Here's what the Iverson Movie Ranch obsession is all about ...

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Friday, February 27, 2015

The Iverson Movie Ranch Western street, one building at a time ... Part X: The original north end of town

"Along Came Jones" (1945) — Loretta Young at the north end of the Western street

The original Iverson Western street, built in 1945 for the Gary Cooper-Loretta Young feature "Along Came Jones," included no fewer than five buildings at the north end of town that would be torn down in the next couple of years.

Four of those buildings — the Lost Dutchman, the Barber Shop, the original Blacksmith Shop and a small adobe at the far north end of town — were situated on the west side of the street.

Here's another look at the Barber Shop, Blacksmith Shop and small adobe, again from "Along Came Jones," with Gary Cooper riding his horse across the street. All of these buildings would soon be gone.

"Along Came Jones" — Gary Cooper arrives at the General Store

Also disappearing within a few years would be the small, odd-shaped building to the north of the General Store, on the east side of the street. In this shot the building can be seen above and behind Gary Cooper.

The odd-shaped building is highlighted above. I've never found anything explaining the building's role in "Along Came Jones" or other productions, but the building stood at least until 1947 and made it into a few movies.

"Romance of the West" (1946) — an appearance by the original Blacksmith Shop

"Along Came Jones" was the primary showcase for these early buildings, although the Blacksmith Shop resurfaced the following year in a couple of PRC B-Westerns. The Eddie Dean vehicle "Romance of the West" appears to be the first movie to film in town after production wrapped on "Along Came Jones."

"Romance of the West" — the Barber Shop

It's a little hard to tell from these washed-out shots, but "Romance of the West" was filmed in color — a significant break with B-Western tradition in 1946, and an uncharacteristically expensive move for the notoriously low-budget PRC. While the barber pole remains something close to red, the original Cinecolor has not held up well over time.

"The Caravan Trail" — the original north end of town

PRC continued its move into color with "The Caravan Trail," which premiered just one month after "Romance of the West," in April 1946. Once again an early version of the Iverson Western street was featured — including the original north end of town.

The only copy I've found of "The Caravan Trail" is pretty heavily damaged — note the vertical scoring near the top of the frame. But the movie provides rare color views of some of the short-lived buildings at the north end of town, such as the small adobe.

The original Blacksmith Shop pops up again in the background in "The Caravan Trail," although its painted "Blacksmith — Horseshoeing" sign is hidden.

The shot is taken from the deck area in front of the South Adobe. Like its predecessor "Romance of the West," "The Caravan Trail" was shot in Cinecolor — and in this case the color has held up reasonably well.

Lash LaRue takes a gunfighter's stance in "The Caravan Trail," with the small adobe in the background. It has been reported that the Iverson Movie Ranch had a policy of waiting two years to begin filming the sets left behind by production companies, but it's clear that no such policy was in place when it came to the Western town set.

"Ghost Town Renegades" (1947): The odd-shaped building and Pond Rock

The odd-shaped building near the General Store turns up again in the Lash LaRue B-Western "Ghost Town Renegades," another PRC effort. In this shot two riders approach town from the northeast.

The odd-shaped building, Pond Rock and the northeast road in and out of town are noted in this version of the "Ghost Town Renegades" shot.

"Silver Canyon" (1951) — headed out of town toward the northeast

The same northeast road is seen a few years later in the Gene Autry movie "Silver Canyon." By this time the odd-shaped building had been torn down.

The "Ghost Town Renegades" shot and the "Silver Canyon" shot show almost exactly the same stretch of road, as evidenced by some of the background rocks. The rocks designated here as A, B, C and D ...

... appear again in the "Silver Canyon" shot four years later. The shadow of Pond Rock is visible in both photos, and a couple of large rocks can now be seen toward the left of the screen that were concealed by the odd-shaped building when it was standing.

"Check Your Guns" (1948 release, filmed in 1947)

When the Eddie Dean movie "Check Your Guns" came out in early 1948, the odd-shaped building was still in place.

As it was in "Along Came Jones," the building is partially concealed behind the General Store.

You may have noticed the large rock in the background in some of these shots. Center Rock has its own history apart from that of the Western street, appearing in many movies and TV shows. The rock outlived the town set and today can be found at the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village. Please click here to learn more about Center Rock.

"Ghost Town Renegades" (1947): North end of town in transition

By 1947, all of the buildings north of the South Adobe on the west side of the street had been torn down, and the north end of town was in a period of transition.

A temporary Blacksmith Shed jutted out into the street in the area where the Lost Dutchman previously stood, and a pile of rubble could be found on the previous site of the original Blacksmith Shop.

"The Millerson Case" (1947) — The Blacksmith Shed

We get a good look at the new Blacksmith Shed — complete with blacksmith — in the 1947 Crime Doctor movie "The Millerson Case."

The Blacksmith Shed remained in place for a couple of years while the north end of town was in transition.

"Man From Sonora" (1950)

By 1950 the transition was complete — with the removal of the Blacksmith Shed and the additions of Casa Grande and the North Adobe.

In combination with the South Adobe, which was part of the original town set, the new structures created the effect of an adobe village at the north end of town.

"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

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