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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• 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.
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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).
• To go right to the great Iverson cinematographers, click here.
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Where did Daniel Boone teach young Izzy Boone to shoot the Pennsylvania long rifle? On the Iverson Movie Ranch!

Fess Parker in "Daniel Boone" (1965)

Fess Parker became the quintessential TV version of not one but two legendary real-life American frontiersmen, first as Davy Crockett in a miniseries that aired from 1954-1955 as part of "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color," and later as Daniel Boone in a popular adventure series that ran for six seasons on NBC, from 1964-1970.

"Daniel Boone" episode "Doll of Sorrow" (premiered April 22, 1965)

It was as Daniel Boone that Parker found his way to the Iverson Movie Ranch. The above shot from the NBC series includes a portion of Rock Island in the background, at top left. The "Doll of Sorrow" episode featured this opening segment shot on the Lower Iverson along with a later segment taped on the Upper Iverson.

Fess Parker and young Darby Hinton in "Doll of Sorrow"

In the opening moments of the episode, Daniel Boone teaches his son, Israel Boone, or "Izzy," played by Darby Hinton, how to shoot the frontiersman's trademark Pennsylvania long rifle.

The target is a small gourd hanging from a tree, at the center of the shot. In the background the familiar rock wall and other rock features known collectively as "Hole in the Wall" can be seen.

This version of the shot highlights the rock arch that gives the Hole in the Wall its name (noted in yellow), along with other key components of the widely filmed Hole in the Wall rock formation.

Today the Hole in the Wall provides a rocky backdrop for the Cal West Townhomes.

Two of the key features of the Hole in the Wall rock group are noted here. It's a bit of a challenge, but the features in their current setting can be matched up with the "Daniel Boone" shot. Please click here to read a previous post about the Hole in the Wall.

To young Izzy's delight, his Pa finally lets him handle the rifle. The male bonding session plays out against the backdrop of the Lower Iverson's Rock Island along with some of the features of an area I call "Batman Corner," which is around the corner from Batman Rock.

Of course the first thing the youngster does with the heavy weapon is drop it. Fess Parker's patience and fatherly tenderness are on ample display during the sequence.

Some of the main background rock features are identified here.

Izzy shows he's game, even as he continues to struggle with the heft and length of the rifle.

With the help of a rudimentary monopod, young Izzy finally does get a shot off — and at least in this fictionalized version of the lesson, he hits the target.

Unfortunately, a traveling salesman happens to be driving by in his horse-drawn cart at that exact moment.

The large rock noted here was a prominent feature of Batman Corner, but became a casualty of condo development in the late 1980s when that entire section of the Iverson Gorge was filled with dirt.

Izzy's shot frightens the traveling salesman's horses, who rear up and then take off running.

As the horses run out of control they race up Garden of the Gods Trail, where they pass Hawk Rock.

Hawk Rock and other features seen in the "Daniel Boone" shot are identified here.

A recent photo of the same area provides a view of Hawk Rock from a similar camera angle.

To read a previous post about Hawk Rock, please click here, and for still more about the rock, find "Hawk Rock" in the long index of labels running down the right side of the page.

The runaway horse sequence ends in a wagon crash, ratcheting up the tension. As Izzy looks on, Fess Parker, right, tries to reason with the angry owner of the horse cart, played by prolific character actor Edward Binns.

Inevitably, the two men fight — with Izzy, at far left, closely eyeing the action. The fisticuffs take place in a small clearing I call the Arena, which is still intact and is situated just off the main trail into Garden of the Gods.

This is the site of the fistfight today. The large rock on the left, with a notch along its right edge, is the one Izzy stands in front of in the "Daniel Boone" shot. You can read more about the Arena in an earlier post by clicking here.

As the men continue to scuffle, we get a closer look at a rock cluster dominated by a distinctive "ledge" rock.

Here's another view of the ledge rock and its neighbors as they appear today. The "Arena" is now on public parkland and can be easily accessed by visiting Garden of the Gods Park in Chatsworth, Calif.

Entrance gate into Garden of the Gods, on Redmesa Road

Directions to Garden of the Gods, and the Arena: From Topanga Canyon Boulevard just below the 118 Freeway, head west on Santa Susana Pass Road and take the first right, onto Redmesa Road. Park just below where the condos begin, and you should be able to find the trail into Garden of the Gods, behind the metal gate on the west side of Redmesa. The Arena is a short distance up the trail, on the right side.


Mark said...

I love the then and now photos. Daniel Boone was one of my favorite shows back when I was a kid. Thanks for this post!

Swami Nano said...

You bet! Thanks for your feedback, Mark.

I've only found one episode so far that was shot at Iverson, but as you can see, it contained some good shots.

I'm still going over the rest of the series, but 1964-1970 was a bit after the target period for Iverson and I'm not really expecting to find anything else. They were probably already building the 118 Freeway by the time they shot the "Doll of Sorrow" episode, so it would have been one of the later productions to shoot on the Lower Iverson. (Not counting the occasional "straggler" like "Deathsport" in 1978.)

Thanks again!