The Claycord Online Museum – Filmed in Claycord, “The Wild Ride” with Jack Nicholson

December 24, 2013 14:00 pm · 23 comments

pioneer pioneer2 pioneer3 pioneer4

In 1959, Jack Nicholson filed a movie called “The Wild Ride” in parts of Clayton, Concord, Martinez, Walnut Creek & Pleasant Hill.

Check out the screenshots from the film (above) for some very recognizable views from around Contra Costa County in 1959!

Also, you can watch a 9-minute clip from the movie, which is also located above, just under the pictures.

Thanks to Lisa for the screenshots and thanks to “J” for the video!

ABOUT THE CLAYCORD ONLINE MUSEUM: The Claycord Online Museum is made up of historical photos, documents & anything else that has to do with the history of our area.

If you have any old photos or items that you’d like to place in the Claycord Online Museum, just scan or take a photo of them, and send them to the following address: It doesn’t matter what it is, even if it’s just an old photo of your house, a scan of an old advertisement or an artifact that you’d like us to see, send it in and we’ll put it online!

Click on the tag below titled “Claycord Online Museum” to view other items!


1 VikingPrincess December 24, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Excellent choice of material for the museum. Jack looks great.

2 Skyscraper December 24, 2013 at 2:22 PM

The two Pioneer Inn pictures are self explanatory. The picture with the Dana Estates billboard is the intersection of Concord Boulevard & Landana Drive, with the car pointed towards downtown Concord. The profile shot of Jack was taken as he drove on Concord Boulevard between Denkinger and West Street with the camera pointed across the Forest Park/El Dorado fields towards Clayton Road.

3 December 24, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Happy you like it, Viking Princess!! :)

4 December 24, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Skyscraper, thanks for the info on the other two pictures!

5 Skyscraper December 24, 2013 at 2:50 PM

My pleasure, Mr. Mayor.

6 4th. Generation Contra Costan December 24, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Perhaps the race track is the old Pacheco Speedway?

7 nytemuvr December 24, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Is the race track the old one on the east side on top of Hwy. 4 or Pacheco Speedway? I think it’s the old one on top of Hwy. 4.

8 Skyscraper December 24, 2013 at 3:28 PM

The racetrack is indeed the Contra Costa Speedway in Pacheco. When you view the movie you can see the “Contra Costa Speedway” sign on the wall and hear aircraft from Buchanan Field in the background noise.

9 Jojo Potato December 24, 2013 at 3:53 PM

We dig it man!

10 Skyscraper December 24, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Another interesting fact about this movie is that the director was Harvey Berman, long time theater arts instructor at DVC. Extras in the movie appear to be local students, most likely in his class at the time.

11 Fritzhugh Ludlow December 24, 2013 at 4:56 PM

The fight scene at the beach party was filmed on Sherman Island at Sonnova Beach.

12 Chris Kapsalis December 24, 2013 at 5:10 PM

MAN! The good old days. I could write a book on Clayton back in the day. So many stories. Good memories. and some I would like to forget, but hey. Does anyone remember Cherry Canyon and riding motorcycles up there? Just wondering. We moved to Concord, right on the border of Clayton in 1975. In fact my back yard was clayton just about. We should name drop, because I bet some of us could remember each other from way back. Or maybe not. lol.. No but riding to Clayton on our bikes was one of the funniest things. And going to Skipilinis and have pizza with mile high cheese. The general store. The dirt road all the way out to black diamond mines!!!! wow.. Things have changed out there… OK, better stop, like I said, I could go on and on….. Love these pics, thank you…. ( PINE HOLLOW) Class of 79! Highlands elementary!!! Good times….

13 Jojo potato December 24, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Oh, you mean that Jack Nicholson. What a hoot!

14 dinkydau December 25, 2013 at 5:20 AM

I remember going to the Pioneer Inn and eating there with my family. later it was just my mom and I but that’s where I learned the name “Surf & Turf.”
It was owned by John Jawad. The Jawads lived on Second Ave in Walnut Creek and Skip(John Jr.) graduated with me from high school. He also had two sisters and later they both worked at the restaurant.
You had to walk through the bar area to get to the main dining room.
It was a great place.

