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 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

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Classic Rock: The Old Man of the Gorge

The Old Man of the Gorge

Let me introduce a rock character I call the Old Man of the Gorge — that's him in profile in the above photo.

This is what the Old Man looks like from a little farther back. The rock, located on the site of the former Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif., has a history of appearing in film and television productions.

"Around the World in 80 Days" (1956)

One of the Old Man's best appearances was in a movie I'm willing to bet you've heard of — and possibly seen: the widescreen feature "Around the World in 80 Days." In the screen shot above you should be able to pick out the Old Man above the rear pair of horses, nearest the center of the shot.

This is the same shot, with the Old Man of the Gorge highlighted. You can click on any of these photos to see a larger version.

At one point in the movie an Indian Brave appears on top of the Old Man of the Gorge, apparently with intent to ambush a Cavalryman.

The scene offers partial views of a few other widely filmed features of the Lower Iverson Movie Ranch, as highlighted above. Here are some links you can click on to read more about these features: Devil's Doorway, Doglips, Cactus Hill.

Rock and warrior share a closeup.

These days the Old Man shares his space with some nearby condos.

In the movie the Old Man of the Gorge can be seen as part of a group with two other rocks. For the sake of having a way to refer to them, I'll call them the "Three Amigos."

The "Three Amigos" are all still intact, on public property just below the condos. This shot shows them in their current environs.

Iverson's Upper Gorge, as seen in "Khyber Patrol" (1954)

It's not always easy to pick out the Three Amigos in wider shots of Iverson's rocky Upper Gorge, such as the above view of the Gorge in the United Artists movie "Khyber Patrol," about the British colonial period in India. This shot would have been filmed from across the Gorge, from Overlook Point on the western ridge of the Gorge, where a heavy-duty camera mount was in place. The Amigos tend to be in these wide shots of the Gorge, but you have to know where to look.

Here's the same shot from "Khyber Patrol" with the Three Amigos highlighted — along with their more famous neighbor, Lone Ranger Rock. The Amigos were and remain among the closest neighbors to Iverson's most famous rock denizen, and were along the route of the Lone Ranger as he rode up to Lone Ranger Rock at the beginning of each episode of the TV show to rear up and declare, "Hi-yo, Silver!" It all happened right here.

"Panic in Year Zero" (1962)

Depending on how the camera was positioned in the camera mount area at Overlook Point, Lone Ranger Rock and the Old Man of the Gorge have a tendency to overlap, as in the above shot from the atom bomb movie "Panic in Year Zero." The way Lone Ranger Rock and the Old Man of the Gorge are lined up in the shot makes it hard to see either one clearly.

Here's the same shot, highlighting where Lone Ranger Rock ends and the Old Man of the Gorge begins.

Traces of the old camera mount — the track and the 
mount itself — remain in place today at Overlook Point. 

The name "The Old Man of the Gorge" may have been inspired in some small way by the character the Old Man of the Mountain, who appeared in vintage Betty Boop cartoons. His featured role was in this 1933 classic featuring a brief live-action appearance by Cab Calloway and some mildly trippy animation by Dave Fleischer. Check it out:

This post is part of a series on "Classic Rocks" — sandstone giants located on the former Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif., that became a part of not only America's physical landscape but also its cultural heritage, through featured roles in old movies, cliffhanger serials and early TV shows. Other entries in the series can be seen by clicking here.


Billy Sargent said...
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Billy Sargent said...

As a native of New Hampshire, I cannot help but wonder if the Granite State's own pride & joy (sadly gone now after millennia of silent sentry duty) The Old Man of the Mountain in Franconia Notch mightn't have inspired the nom de plum of the Old Man of the Gorge? Or is this simply happy coincidence?
Our own Great Stone Face fell during the small hours of May 23, 2003.

"Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoe makers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.”
― Daniel Webster