Peter Graves in "Fury" (1956) — on the North Rim at the Iverson Movie Ranch
Peter Graves achieved his greatest fame as Mr. Phelps, head of the Impossible Missions Force on the classic spy show "Mission: Impossible" in the 1960s. (Insert your own "self-destruct" joke here.) But earlier in his career he was devoted adoptive dad Jim Newton on the TV show "Fury," raising Joey, played by Bobby Diamond, and helping to nurture the bond between the youngster and the stallion Fury at the Broken Wheel Ranch in California.
The same rocks as they appear today, on the North Rim of the Upper Iverson
The fondly remembered "Fury" is one of the most Iverson-intensive TV shows of all time, having shot parts of almost every episode on the movie ranch during its five-year run on NBC, from 1955-1960. The above shot, taken by film historian Cliff Roberts on a recent research stop at the North Rim, captures the same rocks seen behind Peter Graves in the top photo. You may be able to match up some of the holes in the rocks, such as the round one above the brim of Graves' hat. For research purposes I call this the Skull Rock area.
Rocks Across the Way — on the North Rim of the Upper Iverson
This bird's-eye view of the area shows the not-yet-developed parcel in the bottom right corner, immediately adjacent to Rocks Across The Way-East on the formation's south side. Solar panels for a home on the north side have been incorporated into the rock area, and the rocks form a backdrop for both a residential swimming pool, at top right, and a small basketball court — the red area closer to the center of the photo. You may want to click on these shots to see a larger version with much more detail.
"Montana Territory" (1952)
This shot includes a more familiar view of the Rocks Across the Way, from the Columbia B-Western "Montana Territory." The rocks are seen in the distance, which is how they were most commonly filmed. The flat expanse in front of the Rocks Across the Way, also visible in the background, contained a network of chase roads and well-maintained camera car roads. The Rocks Across the Way thus became a common sight in the backgrounds of chase sequences filmed throughout the B-Western era and the early days of the TV Western.
The Fury Set in 1955 — its first appearance in "Fury," in the show's fifth episode
Regular readers of this blog may already know that for almost the entire run of "Fury" — all but the first four episodes — the Broken Wheel Ranch was in fact a set on the Upper Iverson, including buildings constructed specifically for the TV show. The Fury Set, as it's still known (although the set perished in the wildfires of 1970), initially consisted of just a barn and corral, with a rarely filmed main house and a smaller cabin added later.
"Fury" episode "The Earthquake" (1956)
This shot from an episode early in season two of "Fury" shows Joey, played by Bobby Diamond, hard at work in the corral area of the Fury Set. In the background we can see a portion of the Rocks Across the Way-East.
Midway House — located south of the Fury Set and used as the family home in "Fury"
Construction of another house a short distance to the south of the Fury Set, which I call Midway House, was completed in time for season two of "Fury" and became the family home for the remainder of the TV show. The above shot of Midway House comes from the "Fury" episode "An Old Indian Trick," which first aired Feb. 14, 1959, during the show's fourth season.
William Fawcett, Peter Graves and Bobby Diamond (left to right) at Midway House
Here's a shot of the three main protagonists in "Fury" on the front porch of Midway House, from the episode "Trial by Jury." B-Western fixture William Fawcett, at left, was on hand for the full five-year run of the show, playing Pete Wilkey, who cooked and helped out around the house while Jim Newton (Peter Graves) was busy ranching and parenting. Bobby Diamond's mission as young Joey Newton was to be a kid and have adventures.
previous blog entry you can go to by clicking here has a section on Smiling Lion with more details and photos.
William Fawcett and Peter Graves at Skull Rock in "Fury"
Someone apparently thought Peter Graves looked like a Jim, because besides playing Jim Newton on "Fury," he also played one — Jim Phelps — on "Mission: Impossible." Graves won a Golden Globe in 1971 for his work on "Mission: Impossible." His brother was another well-known Jim: James Arness, known to the world as Marshal Dillon on "Gunsmoke."