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Oildale

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

This story is part of a series called In Recovery, about opioid addiction and treatment in the San Joaquin Valley. It was reported with the support of a 2018 Data Fellowship from the USC Center For Health Journalism.

David Mueller and Lynn Salt

Four years after the Hollywood blockbuster McFarland, USA, another film is featuring a small town in Kern County. This time it’s right outside Bakersfield in the unincorporated community of Oildale.

The movie’s a fictional family drama, but the filmmakers say it pays tribute to the community’s musical heritage and its compassion – especially to its veterans. It was filmed on location in Oildale, Bakersfield National Cemetery in Arvin, and other parts of Kern County.

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For decades Trout's Nightclub has been a fixture in the Oildale neighborhood of Bakersfield. It was the musical home of people like the late Red Simpson and others who helped make the "Bakersfield Sound" incredibly popular among country music fans in the decades following World War II.  The venue was also considered one of the city's last original honky-tonk clubs. But earlier this spring the bar closed, and doesn't show any signs of reopening soon.

Vanguard Records

Acclaimed author Gerald Haslam grew up in the blue-collar Kern County community of Oildale in the 1940's, a child of the Dust Bowl migration to California. He went to school with another boy with a similar background, a child named Merle Haggard.