"The Adventures of Spin and Marty" (1955)
Getting the trees to tell their stories is a relatively untapped branch of Iverson Movie Ranch research, and one that's in some ways more challenging than using rocks to reveal history. After all, trees don't hold their shape over the decades quite as well as rocks do. But there comes a time when a tree is the best person to tell a story. The scene depicted above, from the Disney production "The Adventures of Spin and Marty," is a good example. (Credit Disney for any screen shots from "Spin and Marty" that appear here.)
The same shot, with an Iverson landmark noted
I was skeptical at first when "Spin and Marty" expert Kurt Spitzner suggested that the bear sequence was shot at Iverson. But as is usually the case with Kurt and anything to do with "Spin and Marty," he was absolutely right. Kurt's research pointed to the Oak Flats area of the Upper Iverson, where many of the original oak trees — not all of them, unfortunately — have survived. Kurt spotted a number of rocks in the background that turned out to be known Iverson rocks, with the clincher for me being Rock in the Field, as noted above.
"The Golden Stallion" (1949)
The above shot from Republic's color B-Western "The Golden Stallion," starring Roy Rogers, offers a more familiar view of Rock in the Field. The rock was commonly seen during chase sequences in old Western movies and early Western TV shows, typically appearing to be out in the middle of a field (hence, the name).
1952 aerial photo of the Oak Flats section of the Upper Iverson
With Rock in the Field as a known landmark, the search for the tree in the "Spin and Marty" bear sequence zeroed in on the area seen in the above aerial photo from 1952, which depicts the section of the former Upper Iverson Movie Ranch known as "Oak Flats."
Tree A: "Bear Tree," as it appears today
After I obtained photos of all of the trees in question, it became immediately apparent that Tree A — now known in my research as "Bear Tree" — is the mighty four-trunked oak seen in "Spin and Marty."
Interactive map from Kurt Spitzner's "Spin and Marty" site cinchset.com
Please do yourself a favor — especially if you have fond memories of "Spin and Marty" — and check out Kurt's incredibly well-researched cinchset.com website, devoted to all things "Spin and Marty." The site's emphasis is on the first, and widely considered the best, of the three "Spin and Marty" productions, "The Adventures of Spin and Marty," which aired during 1955 as part of "The Mickey Mouse Club." While "Spin and Marty" shot mainly at Disney's Golden Oak Ranch in Newhall — which is still operating as a filming location — Kurt's site includes a number of pages devoted exclusively to "Spin and Marty" location shoots at the Iverson Movie Ranch, which you can access directly by clicking here. His recent research on Bear Tree and the Upper Iverson, including the interactive map seen above, can be found by clicking here and going to the bottom of the page.
Below is a link to the DVD set "Walt Disney Treasures: The Adventures of Spin & Marty," which is the same set I used in my Bear Tree research: