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.
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• 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).
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Monday, April 12, 2010

Did the Iverson Ranch get a sprinkling of Gong pixie dust?

South Rim of the Upper Iverson, Chatsworth, Calif.

I'm always finding faces in the rocks, and here's a pair of characters I spotted on a visit a while back to the Upper Iverson. They're in the top left corner of the photo. These rocks are located in the South Rim area where much of the filming took place for the old Westerns. I've amped up the contrast here because the original photo is pretty dark. I always seem to be fighting tough lighting conditions at Iverson — I just don't get up as early as the old film crews did, what can I say? These rocks would be better lit in the morning, but then the faces would probably disappear too.

Here's a detail shot from the above photo — not that it adds any clarity. But in case you're having trouble finding them in the larger photo, these are the faces I'm talking about.

The faces change as you shift camera angles and as the sunlight changes. In the above shot, the "pixie" on the left looks pretty much the same as in the previous shot, but the one on the right has a completely new face — seemingly having grown a beard.

Here's what I mean by two different faces for that pixie on the right.

"Wagon Tracks West" (1943)

While it's rare to find the Pixies in movies or TV shows, they do appear on occasion — although I've never seen a production that shows off their "faces." In the above example from the Republic B-Western "Wagon Tracks West," one of the Pixies can be seen in the background of a shot featuring the Miner's Cabin.

Here's the same screen shot with the Pixie spotlighted. "Wagon Tracks West" starred Wild Bill Elliott and Gabby Hayes, with camera work by the legendary Reggie Lanning — a member of my pantheon of great Iverson cinematographers.

For anyone familiar with the 1970s space rock group Gong, these characters and others at Iverson remind me of the Pothead Pixies from Daevid Allen's mythological drawings on the old Gong albums.

Here's an idea of what the Pothead Pixies look like on the Gong/Daevid Allen album covers.

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