Gower Gulch is a nickname for the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.
Advertisement for the Gower tract, 1905
Since the days of silent film, the surrounding area had contained several movie studios, including the Christie Studios (on the northwest corner) during the 1920s, then later, Columbia and Republic Studios to the south along Gower Street. Western films at both studios were extremely popular, especially from the 1930s through the 1950s, and actual working cowboys would come to Hollywood hoping to find work in the movies. They would congregate at that particular street corner, which is how it acquired its nickname. The Columbia Drug Store, which stood on the southeast corner for several decades, was a hangout for many western film extras in hopes of finding work, knowing the casting agents from the studio could reach them there. Indeed, John Wayne, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers all got their start in this neighborhood, as did director John Ford. Columbia Studios was filming western films about every ten days for a time. The cowboy extras stood at the corner already dressed in their Stetson hats, boots, and bandannas, ready for saloon scenes, as cattle rustlers, or as members of a posse. The pay was about $5 a day or $10 for a minor speaking role.
Charlie Chaplin made some of his first movies in this area
A strip mall "paying homage to the past" and designed in the style of an Old West backlot was built in 1976 on the southwest corner of Sunset and Gower. The name "Gower Gulch" is painted on the side of a vintage western medicine show wagon. The strip mall remains unchanged as of 2014 and has been described as "Old West kitsch"