15 nytemuvr December 25, 2013 at 11:57 AM

@Skyscraper #2
I think the profile pic is pointing towards where Concord High is. If it isn’t that field and you’re right, there was an old Postal Service airport there until the mid-40s I believe. There’s no hills that tall until you get to the west side of the valley, the Lafayette Hills, those hills behind him doesn’t look that far away. In Google Earth I can match the picture perfectly to the east hills. I think the house in front of his face used to be the house with the water tower at the intersection of Denkinger and Concord Blvd. It’s on my Netflix Query now even though I watched it a couple of times long ago, I’m a big Jack fan.

16 Skyscraper December 25, 2013 at 1:35 PM

@nytemuvr #15
I appreciate the comments, but still beg to differ. My analysis comes from watching the video clip of the movie from which the still was taken. This can be seen in the attached link from 3:16 to 3:42. In the beginning of the clip, there are houses visible across the field on the left. These house correlate to the housing development in what I call “the county steets”, Mendocino, Calaveras, Tulare, Modoc, Alpine, etc., a development built out in 1953. A clear view would have been had of these house in 1959 as the housing developments in the Eichler development (Salem, Phoenix, Sacramento), as well as Roland and the Forest Park neighborhood, weren’t contructed until 1960 and later. The ridge you see in the background is the ridge separating Concord Valley from Walnut Creek. The water tank you see in the photo appears a distance away and is most likely on the old airport property as the old hanger still existing there at the time and that is a ground level tank. The water at Concord & Denkenger was on stilts, as least 30 feet high and was close to the road. View the video clip and let me know your thoughts.

17 Gator December 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Is that Pioneer Inn the place that became Friar Tucks in Clayton?

18 nytemuvr December 25, 2013 at 3:20 PM

@Skyscraper #16
I still think it’s the east hills and the houses you see are behind Dana Plaza. I lived on Denkinger next to Clayton Elementary at what used to be the south west corner of the air strip (our orchards in ’66). Wish I could show you on the picture I picked up off Google Earth. I remember the water tower being on stilts, but figured that it was rebuilt from a round tank to a tower after 1960 and was at the southeast corner just off the airstrip property. The cop is sitting off Hwy 4 and from the camera angle you can see the picture of the east hills to the right of it. Concord High wasn’t there until ’67-’68 and that’s the open field you spoke of. Behind his head in the profile shot shows where Hwy 4 were/is. The housing development in ’59 was walnut orchards south of Denkinger. I could be wrong so let’s just agree to disagree. Pretty cool anyway as Jack and Clint Eastwood are my favorite actors. Would love to have the Panhead the cop is on.

19 Skyscraper December 25, 2013 at 4:01 PM

@nytemuvr #18
Yes, we can agree to disagree. No skin off my nose. I would sure like to have that ’57 Ford Sunliner convertible today. What a beautiful car.

20 nytemuvr December 25, 2013 at 5:23 PM

@Skyscraper #19
Here’s some aerial topo maps of Clayton/Concord. Click on “Download
GeoPDF” for 1963 and you’ll see what I trying to say. There were orchards clear over to West St. and down to Wilson. No open fields in ’63 or the earlier ’55 map. Interesting just to peruse the old maps. Type in Clayton in the appropriate box and make sure you click on “Historical”.

21 nytemuvr December 25, 2013 at 5:27 PM

’62, not ’63

22 Skyscraper December 25, 2013 at 6:49 PM

By jove, I think you are right. That string of houses in the background of the footage look more like the houses on Lemonwood Dr. in Dana Estates (built in 1958) to me now than the others I thought they were originally. I guess I was turned around before. See, I do have an open mind. It sure is cool knowing that a movie starring Jack Nicholson was filmed just down the street from where I live.

23 nytemuvr December 25, 2013 at 9:06 PM

#Skyscraper #22
I remember that ground water tank, but not where it was exactly(I was only 6 when the movie was made). Plus you should have been able to see the eucalyptus trees on Clayton Rd. if the camera were looking west. I have the exact shot angle of him driving south on Concord Blvd(right in front of Concord High), for some reason at first I thought he was driving north. We lived right where the “n” is in “Denkinger Rd”. Built our houses there in ’66, moving away from the orchards on Detroit, traffic was getting so bad in town…..funny.
Merry Christmas

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