California Cities


Viva Idyllwild, CA, An Elvis Movie Location

Who needs the desert when you can have the mountains? Idyllwild in San Jacinto mountains sits above the popular Coachella Valley on the edge of the Sonoran Desert where most know about and have likely visited Palm Desert and Palm Springs. Idyllwild, however, is slightly off the beaten path in Riverside County, California, and many have never heard of, much less visited this mountain resort. Kind of tucked away with access to the mountain town available through Hemet, the tourist destination sits at over 5,000 feet elevation, where it gets some snow in the winter, and has that distinct mountain look and feel with its towering pine trees.

There's a movie theater, an approx. one to two block shopping area with a couple restaurants, markets and gas stations, and scattered among mountain roads are approx. 18 Bed & Breakfast inns. Primarily a weekend and holiday escape, hotel proprietors sometimes wish they had more customers of those customers that visit Palm Desert just down the hill from the resort. Hollywood's elite used to know about Idyllwild and frequent it.

The popular Elvis Presley-Charles Bronson musical movie, Kid Galahad, was filmed in Idyllwild before its 1962 release. You can visit the Idyllwild Area Historical Museum to see movie posters and memorabilia from Presley's Kid Galahad movie. The museum is open weekends throughout the year and is located at 54470 North Circle Dr. (

Under the watchful eye of Lily Rock's granite spire, Idyllwild is steeped in a rich history of tradition and lore.

Idyllwild is a mountain resort that has long served as a getaway for the Los Angeles crowd, both rich & famous, and not. Located on one side of the mountain that Palm Springs and Palm Desert overlooks, the two places are nearly worlds apart in their climates.

When you want to get away to a mountain resort where the hiking is great and the atmosphere relaxed, be sure to visit Idyllwild, a Southern California favorite just an hour and a half outside L.A.

Where to stay: There are 18 bed & breakfast inns and accommodations in Idyllwild. I am picky, I confess. And that said, the Rainbow Inn was absolutely perfect. The rooms were spotless, the management nice but non-prying and you feel like you're in a comfortable home. The Swan Room where I slept has a great bed, and the artwork includes Rembrandt, Salvador Dali and Peter Max...very unique!

Filmed in Idyllwild (and surrounding area)

Kid Galahad
The Wrecking Crew
Kotch with Walter Matthau Peter Fonda's "
The Wild Angels - Peter Fonda
Modern Romance - Albert Brooks
The Squaw Man - Cecil B. DeMille
Air Wolf
Guns and Guitars
Heading for the Rio Grande
Springtime in the Rockies
Brothers in the Saddle
Riders of the Range
Storm over Wyoming

Actors and actresses who have owned homes in Idyllwild area: Lucille Ball, Michael J. Fox, Dolly Parton, Sean Connery, Barbara Hershey, Doris Day, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lancaster, Marjorie Main, Sharon Lawrence, Conor O'Farrell, Herb Jeffries, best-selling author Raymond Chandler, and many more.

Hollywood's inside knowledge of Idyllwild continues today with the popular Idyllwild Arts Academy and Summer Program that trains young up & coming actors and actresses with intensive acting camps and classes (

Famed talents that have taught in Idyllwild:

Meredith Wilson, actor (taught at school)

The Music Man, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Shows -- Jay Leno, Ed Sullivan, Perry Como, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Fame, Radio Days, The Facts of LIfe, Here's Looking at You Warner Bros, Parker Lewis, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Lipstick on Your Collar, Nurses, The Beatles: First U.S. Visit, Miracle on 34th Street, The Wedding Singer, The Polar Express, Family Guy, Four Christmases, Sex and The City, The Simpsons, Being Erica, Conan

Twyla Tharp, Mark Wilke, Herbert Zipper, Marguerite N. Clapp

The majority of students matriculate to a broad variety of programs including Juilliard, The Boston Conservatory, University of Michigan, San Francisco Art Institute, Curtis Institute, New England Conservatory, Rhode Island School of Design, Eastman, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama,University of Southern California, New York University (Tisch), CalArts and Stanford University.

