In 1923, pioneer filmmaker Cecil. B. DeMille built the largest set in movie history in the dunes near Guadalupe, CA, for his silent (and early Technicolor) epic, The Ten Commandments. It was called “The City of the Pharaoh.” After filming was complete, DeMille ordered that the entire set be dismantled… and secretly buried in the dunes. And there it lay, forgotten, for the next 60 years and it still sits there, buried in the sand, known as the “Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille.”
In 1983, a group of determined film buffs–inspired by a cryptic clue in DeMille’s posthumously published Autobiography–located the remains of the set.
At the Dunes Center, in Guadalupe, CA, we have a unique and fascinating exhibit featuring a variety of artifacts from the both the set and the people who were working on the production. We feature a short film on the recovery effort of the set, the people involved in that process and have information, including a booklet focused on the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes film history.
This exhibit is one of the things that makes the Dunes Center a unique visitor experience and staff and volunteers are passionate about sharing their knowledge and insight into the natural and cultural history of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex.