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.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Where's the logic? Beloved "Star Trek" figure Leonard Nimoy goes on the warpath

 "Mackenzie's Raiders" (1959) — Leonard Nimoy as Yellow Wolf, right

I believe it's fairly well-known among fans of "Star Trek: The Original Series" that Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played the landmark TV show's iconic and always logical Mr. Spock, worked quite a bit in television before he got that role, including often appearing as Native American characters in early TV Westerns.

Leonard Nimoy, second from left, and other Native American characters on "Mackenzie's Raiders"

I recently ran across a nice example of Nimoy's pre-"Star Trek" work that brought him in full Native American regalia to the Iverson Movie Ranch, where he went on the warpath as the renegade Yellow Wolf in an episode of the TV Western "Mackenzie's Raiders." The episode, titled "Joe Ironhat," first aired in 1959, seven years before Nimoy clocked in as Spock on "Star Trek." In the above shot he appears alongside well-known Chiricahua Apache actor Dehl Berti, at right, playing the title character, Joe Topanga, or "Joe Ironhat."

Dehl Berti, left, and Leonard Nimoy in "Mackenzie's Raiders" 
— with Iverson's Cactus Hill in the background

In "Joe Ironhat," Nimoy's character represents the Native Americans' militant, Cavalry-hating wing while Berti's Joe Topanga is friendly with the white man and is working to make peace. The above shot is taken on the Lower Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif., with widely filmed movie feature Cactus Hill visible behind the actors.

Tensions build until the episode culminates in the inevitable shootout between the Cavalry and the Native Americans. Here Yellow Wolf leads a small band of warriors as they get in position to do battle. You may notice Berti as Joe Topanga hovering reluctantly in the background. The scene takes place in Iverson's North Cluster, adjacent to Garden of the Gods, with this shot featuring a familiar movie landmark, Cleft Rock.

Here's that same shot with Cleft Rock and Nimoy pointed out. You can read more about Cleft Rock by clicking here.

Nimoy's Yellow Wolf, taking cover behind one of the rocks of the North Cluster, aims to gun down as many Cavalrymen as he can.

Meanwhile, Yellow Wolf also has a beef with his rival Joe Topanga. In the above shot Yellow Wolf is coming after Joe with a knife. Nimoy's Yellow Wolf is a real sourpuss, with one of his most frequent lines in the episode being, "You will die!"

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