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, December 23, 2011

Center Rock, Sheep Flats, Smooth Hill ... and a bunch of utility poles


Here's a nice shot from one of the best Iverson movies, the 1940 Three Mesquiteers installment Rocky Mountain Rangers, from Republic Pictures. It's directed by George Sherman, with cinematography by Jack Marta — both men worked a lot at Iverson and contributed mightily to documenting its legacy in the form of cinematic images.

One thing I like about this shot is it reveals no fewer than five utility poles on and around Smooth Hill, all the way back in 1940. That means they were in place for the bulk of the B-Western shoots, including throughout the lifespan of Iverson Village. Some of them can occasionally be seen as anachronisms in the background of Westerns, but rarely are they as clearly evident as they are here. You still may have a hard time seeing them. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.) Two of them are at the top, just to the right of the hill's peak. Another one is farther right, sticking out from the top of a rock along the horizon, near the right of the shot. Two more are about midway down the hill, near the center of the shot, along what appears to be a road cut across the hill.



Please note that I've included the Amazon ad above for the "Saturday Matinee Double Feature" DVD because the set includes the great Iverson movie "Rocky Mountain Rangers" (along with the non-Iverson Buck Jones/Tim McCoy Rough Riders movie "Arizona Bound").

Click here for a post that talks about what happened to Smooth Hill and also shows what it looked like in the background of Iverson Village.


Another shot from Rocky Mountain Rangers, from approximately the same angle, gives a better look at Center Rock, the light-colored clump of rocks at the left of the shot. Center Rock was in the middle of Sheep Flats, where Iverson's Western town was built a few years later. This cluster of rocks was noteworthy for a number of things, including its isolated location, its protruding ledge and the odd little arch at its base. Somewhat miraculously, Center Rock survived, even as a trailer park — the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village — was built around it.


Today Center Rock's setting isn't nearly as grand, as it's been stuffed behind fences and barriers and is essentially part of a maintenance facility at the park. I've been especially frustrated by that white plywood, which not only is a bit of an eyesore but also conceals the rock's trademark arch.



Here's a shot of Center Rock in the 1948 Republic serial G-Men Never Forget, showing pretty much the same angle as the contemporary shot above. Looks like the arch would be just about big enough to hide a motorcycle.



Here's what Center Rock looks like today from the other side. The rock was rarely filmed from this side.

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