"Along Came Jones" (1945): The General Store
The General Store was one of the town's fanciest buildings when the Iverson Western street was new, and the structure received a lot of screen time in its movie debut, in Gary Cooper's "Along Came Jones."
"Along Came Jones" — Gary Cooper at the General Store
Cooper produced and starred in the RKO Western — the lone producer credit on his resume. He had the town set built specially for the movie, and in keeping with the policy of the Iverson Ranch, the set remained in place after the production shut down. The Iverson family could then make it available for other productions.
"Along Came Jones"
The Western street stood for the next 12 years, undergoing a number of major renovations and becoming one of the location ranch's most widely filmed sets. The General Store, seen at top center in this screen shot, was filmed from a variety of angles for "Along Came Jones."
"Calamity Jane and the Texan" (1950)
Located at the northeast corner of town, the General Store often served as a stage stop over the years, as it did in the Columbia Western "Calamity Jane and the Texan."
"Calamity Jane and the Texan"
The nearby Sheriff's Office can be seen at the right and a little bit of the Barn is visible near the center of the frame in another shot of the General Store in "Calamity Jane and the Texan."
"Montana Incident" (1952): The General Store, with Pond Rock at left
In what appears to be a "day-for-night" shot from the Whip Wilson movie "Montana Incident," we get a bird's-eye view of the General Store — possibly shot from the second story of the Hotel. The sunlight areas are the giveaway in day-for-night shots, and here the shot appears to unintentionally shine light on Pond Rock.
"Along Came Jones"
You may be able to pick out Pond Rock again in this shot from the town's movie debut. The photo features the front of the General Store and part of the neighborhood to the north. Two rarely seen buildings appear in the shot, along with a portion of the oft-filmed Center Rock in the background. In the distance is Cactus Hill.
"El Paso" (1949)
Even caught in a dust storm in the Paramount Western "El Paso," the General Store is distinguished by its pale blue paint job. This is another movie where the building plays a stage depot.
"Check Your Guns" (1948)
After a splashy debut in "Along Came Jones," the look of the storefront was toned down. A shot from the Eddie Dean Western "Check Your Guns" offers a view of the General Store's new "no frills" front deck area.
"Calamity Jane and the Texan" — The General Store, right, and Casa Grande
Once Casa Grande surfaced in 1949, redefining the north end of the Iverson town set, the General Store, at the right, often shared the screen with the new building, seen here in 1950.
"Gold Raiders" (1951)
Long shots of the town looking toward the north typically included a view of the front end of the General Store, which jutted out into the street. This example comes from the Three Stooges movie "Gold Raiders."
"Ghost Town Renegades" (1947)
Like the rest of the town, the General Store had to endure a series of "reverse makeovers" to appear in dilapidated condition as part of a ghost town. For "Ghost Town Renegades," a section of the roof was ripped out.
"El Paso" (1949)
The town set cleaned up nicely when it served the purpose of the production. As the vibrant title city in "El Paso," the Western street was a hub of activity.
"Son of Paleface" (1952) — Another role as a ghost town
In another example of "reverse engineering," from the Bob Hope comedy "Son of Paleface," the General Store was again dressed down to appear in rundown condition. Cue the tumbleweeds.
"Adventures of Rin Tin Tin" (1955)
The General Store was again in a ramshackle state when Rin Tin Tin came to town a few years later. In this shot the famous German shepherd sniffs out danger on the walkway in front of the boarded-up store. The shot comes from the episode "The Ghost Town," which premiered April 29, 1955.
"The Iverson Movie Ranch Western street, one building at a time" is a series of posts on the movie and TV history of each of the major structures making up Iverson's town set, which stood from 1945 to 1957 and appeared in hundreds of productions.
To see all of the posts in the series on the Iverson Western street, please click on the following links:
Part I: Casa Grande
Part II: The Livery Stable
Part III: The Saloon
Part IV: The Hotel
Part V: The General Store
Part VI: The Barn
Part VII: The Sheriff's Office
Part VIII: The North and South Adobes
Part IX: The Lost Dutchman
Part X: The original north end of town
Part XI: The North and South Towers
Part XII: The Harness Maker
Part XIII: Rainbow Mine Co.
Part XIV: The Church/Schoolhouse
Part XV: The Corral Rocks Shack
Part XVI: The decline and fall of the Western street