"Los Angeles is surrounded by valleys, but there's only one Valley..."
Hush Money, by Peter Israel
After his service in World War II, director John Ford wished to honor thirteen colleagues who did not return from overseas service in the Naval Field Photographic Reserve. The unit, which Ford commanded, was made up mostly of cinematographers, actors and writers such as Garson Kanin and Budd Schulberg who traveled the world chronicling the war on film. Many others, including Ford’s good friend John Wayne, tried to get in but were turned away.
Ford raised the money to purchase a twenty-acre ranch at 18201 Calvert Street in Reseda for the use of Field Photo veterans and their families. Field Photo Memorial Farm and its bar, the Starboard Club, became their private postwar drinking hole and a center of Valleywood socializing around the pool and horse barn.
Christmas parties at the farm were famous. A stagecoach might rattle up the long driveway with Jimmy Stewart up top playing "Jingle Bells" on the accordion and accompanied by a Santa played by Burl Ives, Andy Devine or another large-bodied actor. But the farm had a more somber side.
Each Memorial Day, members dressed in their old Navy uniforms, stood in formation and recited the names of the fallen, muttering after each name, "died for his country." When actor Harry Carey died in 1947, his body lay in state in the farm chapel for two days, with an honor guard and his horse Sunny hitched outside.
Before long, however, some members tired of the club and Ford’s insistence on certain rituals, which actor Robert Parrish complained was like an "all-male extension of the Navy." The farm fell into disuse and closed in 1965. The site is now a housing tract.