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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Thursday, January 1, 2015

The TV series "Branded" reveals another side of the Fury House — and Lassie's Mom

"Branded" (1965) — Fury House, on the Upper Iverson

One episode of the fondly remembered Western TV series "Branded" — Chuck Connors' follow-up to his long run as "The Rifleman" — had a substantial shoot on the Upper Iverson. The screen shot above, presenting a rarely seen angle on the house that was a part of the Fury Set, comes from the episode "The Vindicators."

Claude Akins comes a-callin' on June Lockhart at the Fury House

"The Vindicators" featured guest appearances by Claude Akins and June Lockhart, both of whom were already TV fixtures by the time the "Branded" episode premiered, on Jan. 31, 1965. It was only the second episode of the series, which went on to a two-season run — 48 episodes — on NBC, airing from 1965-1966.

June Lockhart on the Upper Iverson — on the porch of the Fury House

Lockhart was between two celebrated TV gigs at the time. Earlier in 1964, the same year "The Vindicators" was produced, Lockhart wrapped up her six seasons as "Lassie's Mom" — Ruth Martin, adoptive mother of the perpetually wellbound Timmy on "Lassie." She would soon launch into space for her other iconic TV role, playing Mrs. Robinson — Maureen — for three seasons on "Lost in Space," from 1965-1968.

Claude Akins on the Fury Set

Akins had been a regular on both the big screen and the little one since the early 1950s. His guest appearances on early TV shows are too numerous to do justice to here, but just to whet your appetite, Akins popped up on "Dragnet," "Adventures of Superman," "My Friend Flicka," "Whirlybirds," "Have Gun — Will Travel," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Perry Mason," "Maverick," "Cheyenne," "Bronco," "The Restless Gun," "Bat Masterson" ... and that's just in the 1950s.

"The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo" — Mills Watson, left,
Claude Akins and Brian Kerwin

Akins would later pad his TV resume as Sheriff Lobo on two NBC sitcoms: "B.J. and the Bear," where he helped the show get off the ground with an arc in 1978-1979, and its spinoff "The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo," where Akins stepped up to the lead role.

I'm reluctant to blame Akins, who was a fine actor, but "Misadventures," despite surviving for two seasons on NBC, from 1979-1981, became known as one of TV's worst shows. TV Guide eventually codified that sentiment when it released its "50 Worst TV Shows of All Time" in 2002, ranking "Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo" at No. 36.

"Branded" (1965) — Fury Set

The above shot from "The Vindicators" includes a portion of the Fury Barn, along with the edge of the Fury House and part of its picket fence, viewed from the east. This is a fairly uncommon angle on the Fury Barn, which is usually seen from the opposite side.

The background hills to the west include Pyramid Peak and the Dragon's Back, as noted above. Those are my names for the features, which are commonly seen in the backgrounds of productions shot on the Iverson Movie Ranch. That part of the Santa Susana Mountains to the northwest of the San Fernando Valley is also known as the Rocky Peak area.

"Frontier Doctor" TV series (1959)

This is a more typical view of the barn, as seen in the Rex Allen TV series "Frontier Doctor." In this shot the Fury House is hidden behind the barn.

"The Gambler Wore a Gun" (1961)

This shot from the Jim Davis B-Western "The Gambler Wore a Gun" has a similar angle on the Fury Barn, but in this case a portion of the Fury House can be seen peeking out from behind the barn.

"Cimarron Strip" (1968)

Here's another view of the Fury Barn, in color this time but again showing mainly its western side. The shot comes from the "Fool's Gold" episode of the TV show "Cimarron Strip," which premiered Jan. 11, 1968.

"Fury" TV series (1955)

The barn was built in 1955 for the TV series "Fury," with the house built about three years later. The set as a whole, which also included the corral and a cabin west of the corral that was added later, is generally known as the Fury Set or the Fury Ranch Set. However, it does not appear that the house next to the barn was used in "Fury."

1959 aerial photograph of the Fury Set and Midway House areas

A house located a short distance south of the Fury Set, which I call Midway House, was used as the family home on the TV show "Fury." The 1959 aerial photo above shows the positions of the Fury Set and Midway House.

It's worth noting the location of what is probably a movie truck on the Fury Set, which happened to be caught when the 1959 aerial photo was taken. The truck is parked near the Fury House, where the truck, along with the house, would have been out of view of cameras shooting the barn and the western end of the Fury Set. Another truck appears to be parked near the Midway House.

"The Gambler Wore a Gun" (1961) — Midway House, right, and the Fury Set

This shot from "The Gambler Wore a Gun" provides a rare view of parts of Midway House and the Fury Set in the same frame. A portion of Midway House fills up the right half of the photo, while the Fury Barn and Fury House can be seen in the background at the left. For better pictures of Midway House, please see this previous blog post.

"Have Gun — Will Travel" (1958)

This may be the earliest appearance by the Fury House, which saw the bulk of its action in movies and TV shows starting around 1958 and continuing through the 1960s. The house, which was not filmed frequently, was typically shot from angles similar to the one used above, showcasing its southwest face.

The shot comes from the "Have Gun — Will Travel" episode "The Lady," which premiered Nov. 15, 1958. This version of the shot points out the porch area that is part of the house's southeast face and is featured in the screen shots from the TV show "Branded" seen at the top of this post. Oat Mountain, to the north, appears in the background.

The Fury House made a nice appearance near the end of the four-season run of the TV series "The Fugitive." A corner of the house can be seen above in the background of one of the title cards for the episode "The Shattered Silence," which premiered April 11, 1967. It was the last episode before the show's famous two-part finale.

"The Fugitive" (1967)

That's David Janssen, still on the run as Dr. Richard Kimble, arriving at the Fury House.

Here's a good look at the southwest face of the Fury House as it appeared in "The Fugitive."

Burt Reynolds at Fury House (1962)

The Fury House also surfaced in a 1962 Burt Reynolds photo shoot for "Gunsmoke." You can see additional photos from the shoot, which included pics of Reynolds at the Fury Barn, by clicking here.

"Black Saddle" TV series (1959)

This is a shot that only a film location researcher could love, as it includes precious little detail and doesn't have any particular artistic merit. But I did find a lot to love here, once I realized that the Fury Barn and Fury House appear in the background. Besides placing the Fury Set in the wider context of the Upper Iverson, the shot underscores that the rarely seen southeast face of the Fury House may have been more substantial than its more frequently shot southwest face.

This version of the shot points out the manmade structures in the background, along with Oat Mountain, which can again be seen to the north. Sadly, the Fury Set appears to have been destroyed in the massive Southern California wildfires of fall 1970.

Chuck Connors and Claude Akins (1965)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice post. I especially like the wide shot showing the proximity of the Fury Barn and house in the big scheme of things. Nice start to 2015. Happy New Year! Rick