This discovery took a fair amount of work and a lot of luck, but I was able to unearth the tantalizing fact that James Dean's first screen credit was in a production that brought him to Iverson. And if that weren't enough, the tomb of Jesus is depicted in the production — and it turns out it's at Iverson too!
DVD. Additionally, some of the radio episodes reportedly still get aired on the EWTN Radio Network. "Hill Number One," probably the most widely distributed of the vintage episodes, has a DVD cover, seen above, that depicts a scene shot at Iverson, with three crosses on a hill representing Calvary, or Golgotha. The key word there is "depicts," as this cover shot is not an actual shot of Iverson.
here. Jaunty Sailor is the large vertical rock just right of center, and while it's a little hard to make out here (you can click on the photo to enlarge it), some movie construction has been attached to its right side — its eastern side at the location. It turns out this is the tomb where the body of Jesus was placed after he was removed from the cross. (In the show, not in real life ... just in case that needs to be said.)
The tomb of Jesus, in "Hill Number One"
Here's a closer look at the tomb of Jesus, as it was constructed for the production, complete with the large round stone meant to ensure that the body stayed put. You can see a little bit of Jaunty Sailor to the left, jutting out next to the tomb entrance.
James Dean as John the Apostle in "Hill Number One"
James Dean plays John the Apostle — a role that has sometimes been reported in error as John the Baptist. It's a small role, but Dean is easy to spot even in a cast that includes a surprising number of familiar names — Roddy McDowall, William Shallert, Michael Ansara and others. Dean's role has sometimes been described as non-speaking, but that's another erroneous report. He has a number of lines, including a brief speech at a meeting of the disciples, seen in the above shot. It's not much, but it's the start of what turned out to be his lasting screen legacy.
Family Theater Productions still exists, and apparently still has some of the vintage productions for sale on its website (familytheater.org). I couldn't find "Hill Number One" on the site, but it's available on Amazon and other sites. (You can find it by clicking on the ad below.)