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, September 27, 2010

Classic Rock: The Pirate Ship

This blog entry is part of a series on "Classic Rocks" — rocks located on the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif., that were featured in old movies, cliffhanger serials and early TV shows.

To me this large cluster of rocks looks like a pirate ship with sails a-billowed, or whatever the proper seafaring term would be. When I discovered it a few years ago in a corner of the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village on a visit to the site of the former Iverson Movie Ranch, I initially didn't recognize the formation from any movies or TV shows. But I had a feeling it would eventually turn up — and it did.

"The Lone Ranger" TV show: "Damsels in Distress" (1950)

Among other productions, it's in some episodes of the "Lone Ranger" TV show, including the "Damsels in Distress" episode as seen above. It's also in episodes of "The Roy Rogers Show," including "Ride of the Ranchers." And it's in a couple of major features: the 1937 Shirley Temple movie "Wee Willie Winkie" and Gary Cooper's 1945 Western "Along Came Jones." Then there's "Ghost-Town Gold," a 1936 Three Mesquiteers picture from Republic. And the list goes on.

From other angles, at least one of the rocks that make up the Pirate Ship is much more common. The rock to the left in the above photos is the western side of a rock that's better-known from its northern side: Split Rock, as seen below.

Split Rock

Split Rock now sits in the swimming pool area of the mobile home park, along with the Cave Rocks (Hook Rock and Big B) and a few others. The riders in the above movie still would be roughly on the deck of the pool if they rested in the same spot today. All of these rocks fall more or less in a straight line running north and south, with the billowed sail of the Pirate Ship representing the southern tip. These rocks can sometimes be seen in the background of shots of Iverson's Western town — usually called El Paso Street or Iverson Village — which was to the west of them (to the left in the top two photos). It's hard to get around to the east side of the Pirate Ship these days, due to signs warning about fierce attack dogs.

Whatever its past glory may have been, these days the Pirate Ship is drydocked up in its obscure corner of the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village, keeping as low a profile as it's possible for something that big and grand to keep. But it's part of what was once a heavily filmed section of the Iverson Movie Ranch.

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