By Ken Brafman, Image from Tom Core Collection
TITLE: MOUNTAIN MOVIES: KISSIN’ COUSINS: One of the many movies which used Cedar Lake as a shooting location is Kissin’ Cousins, an Elvis Presley film. Production started in October 1963 and the premiere followed in March 1964. All shooting was completed on location in late 1963 in the greater Big Bear and Cedar Lake area. The plot of Kissin’ Cousins is rather ludicrous, casting Elvis in a dual role as an army lieutenant trying to convince his hick cousin (Elvis in a blonde wig) to allow a missile base to be built on the family land. Yvonne Craig, of Batgirl fame, along with Cynthia Pepper play the two female leads and love interests. In his book More Magnificent Mountain Movies Lee Cozad refers to an interview Miss Pepper gave in 2004. She admitted to having a slight crush on Elvis, telling the director after several of their kissing scenes that she didn’t think it was quite right, and there ought to be a re-take. This week’s image shows the crew for Kissin’ Cousins preparing to shoot a scene. The mill house is well weathered from when it was built close to 30 years earlier for the set of The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. Just west of Big Bear, Cedar Lake started out as grazing land in the 1890’s. In 1922 the parcel was sold to the Bartlett brothers, who tried to develop and subdivide the land. In an effort to improve the value a dam was built in 1929, creating the three-and-a-half-acre lake. The family eventually decided to promote the area as a tourist attraction, charging a 25-cent admission to enter the property. Then in the 1930’s Hollywood discovered Cedar Lake, and in the coming decades most major studios have made good use of its beauty and character. By Ken Brafman, Image from Tom Core Collection.