Promotional still for "The Oklahoma Kid" (1939)
The above promo shot for the James Cagney movie "The Oklahoma Kid," featuring Cagney in a rare Western role, comes courtesy of movie location researcher Jerry England. The rock directly behind Cagney's head can still be found at the former Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif. Unfortunately, the overhanging rock hovering above Cagney no longer exists — it was destroyed around the late 1980s to early 1990s when the Cal West Townhomes development was built.
"The Desert Horseman" (1946)
The one that got away: This is another view of the overhanging rock that hovers above James Cagney in the "Oklahoma Kid" promo still at the top. The thing has had a number of nicknames, the most common being Overhang Rock. I've also seen it referred to as Oklahoma Kid Rock, and I heard recently that some film location researchers have been calling it "Justice Rock," after an appearance by the rock in the Johnny Mack Brown B-Western "Oklahoma Justice." In the above shot from the 1946 Durango Kid movie "The Desert Horseman," the rock reminds me of a rooster, possibly missing its head. Anyway, the shot gives some idea of the scale of Overhang Rock, which was clearly taller than a horse and rider.
"Escort West" (1959)
A shot from the Victor Mature Western "Escort West" shows a portion of Overhang Rock, in the bottom left corner, along with its neighbors, including Cagney Rock, partially visible at bottom center, just to the right of the small tree near the center of the photo. (That tree, by the way, may be the same one, much bigger now, that's blocking the view of Cagney Rock these days — as seen above in the third photo of this blog entry.) This shot gives some idea of the view these rocks had of the rocky Iverson Gorge. The peaks seen in the background, near top center, are across Santa Susana Pass Road from Iverson looking south, above Chatsworth Park.
"Land Beyond the Law" (1937)
Overhang Rock was the object of some wishin' and hopin' on the part of Iverson researchers for years, until the sad truth became known just within the past year or so: Overhang Rock no longer exists. The discovery of the neighboring rocks — Cagney Rock and the larger rock next to it, with no Overhang Rock to be found — had a lot to do with proving Overhang Rock was gone. This screen shot from the Dick Foran Western "Land Beyond the Law" shows Overhang Rock, near the bottom left corner, with the much smaller Cagney Rock partially visible directly above Overhang Rock. The smaller rocks to the right of Overhang Rock are gone now too.
"The Cheyenne Kid" (1940)
Here's a view of the same group of rocks from the opposite side — looking up at them from down the hill, looking more or less to the north — as seen in the Monogram B-Western "The Cheyenne Kid." Seen here, right to left, are Overhang Rock (above and to the right of the cowboy's head), Cagney Rock (the smaller rock perched kind of precariously, directly above the cowboy's head) and the unnamed "bigger and grander" rock to the left of Cagney Rock that also survived and can still be found at the site today.
I couldn't find a DVD version of "The Oklahoma Kid" to link to, but here's a link to a VHS version — at least until someone snaps it up.