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.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lone Ranger Rock and the "Lone Ranger" title sequence


Lone Ranger Rock, as it appears today, on the former site of the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This early post about the "Lone Ranger" opening remains up as a historical reference, but I have since updated my research on the opening and have posted a newer, more comprehensive blog entry about the sequence, including higher-quality video of various versions of the opening, which you can see by clicking here.

video


Original 1949 opening
Here's a brief video clip of the famous opening sequence to the TV show "The Lone Ranger," which aired original episodes on ABC from September 1949 to June 1957, divided up into five seasons. If you aren't old enough to have caught it back then, you probably still saw it thanks to reruns, syndication, cable, VHS, DVD, YouTube, etc. It's pretty hard to miss. Because of the distinctiveness and ubiquity of Lone Ranger Rock, this sequence tends to be the starting point in a lot of people's exploration of the Iverson Movie Ranch.

A few different versions of the title sequence were used over the span of the show's 221 episodes, with various edits and a couple of different tapings of the Lone Ranger's arrival on his horse, Silver. (Click here for a breakdown of the different versions.) For the most part the versions are pretty similar, with the first part consisting of an open gallop along a straightaway. In the above clip, this initial part is shot in Lone Pine, but in the later reshoot, it's done on the Upper Iverson, with Pyramid Peak visible in the background. 

Soon we come to the familiar arrival and hard right turn to ascend to Lone Ranger Rock to rear up on Silver (shot on the Lower Iverson amid rocks that are all still pretty much in place); and a final sequence (deleted from this video) that includes a descent through Iverson's Lower Gorge toward Santa Susana Pass Road and some additional horseback footage from Lone Pine in early versions of the sequence. 

The final frames of the clip above show the Lone Ranger rearing up Silver right next to the rock that (thanks to this sequence) became known as Lone Ranger Rock. Supposedly before that it was known as Indian Head Rock, which is unfortunate because there are at least three other rocks at Iverson that have been referred to as Indian Head. (See separate post on Eagle Beak and Indian Head.) 

The most interesting stuff for me in this clip isn't Lone Ranger Rock itself but the other rocks that can be seen before the Lone Ranger makes the turn to head up to Lone Ranger Rock. My early Iverson research included trying to retrace this part of his path, which isn't nearly as easy as it looks. If you pause the clip at the 18-second mark, you'll see a large rock on the right, Sea Leopard. That thing eluded me for some time because it's buried inside a large tree now and you really can't get to it. 

In that same frame, again not very clear but still visible, are some landmark rocks in the background, pretty much in the center of the frame: Sticky Bun, Cracked Meringue and Stegosaurus. All of these features appear frequently in the old movies shot at Iverson, and they're all still intact, though they now have some condos as neighbors. The plan is to discuss these rocks in more detail, so you should be able to use the label index to find posts on them.

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