Detail shot of the Three Stooges from the above screen shot
From this angle the feature appears to consist of two main rocks, so why not the Two Stooges? Because that wouldn't be much of a cultural reference, but more to the point, the formation is in fact made up of three large rocks. The third one is hard to make out here because it's directly in front of (and smaller than) the wider rock that makes up the right half of the pair.
"Wild Horse Ambush" (Republic, 1952)
Here we get a better look at why it's THREE Stooges. This shot from the B-Western "Wild Horse Ambush" shows the Three Stooges rock formation from a different angle. That's Platypus filling up most of the left half of the frame, Fish Head to its right and the smaller, unnamed "Third Stooge" at far right.
Platypus and Fish Head have been featured in a number of previous posts, which can be found by clicking on the links in this sentence. I suppose the "Third Stooge" can be thought of as the Shemp/Curly/Joe Besser/Curly Joe DeRita slot in the lineup.
Detail shot of the Midway Rocks
Another point of interest in the opening credits shot above is the horizontal rock just above the word "Screen." It's the main rock in a small cluster I call the Midway Rocks, located roughly midway between the North and South Rims of the Upper Iverson.
"Shadows on the Sage" (1942)
The 1942 oatburner "Shadows on the Sage," in which Tom Tyler, Bob Steele and Jimmie Dodd play the Three Mesquiteers, offers another view of the Midway Rocks, at the right in the above screen shot, in the distance, with the large horizontal rock still dominating the formation. Also, here again the Three Stooges — the rocks — can be seen, just above the guy in the cowboy hat, partially obscured by foliage. Like the Three Stooges rock formation, whatever's left of the Midway Rocks is now found in the backyard of a residential estate.
"Manhunt of Mystery Island" (1945)
Directly above the Midway Rocks in the "Shadows on the Sage" shot is a small (dark) foothill with a pointed top. The above shot from the 1945 Republic serial "Manhunt of Mystery Island" shows this dark peak again, near top center, along with its "twin," to its right. The twin looks larger from this angle, but in reality these two distinctive peaks are similar in size and appearance. For that reason they've earned a mildly lewd nickname that I won't repeat here — but feel free to use your imagination. This shot is taken from a different angle from the others, but again shows the Three Stooges rock formation at top left — again looking more like Two Stooges. An interesting bonus here is that the shot provides an unusual view of the concrete bridge on the South Rim, visible in the foreground. The bridge had a tendency to blend into the background, and this is possibly the only view I've seen that reveals the unusual V-shape of the concrete wall forming the left (west) side of the bridge.
Click here to see a post that goes into more detail about the fate of Center Rock, with additional movie shots of it.
Phineas Gage, including his doctor's depiction of his injury, from 1868 (at left)
Click here to see an earlier entry about Frankenstein.
Gold Raiders Rock
Here's an interesting rock that's still in place on the old Upper Iverson. The rock — the one the shooters are hiding behind, at the left of the screen shot — took on the name Gold Raiders Rock because of this appearance in "Gold Raiders." The rock is manmade, in a way, with the smaller boulder at the top having been cemented in place. In earlier productions the same rock can be found without the smaller rock on top, as seen below. "Gold Raiders," in 1951, was one of the first appearances of the rock with its new top in place.
click here to see the rock in a "Bonanza" episode, and here to see it in the TV show "Adventures of Superman."
Here's the link again to Part I of this series of blog entries on the Three Stooges, focused on their 1959 movie "Have Rocket, Will Travel." And here's a link to Part III, on "The Three Stooges Meet Hercules."
If you're interested in tracking down a copy of "Gold Raiders," please try the Amazon links below.