Here's what the Iverson Movie Ranch obsession is all about ...

For an introduction to this blog and to the obsession a growing number of vintage film and TV fans have with the Iverson Movie Ranch — the most widely filmed outdoor location in movie and TV history — please read the site's introductory post, found here.
• Your feedback is appreciated — please leave comments on any of the posts.
• To find specific rock features or look up movie titles, TV shows, actors and production people, see the "LABELS" section — the long alphabetical listing on the right side of the page, below.
• To join the MAILING LIST, send me an email at iversonmovieranch@gmail.com and let me know you'd like to sign up.
• I've also begun a YouTube channel for Iverson Movie Ranch clips and other movie location videos, which you can get to by clicking here.
• Here's a link to Garden of the Gods, the best-known section of the Iverson Movie Ranch (featured in the movie "Stagecoach," the "Lone Ranger" TV show and hundreds of other productions).
• To go right to the great Iverson cinematographers, click here.
• Readers can email the webmaster at iversonmovieranch@gmail.com.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Donald "Red" Barry's wonder horse Banner hides in the bushes near a rock with an L-shaped crack

L-R: Wild Bill Elliott, Bob Livingston, Don Barry, Roy Rogers,
Allan "Rocky" Lane, Sunset Carson

Donald "Red" Barry may have been one of the shortest cowboy heroes of the B-Western era, but I also think he may have been the best actor in the bunch.

"Ghost Valley Raiders" (Republic, 1940): Lobby card shot at Iverson's Grove Cabin

Barry shot most of his Republic pictures on the Iverson Ranch, and they're some of the best showcases for the ranch if you can find them. I recently scanned "Ghost Valley Raiders" and it's a rocktacular — I want to thank Western movie location historian Tinsley Yarbrough for pointing me to the movie.

Donald Barry and "Banner" at the Grove Cabin on the Lower Iverson

Barry rode a cool movie horse in the 1940s — Banner. The word is that Banner, a big bay, later did movie work with John Wayne, Rocky Lane and Andy Devine. Ouch!

Donald Barry and Banner in "Ghost Valley Raiders"

Banner was presented as one of those super-smart movie horses, and in "Ghost Valley Raiders" he was given a number of "wonder horse"-type stunts to do to help Barry fight bad guys.

Banner hides in the bushes — positioned conveniently next to a distinctive rock

In one of those stunts, all Banner had to do was go hide in the bushes. As it turns out, he hid right next to a rock with a distinctive curved, or L-shaped, crack running through it.

I was able to find that same rock on a recent visit to the former movie ranch.

The rock is kind of hidden among the condos just east of Redmesa Road.

"The Roy Rogers Show" (1957): Roy and Trigger at the L-shaped crack

Banner wasn't the only famous movie horse to be filmed at the L-shaped crack. In this shot from an episode of "The Roy Rogers Show," Roy works with Trigger near the same cracked rock.

The shot comes from the episode "End of the Trail," which premiered Jan. 27, 1957, during the show's sixth and final season. The episode would have been filmed in 1956.

This Google aerial shows where the cracked rock can be found. It's in a private community, but in my experience the residents have been cool about visitors who are there for thoughtful rock gawking.

The "Hangman's Tree" on the Lower Iverson ("Ghost Valley Raiders")

The cracked rock sequence in "Ghost Valley Raiders" also features the so-called "Hangman's Tree," which was located nearby but did not survive condo development. Click here to read a detailed post about the tree.

Another view of the Hangman's Tree in "Ghost Valley Raiders"

Oddly enough, no one seems to recall an instance where the "Hangman's Tree" was used for a hanging. If you know of one, I'd like to hear about it. Please comment or send a note.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

An old Iverson Movie Ranch sign turns up as a museum piece

Valley Relics Museum founder Tommy Gelinas with Iverson Ranch sign

An old sign for the Iverson Movie Ranch turned up recently at the Valley Relics Museum, a cool spot located less than three miles from the former movie ranch.

The sign is in good company alongside other historic specimens as part of the museum's sprawling collection of San Fernando Valley-focused memorabilia.

When a friend first pointed it out to me, the Iverson sign was hidden behind a cabinet, leaning against a wall, tinted slightly red by the glow from a nearby display.

The museum's collection is so vast it can't all be showcased at once, which is part of the appeal — and one reason I keep going back to find more hidden treasures.

The well-worn Iverson sign is patterned after a clapboard from a film shoot, with spaces for "director," "scene" and "take." The sign was originally posted near the movie ranch's main entry gate.

Not far from the sign is another artifact related to Chatsworth's movie history: a mannequin, which appears to be made up to look like a field laborer.

Postcard shows set used by Texie Holle to market movie mannequins

The mannequin is likely to have come from a Chatsworth outfit run by Ed "Texie" Holle, a ranch foreman at Corriganville in the 1950s who later rented out lifesize Indian mannequins for the movies.



Texie Holle had a recording career of sorts. Play the above audio clip if you dare! It may be the longest two-and-a-half minutes in history.


Opened in 2013, the Valley Relics Museum is located at 21630 Marilla St. in Chatsworth, Calif. The museum is open every Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.


Below is an awesome clip about the Valley Relics Museum ... two thumbs up.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Has anyone seen the "Squaw Creek Relay Station" in a movie?

