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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• 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).
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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Midway House: One of Iverson's best-kept secrets

"Badman's Country" (1958)

One set that has been largely overlooked among the many structures that stood during the filming era at the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif., is the ranch-style house seen above, which I call Midway House. The structure was located approximately in the middle of the Upper Iverson, midway between the North Rim and the South Rim, two of the location ranch's busiest filming areas. The screen shot above comes from the Warner Bros. Western "Badman's Country," starring George Montgomery.

"Fury" TV show, circa 1958

The above shot of Midway House adds some perspective to the location of the building. The shot depicts the middle section of the Upper Iverson, viewed from the south. The Fury Barn, part of the Fury Set, is seen in the background. I'll pinpoint the key features in the next shot.

This is that same shot from the TV show "Fury," with the main features identified. The Fury Barn was built by 1955 for use in the "Fury" TV series, which aired from 1955-1960. Midway House was built a little bit later, and first surfaces in the "Fury" TV show by fall 1956.

"The Gambler Wore a Gun" (1961)

Another view of the Fury Set, from the United Artists B-Western "The Gambler Wore a Gun," shows that the set included its own house, separate from Midway House and located some distance to the north. I'll again identify the key features in the shot below.

Besides the barn and main house seen above, the Fury Set included a cabin and a corral, which are not visible in this shot.

1959 aerial photo of the Fury Set and Midway House area

This aerial photograph of a portion of the Upper Iverson as it appeared in 1959 shows the juxtaposition of the Fury Set and Midway House, along with the Midway Rocks.

You may have also spotted a couple of other features in the 1959 aerial, which I believe are movie trucks, as noted above.

"The Gambler Wore a Gun" (1961)

Another shot from "The Gambler Wore a Gun" again has the Fury Set and Midway House in the same shot, but with more of Midway House visible this time, filling up the right half of the frame. Midway House is seen mainly in productions made from about 1958-1961, but the house is known to have stood for some time after that period. It is believed to have burned down in the Newhall-Malibu Fires of 1970, which ravaged much of the Iverson Ranch and the surrounding hills.

"Have Gun — Will Travel" TV series (1958)

Here's a better look at the front of Midway House, as it appears in the episode of the TV show "Have Gun — Will Travel" titled "The Lady," which first aired Nov. 15, 1958.

"Badman's Country" (1958)

The front porch of Midway House offered a great view of the Rocks Across the Way, located a short distance to the northwest, as seen in this shot from "Badman's Country."

"Five Guns to Tombstone" (1960)

This is the back side of Midway House, which was made up to look like a bunkhouse. A number of the movie sets at Iverson similarly served dual purposes. The shot comes from the United Artists Western "Five Guns to Tombstone," starring James Brown and John Wilder.

In this view of the "bunkhouse" side of Midway House from "Five Guns to Tombstone," a portion of Cactus Hill is visible in the top left corner.

I'm including links below to DVDs and streaming videos on in case you're interested in following up on some of the movies or TV shows featured in this post:

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