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Thanks to modern times air conditioning, suped-up suspension and childproof locks are all car features many have come to depend on -- and likely, take for granted.

On Sept. 29 the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum, its Parks-Janeway Carriage House, in combination with Harris Stage Lines, gathered at the Chamberlin Ranch in Los Olivos as British ITV (Independent Television) filmed the reenactment of a different time in the history of transport: stage coach travel.

The Historical Museum, located on Sagunto Street in Santa Ynez, is home to dozens of vintage horse-drawn carriages and stage coaches from the 1800s. Overseers were recently contacted by British commercial TV network, ITV, to be featured in a segment of their upcoming television series "David Jason: Plans, Trains & Automobiles." 

Sir David Jason is a British actor best known for his BBC comedy “Only Fools and Horses,” his ITV detective series “A Touch of Frost,” and now this new travel series. Being an avid train buff, a pilot, and a trained mechanic, his reason for taking his show on the road, covering 1,300 miles from Seattle to Los Angeles via the iconic Amtrak Coast Starlight train, is to explore and document the American West, gathering local history and bringing to the surface the marvels of its modern engineering.

“The West Coast of America has seen – and is still witnessing – some of the greatest innovations in transport history. I can’t wait to find out for myself how they do things over there,” said Jason in a recent interview. “It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be entertaining, and I get the feeling I’m going to learn a great deal about this part of the world on my journey, too.”

One of his stops included the Santa Ynez Valley.

Brian Stenfors, executive director of the Museum, said the ITV production team reached out after finding them on the internet; they then arranged for a site visit to sort out the complicated logistics for the shoot, including scouting locations. It was after this visit that they were notified that they had been selected.

Getting the stagecoach to the Chamberlin Ranch became the next obstacle, which proved to be anything but impossible.

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According to Stenfors, Harris Stage Lines had a tractor trailer rig specially designed and equipped to transport the Harris Stagecoach, an authentic reproduction by a Texas company, all of its accessories, four horses, a crew of two, plus the owners (Debbie and Tommy) -- and their beautiful Bernese puppy.

"The Museum has the same reproduction – the Denis Carroll Stagecoach – on display in its Carriage House Collection, but for safety, educational and authentic reenactment purposes we asked the Harris Stage Line to represent and to partner with the Museum in the ITV documentary project," he added. "We are very pleased the Museum, our good friends Tommy and Debbie Harris and the Chamberlin Ranch could collaborate on filming this segment.”

On deck for the day of filming was SYV Historical Museum board member and chair of the Carriage House Advisory Board, and local film producer/director John Copeland. 

Stenfors said the ITV filmed the entire day in the Valley. "They started in the morning at the Museum, and after lunch, they filmed out at the Chamberlin Ranch until 5:45 p.m. It was a very full and rewarding day. The production crew was thrilled with the footage they took."

The segment will be released in England and Europe in the spring of 2019 and later on American PBS. 

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This report was compiled by Lisa André. You can reach her at landre@leecentralcoastnews.com. Follow her on Twitter @LAndréSYVNews  

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