Jun 18, 2013 6:11 PM by April Hansen, KSBY News

Archaeologists continue to dig up movie history on the Central Coast

Archaeologists continue to dig up decades of movie history under Central Coast sand dunes.

In its latest excavation, the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center unveiled its latest artifacts from the Lost City of DeMille from Cecil B. DeMille's 1923 film The Ten Commandments.

It's the only surviving movie set from that era.

We went to that community and found out how these unearthed artifacts are preserving Guadalupe's mark in cinema history.

"If you go out there now you'll see the knole. The little chunks of stuff," said John Perry, Guadalupe resident and owner of JP's Auto Parts.

When out of town visitors stop in at JP's Auto Parts in Guadalupe, they want to talk to owner John Perry because rumor has it, he knows where ‘it' is buried.

"People will go out there thinking they'll see a hand sticking up, a paw or a head," said Perry. "They ask me where is The Lost City? And I said we don't know that is why it's called The Lost City and they say oh you know where it is," said Perry.

Underneath the oil cans and socket wrenches, Perry dusts off a piece of cinema history.

He has several of these plaster remnants from the set of Cecille B. DeMille's epic movie The Ten Commandments.

More than 90 years of movie making history took place at the dunes, from Pirates of the Caribbean II to G.I. Jane, but it was the movie The Ten Commandments that made the dunes popular with movie buffs.

Not the movie itself, but what's buried underneath the sand.

Doug Jenzen is the Executive Director for the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center. "Typically when you think of archaeology you think of classical archaeology like Greece and Egypt," said Jenzen.

He says no one knows for sure why DeMille buried his set.

"He ran out of money and didn't want to haul all the materials of this massive movie set back to Los Angeles. The second theory is he buried it because he didn't want anyone else to get a hold of it," said Jenzen.

Jenzen says Santa Barbara County has no records of it, but driving through the dunes you can see what's left.

"The set was 720 feet wide and 100 feet tall and that was just the back drop," said Jenzen.

But archeologists have interest in more than just the set.

"5,000 people lived in the sand dunes while the movie was being filmed, so they brought with them all the items they needed for a daily basis," said Jenzen.

Like makeup compacts, gaffer gloves and film canisters.

As archeologists continue to uncover Hollywood's footprint on the Central Coast, John Perry hopes the history of the lights and camera will bring lots of action.

"It will be a good shot in the arm of Guadalupe," said Perry.

Artifacts from DeMille's Ten Commandment's movie set are on display at the Dunes Center in Guadalupe.




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