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.

Friday, June 4, 2010

NBC's "Heroes": A 2008 TV shoot at the former Iverson Movie Ranch

NBC's "Heroes" (2008)

Iverson Movie Ranch may not exist anymore as a business entity, but various sections of the former location ranch are still used occasionally for movie and TV shoots. The NBC TV show "Heroes" taped there as recently as fall 2008, using part of the Lower Iverson as a stand-in for Africa during season three (2008-09). The Africa story line centered on the character Matt Parkman, played by Greg Grunberg. (That's Greg's ear in the above photo.)

In the screen shot above, Matt has just awakened to find himself in Africa, where he sees a painting depicting the future. The painting appears on the side of Woolly Mammoth, an instantly recognizable Iverson figure that showed up in a number of B-Westerns and other movies as far back as the 1930s. The rock is also known as Vultura's Trail Rock, after an appearance in the 1942 Republic serial "The Perils of Nyoka."


This 2008 photo, taken soon after Woolly Mammoth's "Heroes" shoot, shows the creature unadorned, although it still has a splotch of white paint near its "eye" that is apparently left over from "Heroes." At the time this photo was taken, "Heroes" was still shooting in a nearby area, where an African-style hut was built for the show. You can see a photo of that set here, near the bottom of the post.

Here's a toy version of the woolly mammoth. You may or may not see the similarity, but to my eye the shape of the head and a few other elements make it a pretty good match.

Here's another modern-day photo of Woolly Mammoth, from the other side, closer to the typical movie angle. This shot gives some sense of the scale, although from this angle the rock looks nothing like a Woolly Mammoth. It's not one of the larger landmark rocks at Iverson, but it's fairly substantial.

"The Adventures of Spin and Marty" (1955)

Among the many appearances by Woolly Mammoth/Vultura's Trail Rock in old movies and TV shows, the rock was part of an interesting pan shot in the Disney show "The Adventures of Spin and Marty" — featured on "The Mickey Mouse Club" — in 1955. The above screen shot, taken from Kurt Spitzner's essential "Spin and Marty" site Of Cinch and Set (cinchset.com), shows just a portion of the overall shot, which is much wider. While this shot only includes the bottom half of Woolly Mammoth, it offers an interesting view of a section of Chatsworth below, at the left. Not only does the shot give a sense of Woolly's somewhat precarious perch on the edge of a cliff, it also offers a glimpse of the past — when the San Fernando Valley still had some farmland left.

For anyone who has an interest in "Spin and Marty," you really need to check out Of Cinch and Set if you haven't already. Kurt has done some terrific research, including a ton of location work. For his page on Woolly Mammoth/Vultura's Trail Rock, he put together a beautiful, widescreen photo of the pan shot that you will want to see. The full photo is more than twice as wide as what you see here. Click here to go right to the page with the photo.

No comments: