Iverson Gorge, as seen in "Panic in Year Zero" (1962)
One rock feature I began seeing in movies early in my study of the Iverson Movie Ranch came to be known in my research as the Angry Cardinal. It typically appears in overviews of the Iverson Gorge filmed from the camera mount area at Overlook Point, as in the above example from the 1962 Cold War movie "Panic in Year Zero." In this shot looking northeast, Angry Cardinal is seen to the left of center, just below the background hills. I'll highlight it in the next shot.
Sticky Bun in the top right corner, Doglips almost exactly in the center of the frame and Lone Ranger Rock to the right of Doglips. You can learn more about each of these features by clicking on the links in this paragraph, and I'll identify them below to make it easier for you to find them in the photo.
Zorro's Cave, Cagney Rock, Overhang Rock.
"The Vanishing Legion" (1931)
This is probably one of the earliest appearances of the Angry Cardinal on film. The screen shot comes from the 1931 Mascot serial "The Vanishing Legion," and offers almost exactly the same view of the Gorge and Angry Cardinal found more than 30 years later in "Panic in Year Zero," although this 1931 version is not as sharp — and therefore the cardinal may not appear quite as angry.
Closeup of Angry Cardinal from the above "Vanishing Legion" screen shot.
"The Lone Gun" (1954)
A beautiful shot of the Iverson Gorge, in color, can be found in the 1954 George Montgomery Western "The Lone Gun," from United Artists, as seen above. It's taken from an angle that's similar to those used in "Panic in Year Zero" and "The Vanishing Legion," but I've made it a point to include this shot because it adds a few important features and also because it's easier to make out some of the features, such as Lone Ranger Rock, here than it is in the shots up above. The Angry Cardinal again appears in its full fury, although being in color this time — pretty dated color, I must say — doesn't really add much. I'll point out a few key features in the shot below.
The area where the two actors are fighting is the camera mount, also known as Overlook Point — a vantage point from which countless film and TV crews aimed their cameras toward the Iverson Gorge. The site still has remnants of the old metal camera track and mount used for the movies, as I've mentioned elsewhere on the blog. You can click here to find out more about it.
"Al Jennings of Oklahoma" (1951)
Although Stage Road Rock appears small in some of these photos — especially those presenting a wide vista of the Gorge from the camera mount, which was some distance away — it was, and is, a substantial rock. The above scene from the Columbia Western "Al Jennings of Oklahoma," shot from the top of Nyoka Cliff, gives some idea of the rock's size. This photo also provides a good look at the clearing next to the rock, which was a favorite site for stagecoach holdups.
I've included a few links below where you should be able to find DVD versions of some of the movies discussed in this post ...