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 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

Friday, December 11, 2009

"Hi-Yo, Silver!" — was the famous opening sequence to the TV show "The Lone Ranger" colorized?

Shot from the opening sequence to "The Lone Ranger" — this color version is from 1956

EDITOR'S NOTE: Had I known then what I know now, I could have done a better job on this post. The good news is I've since done a fully updated and much more thoroughly researched post about the evolution of the opening sequence for "The Lone Ranger," and you can go to it by clicking here. Meanwhile, I'm leaving up this older post with a few minor tweaks, as it still tells a part of the story and has some historical merit. Note that this post is all about the 1956 reshoot of the opening. For details on the original 1949 opening, click on the link in this paragraph.

Here are some shots of the well-known "Lone Ranger" opening sequence, usually seen in black and white. The color version of the opening ran with the later color episodes of the TV show, Season 5, which aired from 1956-57. I originally posted that my hunch was that they just colorized the original opening sequence, which dates back to 1949. If so, it would have been a pretty nice job of colorization and a fairly early example. They did have the technology as far back as the 1920s, and I know they colorized some cartoons in the 1950s. But that's different, and this color version of the Lone Ranger opening looks pretty good. So it was a bit of a mystery to me, until a reader named Richard explained that the original opening was replaced by a new color opening for the color season, and that color opening was then "de-colorized" back to black-and-white for DVDs of the black-and-white episodes. Mystery solved.

"The Lone Ranger" title shot — in color

Conventional wisdom held for years that the first part of the opening wasn't shot on the Iverson Movie Ranch but at the neighboring Brandeis Ranch, also in Chatsworth, Calif. However, as is often the case, conventional wisdom turns out to be wrong. That's Pyramid Peak (aka Rocky Peak) in the background, a familiar background feature also seen in plenty of Iverson scenes. Brandeis and Iverson were right next to each other, so it can be hard to distinguish them on screen. One useful clue — albeit not a scientific one — is that Iverson was used a lot more than Brandeis, so when you're seeing this scenery, there's a better chance that it's Iverson. However, the Line of Trees seen in the background here — they look like pines, but I'm no expert — represented the boundary between Iverson and Brandeis, which would place the action shown here on the eastern side of the Line of Trees — the Iverson side.

Here's the "de-colorized" black-and-white title shot. The fact that it's crooked has to do with my camera work; it didn't run that way on TV.

The action shifts from the Upper Iverson to the Lower Iverson for this part of the opening. This shot shows the approach to Lone Ranger Rock on the Lower Iverson, and the rocks in the distant background are a familiar grouping just above the Upper Iverson Gorge: Sticky Bun (partially visible near the top, sticking out from the tree on the left), along with Cracked Meringue (directly above the Lone Ranger's head) and Stegosaurus (above Silver's nose). In the foreground, at the right, is the elusive Sea Leopard. You can find more information about most of these rocks elsewhere in the blog — try the massive alphabetical index along the right side of the page.

Here's a look at the rock cluster consisting mainly of Sticky Bun, Cracked Meringue and Stegosaurus today, hidden behind the condos. Sticky Bun is the one shaped like a sticky bun, kind of obviously. To its right, looking nondescript here, is Cracked Meringue, which angles downward from left to right. Below the two of them, largely hidden behind the condo building, is the larger Stegosaurus, which also looks nondescript here due to the presence of the condos. All three of these rocks are also visible in the Lone Ranger approach shot, above. Also in this recent shot is Lone Ranger Rock itself, almost directly in the center of the photo.

Here's the familiar shot of the Lone Ranger on Silver, rearing up next to Lone Ranger Rock. The rock can still easily be found at the site of the former Iverson Movie Ranch, just off Redmesa Road in Chatsworth.

This is what the rearing-up scene looks like in its familiar black-and-white version. I posted a brief video of the "Lone Ranger" opening in an early blog entry that can still be found here, but what I would now recommend is that you go to a much more thoroughly researched post about the "Lone Ranger" opening sequence, with video clips of five or six different versions of the opening and a full explanation of how it evolved, which you can find by clicking here.

Check out a cool "Lone Ranger" DVD set on Amazon by clicking the link below:


Krennyee said...

great research and info...ty

Swami Nano said...

Thanks for your comment ... yw.