Bonanza" episode called "Meena," which premiered Nov. 9, 1969. The small wooden building, with its unusual roofline, would have been one of the last sets, possibly the very last set, built at the Iverson Movie Ranch while it was still a working filming location.
The surrounding rocks pinpoint the exact location where Meena's Cabin stood, which is on a piece of property that now contains an upscale estate at the end of a cul de sac on the former Upper Iverson. The above shot, taken from the rocks up above and to the east of the cabin — from an area near a familiar movie rock known as Eagle Beak Rock — shows the cabin from the opposite side of the first shot, revealing that it was in fact a full four-sided cabin and not just a "front."
Here's a look at Eagle Beak Rock today, at the top of the frame. You may recognize it from its hundreds of appearances in the backgrounds of chase scenes in B-Westerns, early TV shows and other productions, especially from the 1930s through the 1950s. The location of Meena's Cabin was approximately on that patch of grass near the center of the photo. The house partially visible at the far right is part of the property where the cabin stood, while the fence in the lower right corner belongs to a neighboring property.
Eagle Beak Rock turns up over and over again. Here it is at top left in the 1950 Columbia Western "Calamity Jane and the Texan," starring Evelyn Ankers and Jimmy Ellison.
Another appearance by Eagle Beak Rock, this time in an early "Bonanza" episode — "Desert Justice," which aired during the first season, premiering Feb. 20, 1960.
This is a cool shot from that same early Bonanza episode, "Desert Justice." In this view of the South Rim on the Upper Iverson, part of the concrete bridge is visible in the top left corner, and the white area at the top center of the photo is the creekbed for Fern Ann Creek (sometimes called Iverson Creek), which looks as though it was pretty dry at the time. The creek continues to flow these days, although it is usually little more than a trickle. The prominent rock feature at the far right of the photo, directly to the right of the horses, is sometimes called Gold Raiders Rock. It includes a smaller rock that was cemented on top of a larger rock, and this feature remains in place today.
"Bonanza" shot about 40 of its 430 episodes at
Iverson during an impressive 14-season run on NBC (1959-1973). In my experience, when the series did shoot at Iverson it made great use of the place. It was one of
the most successful of all television Westerns, and one of the most high-profile shows to shoot at Iverson. So if Meena's Cabin was in fact the last set built for filming at Iverson, it provided a fitting final chapter to the movie ranch's filming era.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Saturday, January 5, 2013
"Bells of Rosarita" (Roy Rogers, 1945) — Grove Cabin
One of the so-called "permanent" buildings on the old Iverson Movie Ranch was a small cabin located in the Eucalyptus Grove, known as the Grove Cabin.
Pear Rock, next to Grove Cabin ("Bells of Rosarita")
The Grove Cabin was located immediately west of Pear Rock, seen here in the same "Bells of Rosarita" sequence as Roy and the boys sneak up on the cabin.
Pear Rock as it appears today
Pear Rock is still around. The angle isn't exactly the same, but you may be able to spot some of the same markings on the rock in the above two photos.
"Bells of Rosarita" — Pear Rock, left, and Grove Cabin
This shot from the "Bells of Rosarita" sequence shows Pear Rock on the left and Grove Cabin on the right, with a blurry Gabby Hayes in the middle. Note the muffin-shaped rock above the cabin.
"Law of the Canyon" (Charles Starrett, 1947)
For a period of time the Grove Cabin had this odd-looking fake mine next to it. This mine was unusual because the light-colored fake rock material was combined with an actual rock — the darker angular part to the right of the mine entrance — giving the construction a two-tone effect.
The fake mine area as it appears today
The angular rock that was a part of the mine construction is still in place — here's what it looks like today (near the center of the photo). Also visible in this photo is the tall muffin-shaped boulder that looms above Grove Cabin in the movie shots.
"Law of the Canyon"
This blurry shot from "Law of the Canyon" shows the proximity of the fake mine, on the right, to Grove Cabin, on the left.
"Circus Boy" TV show episode "The Masked Marvel" (premiered Dec. 9, 1956)
Grove Cabin stood from about 1939-1958, a long time by movie set standards. Near the end of that run a second cabin was added to the set, immediately west of the original cabin.
"Gunsmoke" episode "Claustrophobia" (premiered Jan. 25, 1958)
This shot from the TV series "Gunsmoke" again captures the two Grove Cabins, along with some of the Grove's trademark eucalyptus trees.
"Bells of Rosarita": Muffin-shaped rock behind the cabin
Another shot from "Bells of Rosarita" highlights the rock's muffin shape.
The Grove Cabin site in 2016
A recent photo of the area where the Grove Cabin once stood shows Pear Rock on the left and the muffin-shaped rock on the right.