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 21, 2013

Where did Superman grow up? Right here in Chatsworth, Calif. ... sort of

Kirk Alyn — the original movie "Superman" — at
the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth

The family of the original movie "Superman" joined us last night for a gathering of the Chatsworth Historical Society at the group's Chatsworth history museum, located at the far west end of Devonshire. The centerpiece of the event was a screening of some clips featuring Kirk Alyn in the 1948 Columbia serial "Superman," which filmed most of its location shots at the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth. The serial also starred Noel Neill as Lois Lane and Tommy Bond — formerly the neighborhood bully "Butch" in the "Our Gang" comedies — as cub reporter Jimmy Olsen.

Kirk Alyn and Jean Dean in Radar Patrol vs. Spy King"

A teaser for the event ran on with the headline "Shocking! Superman Grew Up in Chatsworth!" That headline was apparently what caught the attention of Alyn's family and brought them out to the CHS meeting ... a happy ending of sorts — which is just what we've come to expect from Superman. Multiple generations of "Superman's" — well, Alyn's — brood were on hand, including his daughter, grandkids and even a great-granddaughter ... along with spouses. Alyn himself died in Texas in 1999 at age 88 after a distinguished career that included not only the two Columbia "Superman" serials (the second being "Atom Man vs. Superman" in 1950) but also a song-and-dance career in vaudeville and on Broadway along with lead roles in a number of other serials, including Republic's "Radar Patrol vs. Spy King" (1949) and Columbia's "Blackhawk" (1952).

Below is a short YouTube clip from early in the original "Superman" serial, which includes the production's first shots of Iverson. After a brief animated segment, the Iverson material starts at about the 18-second mark, with a scene in which an animated mini-rocket containing the infant Superman falls to Earth on the old Upper Iverson.

Among the Iverson Movie Ranch landmarks appearing in the clip: Rock in the Field, seen in the background in the initial shots of the couple in their old truck (starting around 0:21); Rocky Peak — or Pyramid Peak — at 0:29; the Molar (blink and you'll miss it, with the mini-rocket disappearing behind it at 0:34); and the Upper Iverson's Oak Grove, throughout.

But even with all those impressive landmarks, naturally, it's the infant Superman who steals the show.

I have more to write about the Iverson location work in the "Superman" serials — the second one, "Atom Man vs. Superman," is an even better showcase for the movie ranch. Check back for future posts — including this one with more about the 1948 "Superman." I'll also point you to a previous entry about the 1950s TV show "Adventures of Superman," which shot at least one memorable episode at Iverson. (Click here to see that entry.)


Jon Teboe said...

Great post! I'm sorry I did not hear of this event until today. I met Kirk Alyn in the 1980s at a sci-fi convention in Miami. He was a nice man! ( Ever since I saw the serials, I always wondered if it was indeed Chatsworth! You have finally confirmed it for me. I live very close to Chatsworth. )

Electric Dylan Lad said...

Thanks for the feedback, Jon. Since you're in the area, you may be able to check out some of the sites from the Superman serials and also the TV show. (See the link to "Adventures of Superman" near the bottom of this blog entry to see more about the main Chatsworth/Iverson scene found in the TV show.)

The bulk of the Iverson shoots for "Adventures of Superman" and the 1948 "Superman" serial are on the Upper Iverson, and access is getting harder all the time. But there's a lot more Iverson material in the 1950 serial "Atom Man vs. Superman," and most of that is Lower Iverson and can still be found. Some of it is in the area that has been preserved as Garden of the Gods Park.

Let me know if I can help — my contact info is on the blog.