Actors and actresses who have attended Idyllwild Arts Academy:

Scarlett Johansson, Actress

Credits include: Under the Skin, The Avengers, We Bought a Zoo, Iron Man 2, Saturday Night Live, He's Just Not That Into You, The Spirit, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Nanny Diaries, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Lost in Translation, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, A Good Woman, The Perfect Score, Match Point, The Island, Scoop, The Black Dahlia, The Prestige, The Nanny Diaries, Mary Queen of Scots, The Other Boleyn Girl, Brilliant, Napoleon and Betsy, Amazon, Ghost World, The Man Who Wasn't There, The Horse Whisperer, Home Alone 3, Fall, Just Cause, North

Julia Roberts, Actress

Pretty Woman, Steel Magnolias, Erin Brockovich, Runaway Bride, Larry Crowne, Love Wedding Marriage, Eat Pray Love, Valentine's Day, Duplicity, Fireflies in the Garden, Charlie Wilson's War, Charlotte's Web, The Ant Bully, Ocean's Twelve, Closer, Mona Lisa, Mystic Pizza, Flatliners, Sleeping with the Enemy, Miami Vice, Crime Story, Dying Young, Hook, Pelican Brief, Something to Talk About, Friends, Michael Collins, Everyone Says I Love You, My Best Friend's Wedding, Conspiracy Theory, Stepmom, Notting Hill, Law & Order, The Mexican, Grand Champion, Confesssions of a Dangerous Mind, Full Frontal, Mona Lisa Smile

Keri Russell, Actress

Felicity, Austenland, Goats, Running Wilde, Extraordinary Measures, Leaves of Grass, Wonder Woman, Bedtime Stories August Rush, The Girl in the Park Mission Impossible III, Malibu Shores, Malibu Mambo, Roar, Seventh Heaven, Into the West, Waitress, August Rush, Rohtenburg, The Magic of Ordinary Days, The Upside of Anger, We Were Soldiers, Cinderelmo, Married with Children, When Innocence is Lost, Eight Days a Week, Boy Meets World, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, Daddy's Girl, Emerald Cove

Chris Evans, Actor

Boston Public, Opposite Sex, The Fugitive, Eastwick, Fantastic Four, The Nanny Diaries, Seattle, Battle in Seattle, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Newcomers, The Paper Boy, The Perfect Score, Cellular, The Orphan King, Fierce People, Not Another Teen Movie

Robert Hoffman, Actor

Grace, Take Me Home Tonight, The Legend of Neil, Burning Palms, BoyBand, Aliens in the Attic, Greek, The Jace Hall Show, Step Up 2: The Streets, The Onion Movie, Bag Boy, Revenge, Shrooms, Vanished, She's the Man, Guess Who, Coach Carter, Quintuplets, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, You Got Served, Pirates of the Caribbean, American Dreams, From Justin to Kelly

Ryan Carnes: Actor

Blackout, Desperate Housewives, Blackout, NCIS, Stupid Questions, Bones, Class, Anderson's Cross, Suicide Dolls, The Phantom, The Sno Cone Stand Inc,Saving Grace, Leaving Barstow, Trailer Park Terror, Doctor Who, CSI: Miami, Letters from Iwo Jima, General Hospital, Surf School, Thicker Than Water, Eating Out, Grand Union

Chad Michael Murray, Actor

Renee, The Haunting in Georgia, Christmas Cupid, The Carrier, One Tree Hill, Lies in Plain Sight, Home of the Brave, Gilmore Girls Dawson's Creek, CSI, Freaky Friday, The Lone Ranger, Home of The Brave, One Tree Hill, Diagnosis Murder, Undressed, Aftermath, Murphy's Dozen, Megiddo: The Omega Code 2, House of Wax, A Cinderella Story Clive Owen, Actor Pink Panther, The Bourne Identity, Gosford Park, Shoot 'Em Up, Sin City 2, The Golden Age, Children of Men, Derailed, Inside Man, Closer, King Arthur, Beyond Brothers, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, Ticker, Beat the Devil, Hostage, Star, Powder Keg, Ambush, The Follow, Greenfingers, Second Sight, Split Second, The Echo, Bad Boy Blues, Chancer, Bent, The Rich Man's Wife

Mara Wilson, Actress

Mrs. Doubtfire, Melrose Place, A Time to Heal, Miracle on 34th Street, Matilda, Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Batman Beyond, Mind Games, Balloon Farm, A Simple Wish, Pearl

Musicians, composers and singers:

Pianists Van Cliburn, Nelson Freire and Paul Posnak; composers Robert Ashley and John Luther Adams; violinists Joshua Bell, James Ehnes and Hilary Hahn; flutist Richard Adeney; and opera singers Juliana Gondek and Sumi Jo.

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