Have you ever watched any episodes of Death Valley Days? It was an old radio then television series which told supposedly true stories of the old west. The series started on radio in 1930 and was first broadcast on television in 1952. Death Valley Days continued on television until 1970. The show was hosted by various people including “The Old Ranger” (Stanley Andrews) and Ronald Reagan.
The beginning of the show was filmed using the 20 mule team found in Death Valley. 20 Mule Team Borax sponsored Death Valley Days. Tom and I watched some episodes related to Death Valley when we were working there. You can find most of the episodes on YouTube. You can find 200 of the episodes on this YouTube channel.
Here at Pipe Spring, Tom and I have once again been drawn to Death Valley Days. Three episodes in Season 17 were filmed here at Pipe Spring National Monument. Only one of them tells anything of the story of Pipe Spring. “A Key to the Fort” tells the story about the first telegraph operator at Pipe Spring. About 60% of this particular episode is factual, but you get a little bit of the history of the fort.
Two other episodes tell old west stories using Pipe Spring National Monument as the fictionalized setting. “A Long Night at Fort Lonely” shows an isolated pioneer family facing danger from Indians while they live in the fort. “A Full House” is a humorous look at two soldiers eager to get married.
All three of these episodes play all day long in the museum at Pipe Spring. They are fun to watch because the characters in the shows are using all the things in the fort we tell everyone not to touch. The actors even sleep in the historical beds! If you would like to see how people might have lived at Pipe Spring back in the day, check out these old episodes of Death Valley Days.