Saddlehorn Relay Station (unknown production, ca. 1940-1941)

This behind-the-scenes photo surfaced recently showing the building known as the Saddlehorn Relay Station. Believed to be from around 1940-1941, the photo may hold a clue to the structure's origin.

The building has a sign on it declaring it to be the Squaw Creek Relay Station. The man at the left is probably a crew member on the unknown production.

A zoomed-in version of the shot offers a better look at the sign, although a cowboy's black hat blocks part of the word "Station."

The relay station was located on the Lower Iverson, north of Garden of the Gods. This early version of the structure includes a section that was later replaced with a second-story "deck," or porch.

"Ride 'em Cowboy" (Abbott and Costello, 1942)

The Abbott and Costello movie "Ride 'em Cowboy," an early 1942 release that was filmed in 1941, includes this shot of the building with that same early section in place.

The part of the building that would later be replaced is highlighted here. With that early piece in place, this corner of the building resembles a barn.

"Ride 'em Cowboy"

A similar piece could also be found at the opposite end of the building — on its northwest face. Again, this was in 1941, in the building's early years, and it would soon undergo remodeling.

"The Avenging Rider" (RKO, 1943)

By the time the Tim Holt movie "Avenging Rider" filmed at the site in 1943, the relay station had been renovated and its new second-story porch, or deck, was in place.

"Black Bart" (Universal-International, 1948)

This shot from the Yvonne De Carlo-Dan Duryea Western "Black Bart" provides a nice look at the relay station in color, including the porch area at top left.

"Gun Fever" (United Artists, 1958)

Pardon the massacre, but we get another look at the second-story deck in the 1958 Western "Gun Fever." The set was frequently redecorated, and at this point it sported a more "bare bones" look.

"Gun Fever"

In particular, the railing on the deck is more sparse in "Gun Fever" than it was in "Black Bart" about 10 years earlier. The building itself includes a crude sign identifying it as the "Rand Station."

"Heldorado" (Republic, 1946)

Remodeling at the northwest end of the relay station was perhaps even more extensive, if less aesthetic, as seen in this shot from the Roy Rogers movie "Heldorado."

The earlier small single-story section with the angled roof was replaced by a boxy expansion that turned this part of the relay station into something of a behemoth.

"The Stranger From Pecos" (Monogram, 1943)

The relay station was one of the most important and most durable sets on the Iverson Movie Ranch, standing for about three decades and appearing in many productions.

You may have noticed a kind of low-key bull's-eye on the roof of the relay station in "The Stranger From Pecos," which I figured must have been left over from some other movie or serial.

"Captain Midnight" (Columbia serial, 1942)

Sure enough, film historian Tinsley Yarbrough, who has a much better memory for these things than I do, pointed out that the bull's-eye was part of the plot of the serial "Captain Midnight," one year earlier.

"Escort West" (1959): Saddlehorn Village

In the late '50s and throughout the '60s the Saddlehorn Relay Station set was complemented by a small cluster of buildings adjacent to the main building, which I call "Saddlehorn Village."

The "village" appeared in a handful of movies and TV shows. Click here to see pictures of the set's appearances in "Bonanza" and "Gunsmoke," and here for more about its role in "Escort West."

Former location of Saddlehorn Relay Station (Google aerial)

This recent Google aerial indicates the spot where the relay station once stood. The set is believed to have burned down in the fall 1970 wildfires, and today the site is filled with condos.

I'd love to find the movie where the building appears as the "Squaw Creek Relay Station." I'm hoping a blog reader might know of a Western from the early '40s set in a place called Squaw Creek.

If you do have any information that might help solve the mystery of the "Squaw Creek Relay Station," please leave a comment below or email me at iversonmovieranch@gmail.com. Thanks!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Domed building from the silent era in the Iverson Gorge, seen in "Noah's Ark" in 1928

"Noah's Ark" (1928) — the Iverson Gorge in Chatsworth, Calif.

A small structure that turns up briefly in the silent feature "Noah's Ark" can be placed in the Upper Gorge on the old Iverson Movie Ranch.

The landmark movie was produced and written by pioneer Hollywood studio mogul Darryl F. Zanuck and directed by Michael Curtiz. Everyone involved would become legendary.

"Noah's Ark" — image of the giant Ark grounded atop the Garden of the Gods

The movie is famous for this shot, which also utilizes rock features on the Iverson Ranch — except that here they're used as part of a special effect.

Rocks that remain in place today pinpoint the location of the domed building, which can be seen in the background at right.

The building is almost hidden behind foliage, carefully placed so as to complement the set.

"Noah's Ark": The domed building

The focus is soft on the print these scren shots came from, but at least the camera moves in for this shot of the building. This is about all we see of it.

"The King of Kings" (Cecil B. DeMille, 1927)

I recently spotted a similar building in DeMille's "The King of Kings," but this one appears to be near the beach — and it's not an exact match for the "Noah's Ark" set.

The "Noah's Ark" set (Joe Iverson collection) — circa 1928

An old Iverson family photo of the "Noah's Ark" set turned up in Joe Iverson's photos. Thanks to this shot we finally get a good look at the old silent movie set.