiation. If you wanted to drop a bomb on that building, you had to have a heading to the south. It had to land right in the middle of the building to do any damage at all. The walls are five to six feet thick and go underground five or six stories…nobody knows it’s there and nobody bothered to look. Could you imagine looking for a military base in the middle of the Hollywood hills?” a lot of hidden truth in a movie from 1983 that no one has seen. When Carridine asks, “How come you know so much about this place?” the prospector replies, “I helped build it…we dug out the whole inside of that mountain. We had tunnels going that way and the other way.” Eventually Currie and Carradine go into the tunnels and confront more conspiracy theories suitable for a different book.
The point is that the Canyon is littered with tunnels and caverns man made and natural, an added real estate bonus discovered when the elite began buying up homes all over the Hollywood hills. With the creation of exclusive communities such as “Bungalow Land” and “Wonderland Park” as ideal alternatives to the crowded lots of the East, rich men came in droves to settle the vast Canyon lands. As it became evident to what type of crowd was wanted in Laurel Canyon (The Whiter the better), more massive exotic homes were being built and sold. With these homes came the horror.