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.
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• 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.
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• 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.
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Actors who were "born old": Walter Brennan

Some of the best-loved characters of classic film and the early TV era were brought to life by actors who seemed as though they were always old — with Walter Brennan being perhaps the quintessential example.

Walter Brennan as Grandpa Amos 
on "The Real McCoys"

Brennan worked in movies for decades before he became famous, but the idea of a "young Walter Brennan" remains all but unimaginable to most of us. Born in 1894, Brennan was already working in silent movies in his early 30s, and he had a distinguished early career. But he became a household name when he broke through in 1957 — at age 63 —as Grandpa Amos on "The Real McCoys" — which included an appearance by Brennan and his TV family at the Iverson Movie Ranch in the pilot.

The McCoy family's new house in California was portrayed in the series pilot by the Middle Iverson Ranch Set, seen above. Their arrival is discussed in more detail in a previous blog entry that you can find here.

Brennan in "The Westerner" (1940)

Brennan already had three Oscars by the time he launched his TV career, having won three times for supporting roles (the only actor to do so) — for "Come and Get It" (1936), "Kentucky" (1938) and "The Westerner" (1940). He wasn't exactly "OLD old" in his film roles of that era ... but he was already "playing old." He just had that kind of look.

With Audie Murphy in "Drums Across the River" (1954)

He worked his way into his share of movies shot at the Iverson Movie Ranch in the course of his career — among them, "Drums Across the River" (1954) and "Support Your Local Sheriff" (1969).

A highlight of Brennan's TV work at Iverson — from a location standpoint — is "Vengeance Canyon," an episode of the Western anthology series "Zane Grey Theatre" that premiered Nov. 30, 1956. In the above screen shot from the episode, that's the well-known movie rock Sphinx behind the actors.

Another shot of Brennan from the "Vengeance Canyon" episode of "Zane Grey Theatre," this time a portion of the Hole in the Wall section of Iverson can be seen in the background.

This is what those same rocks — Iverson's Hole in the Wall, seen in the background in the Walter Brennan shot above — look like today. You may be able to spot the similarities in the outline of the rock at the top and its neighbors.

Brennan was all over the Lower Iverson for that 1956 "Zane Grey" episode. Here's a scene that takes place below Lash LaRue's Arch, seen at the left of the shot.

Another scene from the "Zane Grey Theatre" episode "Vengeance Canyon," this one is shot in the Iverson Gorge.

Walter Brennan is the high-profile tip of the iceberg when it comes to those "born old" actors. Most of the others have much less familiar names — but in some cases they have mighty familiar faces. Below are a few of the most beloved fogeys, geezers, codgers and coots — male and female — who worked at Iverson in the days of B-Westerns and early TV ...

Cyril Delevanti ... I posted about him here

Irene Tedrow

Here are a few examples of Walter Brennan's work, available from Amazon ...

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Don't forget how brilliant Walter Brennan was as the old man in My Darling Clementine. Yes - I know it wasn't filmed on the Iverson Ranch! He was equally superb winning an Oscar as Judge Roy Bean opposite Gary Cooper in The Westerner.