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.
• Your feedback is appreciated — please leave comments on any of the posts.
• 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.
• To join the MAILING LIST, send me an email at iversonmovieranch@gmail.com and let me know you'd like to sign up.
• 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.
• Readers can email the webmaster at iversonmovieranch@gmail.com.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Devil's Pass, Vultura's Pass and another look at everyone's favorite Wookiee from "Star Wars"


Chewbacca — rising above Devil's Pass (aka Vultura's Pass)

It's high time I update my blog entry from a few years ago on the Iverson rock I call Chewbacca.

Not everyone sees the resemblance between the rock and the beloved "Star Wars" Wookiee (often spelled Wookie), but it popped out at me the first time I saw the rock in person. Your mileage may vary, and I hope I get comments on whether readers see it or not.

"The Lone Ranger" TV show: episode "Devil's Pass" (1950)

The rock is located in a section of the former Lower Iverson I call Devil's Pass. The name comes from the title of an episode of the TV show "The Lone Ranger" that originally aired May 25, 1950. In the above screen shot from the episode "Devil's Pass," the Lone Ranger and Tonto are seen riding west through the pass.

Chewbacca is out of the picture, but would be up high on the right. Directly above Tonto's head is an often filmed rock known as Hangover Rock, which you may want to enlarge the photo (by clicking on it) to get a better look at. (You can find another shot of Hangover Rock at the bottom of this post.)

The same pass is also known as "Vultura's Pass," as it was the location of Vultura's Palace, seen above, in the seminal 1942 Republic serial "The Perils of Nyoka." The pass today remains on private property and is difficult to access other than looking at it over the brick wall that now separates this spot from the nearby condos. Some of the rocks in the above two shots are the same — you may be able to match up the rocks in the above photo that are just above the roof of the palace, near the center-top of the photo, with the same pair of rocks in the "Lone Ranger" shot, near the top-left corner. It's two rocks separated by a curved crack, and if I only had a dime for every time I've heard that expression.

Here's a shot of the evil Vultura, played by Adrian Booth — also known as Lorna Gray — posing for a publicity still for "The Perils of Nyoka" at the Iverson Movie Ranch, courtesy of Western movie expert Jerry England.

Another early shot of Lorna Gray/Adrian Booth, who apparently is still going strong at 95 — it wasn't that long ago, just a few years, that I went to an event in Hollywood to hear the longtime Republic Pictures star reminisce about the studio's Golden Age. Does she have stories!

"Buffalo Bill Rides Again" (1947)

Meanwhile, back at the Pass — Devil's or Vultura's — this is the view from a sniper's outpost up next to Chewbacca, looking west with the Upper Gorge in the background. The riders are entering the west end of the pass, arriving from the north, and will head roughly east. The screen shot comes from the Richard Arlen/Jennifer Holt B-Western "Buffalo Bill Rides Again."

Like most rocks, Chewbacca's appearance changes as it's viewed from different angles and in different light. Sadly, the thing has been hit with a little graffiti, something that has been a bit of a problem on the former Iverson Movie Ranch. It's most evident in the photo at the top of this post.

You might not think this prehistoric-looking thing is the same rock, but it is. Lighting makes a big difference, as illustrated by this shot of Chewie later in the day. Most of the character's "face" is in shade here.

This side of the rock reminds me of something out of the Broadway show "Cats."

There's that brick wall I mentioned, toward the right and down the hill. This is Devil's Pass in recent years, looking more or less southwest. On the other side of the wall are hundreds of condos.

Here's a better look at Hangover Rock, which is also seen in the third photo from the top, above. The precarious-looking feature marks the eastern end of Devil's Pass/Vultura's Pass. The African hut seen in this shot from the summer of 2008 was a set for the NBC TV series "Heroes." Partially visible in the background at the right is a non-movie house that was known as the "Old Folks' House," where Karl and Augusta Iverson, the founders of the Iverson Movie Ranch, lived in their later years. The house burned down just a few months after this photo was taken, in the 2008 Porter Ranch Fire.



NBC's series "Heroes" shot at Iverson for an Africa storyline that was a part of season three.

No comments: