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When the sound stages and backlots of Hollywood were not enough to tell their stories, movie producers found they could simulate most of the world somewhere in southern California:

Map of scenic substitute locations in California

This map, found on the site Strange Maps, is from 1927:

  • The mountainous areas adjacent to Lake Tahoe in the north have doubled for Siberia, the French Alps and Switzerland.
  • The Sacramento River has stood in for the Mississippi, the southern Bay Area apparently passes for Alaskan river country, while further inland bears a strikingly enough resemblance to New England.
  • The New England coast, meanwhile, is located immediately south of San Francisco, not far from the Nile River valley (appropriately north of Africa, but confusingly close to the Swiss Alps, a bit further inland).

An updated version would have to include the location where the Apollo moon landing was faked. The long shots were probably done at night in Death Valley. On the map, that’s just north of the Kentucky mountains, overlapping with Wyoming cattle country and the Sudanese desert.