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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• 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).
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Monogram commits to Harry Carey

 "China's Little Devils" (1945)

I'm about as hard to convince as anyone that a building actually existed where the filmmakers want us to think it did — rather than being "placed" there through special effects. But it appears that they actually did put up a building on the Upper Iverson for Monogram Pictures' barely seen World War II movie "China's Little Devils," starring Harry Carey. In the above shot the building appears in front of Cap Rock, one of the most familiar Upper Iverson features due to its prominent role in countless B-Western chase sequences.

The building is shot from a number of angles in the movie, and appears with a variety of the Upper Iverson's known rock features. In this screen shot the rock known as the Molar appears at top left, with the building at top right.

Here's another shot of the Molar from the same movie, with Harry Carey, as Doc Temple, lining up a group of Chinese youngsters. The shot is taken from a different angle from the previous shot, and Cactus Hill can be seen in the background.

Harry Carey and a young actor in "China's Little Devils" (1945)

The movie was one of the last for Harry Carey, who spent much of his career in the silents. Some readers may be more familiar with the work of his son, actor Harry Carey Jr., who segued from B-Westerns in the 1940s and 1950s to a long career in television. But Carey Jr.'s dad, Harry Carey Sr., had an even more prolific acting career. Besides being one of the top stars of the silent movie era, he transitioned successfully to the talkies and was nominated for an Oscar in 1940 for "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

Here's another shot that includes the building — I'll call it "Carey's Cabin." In this shot the background includes Rock in the Field, as noted in the next photo.

This is the same shot with Rock in the Field highlighted.

Rock in the Field, as seen in "The Lowest Bidder," a 1954 episode of the TV series "The Cisco Kid"

For comparison, here's a shot of Rock in the Field from a different production — an episode from season five of the "Cisco Kid" TV series that first aired Oct. 30, 1954. Rock in the Field is at the center of the shot. Notice the positions and shapes of the trees behind the rock — the tree at far left, and the one just behind the rock. If you compare these to the trees near Rock in the Field in the "China's Little Devils" shot above, you can tell they're the same trees, and the angles used in the two productions are similar.

"China's Little Devils," left, and "The Cisco Kid," right

The above shot compares the two productions, showing how the trees, even nine years apart, retain enough of their shape to help make a positive ID on Rock in the Field, in turn helping to pinpoint the location of the building in "China's Little Devils."

Another angle on Carey's Cabin. I have yet to spot the building anywhere other than in "China's Little Devils."

Recessed central area of Carey's Cabin in "China's Little Devils"

All indications are that Carey's Cabin was built specifically for "China's Little Devils" — the indications being mainly (1) it's not showing up anywhere else, and (2) it's used extensively in the movie. Given the tight budgets that were standard at the Poverty Row studios, including Monogram, the structure reflects an unusual level of commitment on the part of the company to the movie and Harry Carey.

Harry Carey Jr., left, and Harry Carey Sr., right

Them fightin' Carey boys.

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