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.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Jesus met the woman at the well — so who was that woman he met in the trailer park?

Jesus, played by Nelson Leigh, at "Jacob's Well" in 1952

The Bible story about Jesus' encounter with a Samaritan woman at Jacob's Well was brought to life in the early 1950s in a film series by a Christian-oriented production company called Family Films. The "Jesus met the woman at the well" story was filmed in what is now the swimming pool area of the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village in Chatsworth, Calif. At the time the location was part of the Iverson Movie Ranch.

The scene is included in a 12-episode series of Bible stories that first came out in 1952 and has been repackaged numerous times, marketed in a variety of formats and given several different titles. The most common version these days appears on a DVD set under the title "The Living Bible." Another widely used title for the series — probably closer to the original title — is "Jesus, the Christ." The production has also circulated as "The Life of Christ," among other titles. The individual chapters also have multiple titles and appear to have been edited to various chapter lengths over the years.

Jesus meets the woman at the well. Notice the rock in the top right corner.

Adding to the confusion, a "rival" Christian-oriented film company of the 1950s, Cathedral Films, produced its own similar series of Bible stories, with similar titles. So, for example, "The Living Christ Series," from Cathedral Films, is a completely different production from "The Life of Christ," which is made by Family Films and is an alternate title for "The Living Bible." As I said, it's confusing — and as a result a considerable amount of misinformation circulates about these productions, especially online.

Here's a closer look at that same rock. Notice the indentation above Jesus' head, along with the two horizontal indentations above the pottery.

This is that same rock as it appears in the 1943 Republic serial "Secret Service in Darkest Africa." The shot is from a much different angle, but you'll notice the same two horizontal indentations in the rock — along its left edge in the above shot. For research purposes, I call this rock Walnut. Unfortunately, it no longer exists. Click here for more about Walnut.

That's the same rock, Walnut, from the other side, at top center, in another shot from "Secret Service in Darkest Africa." That mess of rocks to the left is the back side of Tilted Cube, which is still around today. I've talked about Tilted Cube in detail in a previous post, which you can read by clicking here.

Another shot of the back side of Walnut from 1943. Notice the indentation to the right of the fighter. This indentation matches the one above the head of Jesus in one of the shots above from the 1952 Bible movie.

 
Here's a detail shot of the indentation above the head of Jesus in "The Living Bible." It matches the indentation seen in the black-and-white shot above from "Secret Service in Darkest Africa."

In another shot from the 1943 serial "Secret Service in Darkest Africa," you can see the back side of Walnut again, Tilted Cube to its left ... and another rock at far left. This rock is also in the Jesus movie, as seen in the shot below.

This shot from "The Living Bible" (1952) shows Jesus and his followers walking near that same rock seen in the top left corner in the "Secret Service in Darkest Africa" screen shot. Here it's seen at the right. This shot reveals many of this rock's indentations, which at times resemble those on Walnut.

This is what that same rock looks like today in the swimming pool area of the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village. You can see some of those same indentations above the patio table. My research term for this rock is Other Rock.

The rock in the movie — Other Rock — is the one at the far right in this recent shot. A couple of other widely filmed movie rocks also share the space by the pool.

Here's another look at the Jacob's Well set in the movie. You can again see the indentation above Jesus. Again, this is the indentation in Walnut, which no longer exists, and not the similar indentation seen above the patio table, which is in Other Rock.

Walnut again, with the indentation visible above and to the left of the group. Like Walnut, the smoother rock to the right is no longer in place.

Here's another contemporary view of the pool area, including Other Rock at the right, with Cactus Hill in the background. You can see Twin Peaks to the left of the water tanks.

Those same rocks are seen here in the 1941 serial "Adventures of Captain Marvel." The rocks that fill up much of the left half of the shot are part of a group commonly called the Cave Rocks, which often did include a cave, as seen here. 

One thing Jesus told the woman during their encounter, paraphrasing here, is that if she drinks the water from the well, she will be thirsty again soon, but if she drinks the Word of God she will never thirst again. By introducing the idea of a perpetual quenching of thirst, he hints at a perpetual supply of water, i.e., the swimming pool of later years. Believe what you will, but Jesus may have been onto something. Of course, in this case it's only a coincidence. Right?

Below is a link to the 5-DVD set "The Living Bible" on Amazon. The set contains quite a bit of Iverson material, including the "Jesus Met the Woman at the Well" story.

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