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.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lobby card for the Hopalong Cassidy movie "Undercover Man" paints a graphic picture of what happened in the Iverson Gorge

This lobby card for the 1942 Hopalong Cassidy movie "Undercover Man," from the collection of film historian Jerry England, features a photo that says more about what happened in the Iverson Gorge than just about any single shot I've seen. In the photo, the men in the foreground — including William Boyd, at the far left, as Hoppy — are taking cover behind Shirley Temple Rock, while the men farther back are gathered on and around Wyatt Earp Rock.

Shirley Temple Rock got its name from an appearance by the young actress in the Iverson Gorge in John Ford's 1937 war movie "Wee Willie Winkie." You can read more about that appearance, and about Shirley Temple Rock, by clicking here or, for additional details, by clicking on "Wee Willie Winkie" in the previous sentence.

This shot points out the large and complex feature Wyatt Earp Rock, which derives its name from the TV show "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp." I've blogged previously about the rock's appearance in the show, and you can read that entry by clicking here. I also want to point you to this post that goes into detail about the shoot in the Iverson Gorge for the 1935 movie "The Lives of a Bengal Lancer," which has additional material on Wyatt Earp Rock.

"Stagecoach" (1939) — sequence introducing John Wayne

Wyatt Earp Rock is the same rock that can be seen behind John Wayne during the famous sequence in which he makes his entrance as the Ringo Kid in the 1939 John Ford Western "Stagecoach." In the screen shot above, Wyatt Earp Rock is on the left, filling up much of the left half of the screen. The sequence introducing Wayne's character is stitched together using a number of locations, including Monument Valley, with this part of the sequence filmed in the Iverson Gorge.

Unfortunately, all of the features noted above are now gone. From a movie history standpoint, the story told by the "Undercover Man" lobby card is one of destruction. In the area where Shirley Temple Rock, Wyatt Earp Rock and other important and heavily filmed movie rocks once stood, today we find a row of condos, part of the Cal West Townhomes, which went up in the late 1980s.

One of the few rock features seen in the lobby card that has survived the development of the Iverson Gorge is the Football, along with its distinguishing "grass insert." This important rock feature, which I've blogged about before, enables us to easily pinpoint the location and compare the area as it looked in 1942 with the same location as it appears today.

The Football and grass insert are visible in the recent shot of the condos, as indicated in this annotated version of the photo. With this perspective in mind we can see that the area depicted here, showing two rows of condos, is roughly the same area presented in the lobby card, showing the Football along with the movie rocks that were destroyed when the condos were built. In a broad sense, the key rocks seen in the lobby card were replaced by the row of condos along the right.


One way to get ahold of a DVD copy of "Undercover Man" is on Volume 5 of the Hopalong Cassidy set on Amazon, which I've included as the first link below. The numbered sets are super-cheap and each one contains five Hoppy movies. In addition to "Undercover Man," the others on Volume 5 are "Three Men From Texas," "Stick to Your Guns," "The Dead Don't Dream" and "Colt Comrades." All five movies also feature Andy Clyde. For your Hoppy pleasure, I'm including links to a number of other Hopalong Cassidy sets as well.


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