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.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Why Corriganville and the Iverson Movie Ranch will never be the same

When the 118 Freeway opened in the late 1960s connecting the San Fernando Valley and Simi Valley, two casualties were the Iverson Movie Ranch and Corriganville. The freeway bisected both filming locations, not only changing the appearance of both sites but also bringing with it traffic noise that made filming difficult.

Here's a prime example of the sedimentary rock formation, or "strata," that is characteristic of the Santa Susana Mountains between the San Fernando Valley and Simi Valley. This rocky hillside is commonly seen in the backgrounds of productions shot at Corriganville, which occupied the eastern end of Simi Valley. This shot looking north from Corriganville is found in Columbia's 1947 Durango Kid (Charles Starrett) B-Western "Riders of the Lone Star."

Here's what that same formation looks like today, with the lower half of it now buried under a large manmade buttress that was built up in front of it to form the foundation for the freeway as it traverses the hills between the two valleys.

 
"The Lone Ranger" TV series, 1949-1957, 
filmed at Iverson and Corriganville

The freeway came in during a period when the business model that made movie ranches like Iverson and Corriganville profitable was already in decline. The B-movie was dead and the early TV production that replaced it had outgrown the "Lone Ranger" and "Roy Rogers" period that kept both movie ranches humming during the 1950s and early 1960s.

Traffic on the 118

Meanwhile, the development pressure and rising land values that came from a rapidly swelling L.A. population — population growth fueled in large part by the burgeoning Hollywood movie industry that places like Iverson and Corriganville had helped nurture — meant that the sprawling movie ranches could no longer be sustained.

Malibu Canyon Fire, 1970

If that weren't enough, the incredibly destructive Newhall-Malibu fires swept through the area in September 1970 and destroyed most of what was left of the movie sets at both sites. Today, virtually all of the movie ranches that once were a prominent feature of the Southern California landscape have disappeared.

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