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, August 14, 2009

The sad story of Rock Island ... and what does any of this have to do with David Lynch?


Rock Island, seen in the above screen shot, wasn't one of the most frequently filmed rock formations on the Iverson Movie Ranch, but it showed up from time to time and usually made quite an impact. Rock Island is the name given to the six or so towering structures clustered together here with chase roads on all sides.

Early in my Iverson research I took on the challenge of trying to find Rock Island. And it was indeed a challenge to determine these noble giants' exact location — or their former location. I gradually came to the conclusion that Rock Island had been a victim of the bulldozers, destroyed several years ago to make way for condo development and Redmesa Road. However, at Iverson, things are not always as they seem, and if you go to this post and scroll down about eight or nine photos you can get a look at what Rock Island looks like today — not necessarily "destroyed," but let's just say, considerably diminished in stature.

I don't know whether it's true but I've heard that the people doing the initial stages of development on the former Iverson property some years ago did the deed fast and not always with permits, to avoid giving any of those annoying preservationist groups time to do something about it. Chatsworth, Calif., does have an active historical society and other activist groups that are interested in preserving the town's cultural heritage, its equestrian traditions and its movie history. 

Whether it was done legally or not, the developers apparently took out Rock Island — or at least cut it down to size — along with a few other key formations at Iverson when the bulk of the construction was going on, starting as far back as the 1960s when the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village was built. But fortunately a good number of the ranch's "classic rocks" are still around. They're sprinkled among condos, gated communities, sprawling mansions, apartments and a trailer park, or in some cases simply overgrown by trees and bushes, but more of them have survived than have been removed. And even though sandstone is soft by rock standards, the ones that remain are likely to still be around centuries after the manmade stuff — the condos and all that — is long gone.

The figure in the center of the shot, which seems to have a little round mouth and no face, is Eraserhead, for reasons that should be apparent to anyone who has seen the David Lynch movie. Because of its unusual appearance and its position as a cornerstone, Eraserhead is often the rock that immediately identifies the group. Rock Island can be tricky to spot in productions because it is shot from a number of different angles and it looks different from each one. But I usually get excited when I do see it in the movies, if only because it's no longer possible to see it in its full glory in person. 

"Eraserhead" (1977)

Since this post was first published, I've done considerably more research into Rock Island and put together an extensive viewer's guide on the formation, which you can see by clicking here

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