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.
• Readers can email the webmaster at iversonmovieranch@gmail.com.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Disney legend Annette Funicello dies; looking back on a memorable appearance by the Mouseketeer and beach bunny at the Iverson Movie Ranch

Annette Funicello, 1942-2013

I was sorry to learn today that Annette Funicello had died. The actress known for being a Mouseketeer in the '50s and a beach bunny in a string of 1960s bikini movies — "Beach Blanket Bingo," "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" and others — died this morning at 70 of complications from multiple sclerosis.

Annette Funicello in her Mouseketeer days

Being a Disney regular she didn't work much at the Iverson Movie Ranch, as Disney had its own Golden Oak Ranch in Placeritas Canyon, out in the Newhall area. But Funicello did make it to Iverson at least once, for an episode of the Disney miniseries "The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca."

Annette Funicello, right, as Chiquita Bernal in
"Elfego Baca, Attorney at Law" — shot on the Upper Iverson

The  episode, "Elfego Baca, Attorney at Law," aired Feb. 6, 1959, as part of the "Disneyland" TV series — also known as "Walt Disney Presents" or "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color," among various other names over the span of its many decades on television. As it turns out, Funicello's Iverson shoot for "Elfego Baca" produced an important sighting: an adobe on the Upper Iverson, which I have never seen anywhere else.

The above shot offers one of the best looks at the front of the Elfego Baca Adobe. It was a full building, completed on all four sides, rather than a "front," and the set included a small outbuilding and a sheep corral. The actor seen in this shot (and also seen in the one above it) is Edward Colmans, who plays Funicello's father in the show. I haven't figured out who the uncredited actress is who plays Funicello's sister Lolita.

Annette Funicello, right, with Robert Loggia and Gloria Castillo
in "Elfego Baca, Attorney at Law"

In the above shot and a few others in this post, the familiar hills to the west of Iverson can be seen, pinpointing the location as the Upper Iverson.

Here's an overview of the Elfego Baca Adobe set, which included a corral full of sheep. This view of the set, seen from the northeast, shows the back of the house.

Robert Loggia as Elfego Baca

In the above shot, Robert Loggia, playing the title role of real-life Western attorney and gunman Elfego Baca, arrives at the adobe complex, with some important marker rocks visible in the background. Most of those rocks remain in place today on the site of the former Upper Iverson, although the area is now occupied by a gated community of large estates. The rocks — sometimes referred to as the "Rocks Across the Way," in reference to their relatively remote location on the North Rim of the Upper Iverson — are helpful in further narrowing down the location of the adobe, which was just south of this cluster of rocks.

Annette and her sister peek out from the adobe as actors Edward Colmans, left, Robert Loggia and James Drury, at the center of the shot, talk things out.


This shot looking west offers another view of those distinctive background hills above Chatsworth.

Here's a look at those same background hills in more recent times, along with some of the estates that now occupy the former Upper Iverson.

Annette Funicello and frequent co-star Frankie Avalon in the beach movie days

Known for her physical assets and her beach outfits as much as for her acting — OK, let's be honest: Known MORE for her physical assets than for her acting — Funicello wore "bikinis" that these days even Granny would consider too modest.

3 comments:

Miss Marty said...

Thanks for the Annette tribute! A rare star of Upper Iverson even!.

Anonymous said...

In the late 50's my dad took 6 of us kids "to the hills above Chatsworth" to play cowboys and Indians. We stumbled upon the Iverson Ranch which was not fenced and played all day among the various sets. Note that the Old Yeller house and the ElFago Baca house are the same. The wood crib in the back was where Old yeller died. We had a blast.
PS the caretaker said it was ok to stay and play....just be careful! Would never be allowed today!

Swami Nano said...

Sounds like a great time. The idea that you may have got to play at the Elfego Baca Adobe is especially cool. And yes, it would never happen today.

I took another look at Old Yeller and can confirm that the family house is not at Iverson, and not the same building as the Elfego Baca Adobe. The log cabin seen in Old Yeller appears to me to be in Lindero Canyon in Oak Park, as the Simi Ridge and other familiar Conejo Valley landmarks can be seen in the background. I suspect Disney also mixed in footage shot at Golden Oak Ranch, but that's just a guess.

There is one setting in Old Yeller that's definitely Iverson: The wild boar footage is shot in central Garden of the Gods.

-SN