Madera County has, from time to time, drawn several movie stars out of Hollywood to its hill country. Henry Fonda, John Candy and Dan Akroyd are just a few that come to mind from the past few years. They sought out Madera County to make movies and then returned to Southern California.
There was, however, at least one Hollywood celebrity who came here, not to make a movie, but to satisfy a thirst “to go out and find a piece of land in the country, then build it into the kind of place,” he wanted it to be. His name was Barton MacLane.
My clearest memory of Barton MacLane comes from his television role of General Martin Peterson in “I Dream of Jeannie,” but he had a long acting career that spanned four decades and included more than 50 movies and 20 television shows.
A few of MacLane’s film credits include “The Maltese Falcon,” “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” and “The Glenn Miller Story.”...