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.
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Saturday, June 14, 2014

"I am Mister Ed" — No, not me ... movie cowboy Rocky Lane; he really WAS Mister Ed, and a new book promises to tell all about it

One of my favorite movie cowboys is Allan "Rocky" Lane, so I'm pretty excited that a new book is coming out about Rocky, and it looks like it'll be a good one: "I Am Mister Ed ... Allan 'Rocky' Lane Revealed," by Linda Alexander. That's the cover above, and the book can be pre-ordered by clicking here. The official release date is July 4, 2014.

Rocky Lane had a strong run in Republic B-Westerns in the 1940s and 1950s, including starring opposite child actor Bobby Blake — you probably know him as grown-up Robert Blake, aka "Baretta" — in a number of Red Ryder movies.

"Code of the Silver Sage" (1950) — Allan "Rocky" Lane on the roof 
of the Grove Relay Station at the Iverson Movie Ranch

Included in Lane's filmography is an impressive list of movies I consider Iverson masterpieces, all of them from Republic: "Sheriff of Sundown" (1944), "Stagecoach to Monterey" (1944), "Corpus Christi Bandits" (1945), "The Topeka Terror" (1945), "Santa Fe Uprising" (1946), "Rustlers of Devil's Canyon" (1947), "Marshal of Cripple Creek" (1947), "Bandits of Dark Canyon" (1947), "The Bold Frontiersman" (1948), "Carson City Raiders" (1948), "The Denver Kid" (1948), "Marshal of Amarillo" (1948), "Oklahoma Badlands" (1948), "Renegades of Sonora" (1948), "Sundown in Santa Fe" (1948), "Sheriff of Wichita" (1949), "The Wyoming Bandit" (1949), "Code of the Silver Sage" (1950), "Fort Dodge Stampede" (1951), "Frisco Tornado" (1950), "Gunmen of Abilene" (1950), "Night Riders of Montana" (1951), "Black Hills Ambush" (1952), "Desperadoes' Outpost" (1952), "Thundering Caravans" (1952), "Marshal of Cedar Rock" (1953), "Savage Frontier" (1953).

Just to be clear, when I say "Iverson masterpiece," I'm talking more about the rocks and other background features than I am about plot, character development, dialogue, acting, direction and the other traditional attributes that define a good movie. But with Rocky Lane's B-Westerns, the general rule is they're a cut above the rest in those attributes as well. Republic had the hang of it by the time Rocky mounted up, and the company seemed to put a little more effort into its Rocky Lane movies than it did the series headlined by some of its other stars. When it came to B-Westerns, Rocky was on Republic's "A-team."

"Night Riders of Montana" (1951) — Rocky Lane in action

It's an almost unbelievable body of work at one notoriously demanding filming location, the Iverson Movie Ranch, where it was always way too hot in the summer and way too cold and miserable in the winter. But the effort paid off: You almost can't go wrong with a Rocky Lane movie if you're looking for interesting Iverson location shots — not to mention good B-movie cowboy action.

Mister Ed — played by Bamboo Harvester

Of course, the thing that ended up being Rocky Lane's claim to fame, even though he toiled anonymously while the show was on TV, was his voice work on "Mister Ed." Rocky was the only person who could truly say — and DID say — "I am Mr. Ed." Never one to yakkity-yak a streak and waste your time of day, Allan "Rocky" Lane nevertheless had something to say as the famous Mr. Ed for six seasons, providing the horse's voice throughout the sitcom's run from 1961-1966, first in syndication and then for five seasons on CBS.

Allan "Rocky" Lane and Black Jack

In my opinion Allan Lane belongs in the top tier of the B-movie cowboy heroes. He had a natural ease on camera and an imposing physical presence that helped make his heroics believable, and his movies rank among the best of the B-Western genre.

Rocky Lane comic book

The following blurb about Rocky Lane and the new book comes from the website of the publisher, BearManor Media:

Allan Lane has been a mystery almost as long as he's been seen on a movie screen. His audiences have been varied over many, many years. Some know him as the never officially recognized voice of TV's famous talking horse, Mister Ed. There are others who better remember him as Red Ryder, the comic book Western hero-come-to-life at the Saturday afternoon matinee. And even more people remember him as Rocky Lane, yet another Western good guy, and a name which became synonymous with his own. Scores of youngsters over the years in the 1940s and 1950s went to the picture show to while away a happy Saturday afternoon, watching in adolescent excitement as Red Ryder or Rocky Lane fought off all the bad guys on the Western range, always winning the day just in the nick of time. Children were Allan Lane's main audience.

Not nearly as many people are aware that Allan Lane also had an earlier movie career, before he became a fast-riding cowboy. He began in films in 1929 as a handsome, suave "drawing room" romantic type, over the years working with such leading ladies as Barbara Stanwyck, Loretta Young, and Joan Fontaine, among others. He went through many character iterations in those early days, almost to the point of having his own revolving door in and out of Hollywood with nearly as many studio contracts. And before that, even prior to his screen careers, Allan started his love/hate relationship with acting at the age of sixteen on the traveling stage, going from city to city to ultimately make his way to Broadway. Playing various sports filled in the blanks, and his pocketbook, in those days.

Allan "Rocky" Lane with Gerry Ganzer in "Powder River Rustlers" (1949)

Then there was Allan Lane, or as often Alan Lane, the businessman. He began working to help support himself and his family at the tender age of six. He became something of a vagabond, moving from place to place, family member to family member, and even sometimes living on his own in a boarding house. This is how he got his education, took care of his own needs and the needs of his family, and ultimately made his way in the world. Allan Lane owned his own successful photography advertising agency when he was only twenty-four. Years later, when his Hollywood career was fading, he went back to what he knew best ... his business background.

The man was an enigma — arguably misunderstood, but without question so much more than history has yet to show. Until now. "I Am Mister Ed ... Allan 'Rocky' Lane Revealed" finally exposes the full scope of the complicated life of Allan "Rocky" Lane.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My comment is late as I just recently became a member of the Iverson Movie Ranch group but I just want to add that Rocky is one of my favorite movie cowboys, too. We have a collection of his movies and I never tire of watching them. Rocky's professionalism in his acting not only comes through but his ability to portray a good guy who never backed down from setting things right with the bad guys even when no one else dared. At the same time, he could show a tender side of a strong, masculine hero. Allen Lane's personality that shone through in his "Rocky" character truly made him one of my favorites.