Friday, March 26, 2010
One of my favorite characters at the site of the former Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif., is Hangdog, above, situated in the "Above Nyoka" area of the Lower Iverson. Not unlike many of the Iverson features, Hangdog has a split personality: lion on the left, Labrador retriever on the right (see photo below). Then there are the little touches, like the monkey head that lives in the Lab's eyebrow. Not to mention the "mini-Hangdog" partially hidden behind a bush, down below the monkey head. (You may be able to make it out if you click on the photo for a larger view, or see it in the photo below, at the bottom of the picture, just to the left of center.)
The ruins, seen in the foreground at the right of the photo above, are one of the many mysteries that remained at Iverson well beyond the filming era. An estimated 3,000 movies and TV shows were shot on the ranch, mostly in the heyday of the B-Western from the 1930s to the 1950s. I've been obsessively scanning the old shows for a couple of years now trying to find the rocks and buildings of the Iverson Ranch, but it appears that the mysterious stone structure was never used in any of the productions.
Incidentally, that house in the background is where the original owners of the Iverson Movie Ranch lived for years, sometimes called the Old Folks' House. It burned down during the Porter Ranch Fire (also known as the Sesnon Fire) in October 2008.
Here's one of those funny faces in the rocks that show up in movies and TV shows from time to time. I doubt anyone will be as amused by it as I am, but I hope you can at least see it. It looks perfect to me: little dark eye, snub nose, grim mouth and that massive forehead. It's right in the middle of this screen shot, facing toward the left. This character, which I call Brainiac, appears in "The Scavenger," a 1955 episode of "The Roy Rogers Show." That's Dale Evans riding by.
Note: Volume 14 of the DVD set "Roy Rogers With Dale Evans" includes the episode "The Scavenger." See Amazon link below.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Bugeye and Trapezoid are a pair of rocks that show up pretty regularly in old B-Westerns. They're not not particularly dramatic but they are good landmarks, easily recognized sitting atop a relatively flat wall-rock that was located alongside a road used frequently for chase sequences and horseback scenes. In the shot above they're seen in the "Lone Ranger" movie, a 1952 release made from the first three episodes of the "Lone Ranger" TV show, originally shot in 1949. They're not clear in this screen shot, but they're the two rocks near the top of the photo, Bugeye on the left and Trapezoid on the right.
Today they live in the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village, located at Topanga and the 118 Freeway in Chatsworth, Calif.
Monday, March 1, 2010
The Slates were located along a heavily used chase road on the Upper Iverson, which meant they got captured on film with some regularity. They usually zip by pretty fast, but they're distinctive enough that it's often possible to catch a glimpse of them anyway. Above is a shot of the Slates in "Stage to Mesa City" (1947).
Here are the Slates in a recent photo.
A few places the Slates have turned up:
"Stage to Mesa City" (1947)
"The Hawk of Powder River" (1948)
"Grand Canyon Trail" (1948)
"The Lone Ranger" (TV show, 1949-1957)
"Don Daredevil Rides Again" (Republic serial, 1951)
"The Roy Rogers Show" (TV show, 1951-1957)
"Bonanza" (TV show, 1959-1973) (color)