Film historian Bill Sasser has been doing research for years on Western movie locations and has put up some terrific video clips on YouTube. Many of them feature the Iverson Movie Ranch, but Bill's prolific research encompasses a wide range of locations — from the other major filming sites, such as Lone Pine and Corriganville, to some of the less widely known ones, such as Beale's Cut and Walker Ranch.
I wanted to share some of Bill's videos and make sure my readers know about the work he has been doing. I'll start off with a few brief videos about Iverson ...
The above clip shows a corner of Iverson Village and spotlights a couple of the nearby rocks. (Click here for more posts about Iverson Village.) I don't know which movie this clip is from, but it includes some good stuff. The distinctive rock at the beginning of the clip, which appears right next to the wooden walkway in front of a building, is an interesting feature that is also seen during periods when the town didn't exist, often in the middle of a pond as the area flooded during the rainy season. I call it Pond Rock, but it is also commonly called Stacked Rocks. Sadly, Pond Rock was destroyed to make way for the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village — and presumably they cleared up that flooding problem before they moved the trailers in.
Also in the clip, starting around the 39-second mark, is Center Rock, which can be seen in the background, sticking out from under a big tree. I have an earlier blog post here that includes some background on Center Rock. Center Rock can still be seen today in the mobile home park. The tree is still there too, but it has been trimmed back considerably.
Here's a clip that compiles still shots of Iverson Village, aka the Western street, when it was flooded. I think most or all of these shots come from the episode of "The Roy Rogers Show" called "Ghost Town Gold," which first aired on May 25, 1952. It's one of only a couple of instances I know of where the town appeared in a production when it was flooded. The town was in hundreds of movies and TV episodes, even though it only existed for a relatively short time — from 1945 until about 1957.
This next clip features the Saddlehorn area on the Lower Iverson — and the video begs for ample use of the pause button. If you're quick you can catch the Sphinx in the background in the first three seconds. Right after Sphinx, still in the first three seconds, a stacked rock, presumably manmade, makes a brief appearance. Saddlehorn Rock surfaces at the 6-second mark, followed by a mysterious saddle-shaped rock at 10 seconds. (It's not the same rock as the Saddle, although that rock is located nearby.) The Saddlehorn Relay Station makes an appearance near the end, about 19 seconds in.
The relay station is long gone — none of the buildings from Iverson's filming era survived. As for the rocks seen in this video, the Sphinx and Saddlehorn Rock can still be seen today on a visit to the former Iverson Ranch. The Sphinx is in Garden of the Gods, which has been preserved as a park, and Saddlehorn Rock is just off a walkway through the condominium complex. The mysterious saddle-shaped rock, however, didn't survive, nor did the stacked rock.
Finally, here's a video of the opening sequence from the movie "Callaway Went Thataway" (1951), which features a romp through various parts of Iverson Ranch. The clip, which depicts a movie within the movie, flashes past too many famous movie rocks to try to name them, but it offers a good overview of the ranch. The sequence includes shots of Iverson horizontally flipped as well as properly oriented, and it blends Upper Iverson with Lower Iverson.
You can go directly to Bill's YouTube channel by clicking here. I plan to post more videos from Bill in future entries.