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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• 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.
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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).
• To go right to the great Iverson cinematographers, click here.
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Explorers solve the mystery of an inscription on the Sphinx

A rock carving near the base of the Iverson Movie Ranch landmark known as the Sphinx reads: "June 1825, Siedry-Bert." I'm sure only a handful of visitors have ever noticed the inscription, and to most of those who did happen to spot it, the carving would have been a mystery — until now.

Lloyd Bridges on the Iverson Movie Ranch in "The Loner" (1965)

Fellow Iverson explorer Cliff Roberts and I stopped by the Siedry-Bert carving on a recent foray into Garden of the Gods, and when Cliff followed up with some Internet research, he came up with a solid lead: His search pointed him to the old Lloyd Bridges TV series "The Loner."

"Sea Hunt" magazine: Lloyd Bridges as Mike Nelson

Bridges was already a few years removed from his much more heralded run as Mike Nelson on "Sea Hunt" (1958-61) when he tackled "The Loner." Created by "Twilight Zone" mastermind Rod Serling, the new Western series lasted just one season on CBS, 1965-1966, producing 39 episodes.

As far as I know, the maritime-oriented "Sea Hunt," which aired in syndication for four seasons from 1958-1961, did not shoot at Iverson. Locations included Florida and the Bahamas, along with sites in Southern California such as Paradise Cove, Catalina Island and a favorite childhood destination of mine, Marineland of the Pacific.

Lloyd Bridges, right, on the Upper Iverson with John Ireland in "Little Big Horn" (1951)

But the star of "Sea Hunt" and "The Loner," Lloyd Bridges, was well-acquainted with the Iverson Movie Ranch. By the time he became a big TV star in the late 1950s, he had already been a part of two major Iverson shoots.

Lloyd Bridges on the Iverson Movie Ranch in "Apache Woman" (1955)

After starring as a member of a doomed Cavalry patrol in the 1951 Iverson masterpiece "Little Big Horn," Bridges returned to the location ranch for Roger Corman's 1955 Iverson showcase "Apache Woman." Both movies are on my list of the greatest Iverson productions.

Jeff Bridges, left, and Beau Bridges, right, with their dad, Lloyd Bridges

Even though Lloyd Bridges was a huge TV star in the 1950s and 1960s, these days he's probably more famous for being the father of Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges. Jeff's brother Beau is also an accomplished actor.

Lloyd Bridges at Iverson in "Hunt the Man Down" (from the TV show "The Loner")

Bridges' TV Western "The Loner" appears to have shot just a single episode at Iverson: "Hunt the Man Down," which premiered Dec. 11, 1965. But that shoot for "The Loner" quite literally left its mark on the movie ranch.
Burgess Meredith as Siedry in "Hunt the Man Down"

The episode guest-starred Burgess Meredith as Siedry, an eccentric mountain man on the run from the law.

Tom Tully as Bert Shaftoe — the "Bert" in "Siedry-Bert"

A key plot point surrounded Siedry's long friendship with a man named Bert Shaftoe, played by Tom Tully.

When Siedry and Bert were kids — back in June 1825 — they carved their names, along with the date, into a rock that marked a favorite spot only the two pals knew about.

Now, decades later, Bert is part of a posse tracking down Siedry — and the old friends meet up at that same spot.

The inscription area becomes the setting for the climactic sequence in "Hunt the Man Down." In this shot, Lloyd Bridges, center, tries to help Burgess Meredith and Tom Tully sort things out.

All the while, the inscription lurks in the background.

The inscription gets some camera time as Burgess Meredith hunkers down to ponder his desperate situation. I won't spoil the ending for you.

In the real world, the inscription was carved by a TV crew in 1965, and it marked a hidden spot on the south side of the heavily filmed movie rock Sphinx, one of the stars of the Garden of the Gods and the Iverson Ranch.

The inscription remains on the rock today, a souvenir from "The Loner."

Promotional still for "Bullet Code" (1940)

The Sphinx gets its name from a side of the rock that's around the corner from the Siedry-Bert inscription. In this promo still from the RKO Western "Bullet Code," the camera is shooting the rock from the northeast.

How to find the Siedry-Bert inscription

This Bing bird's-eye view may help readers find the inscription, if they're so inclined. From the 118 Freeway, head south on Topanga, turn right on Santa Susana Pass Road and right again on Redmesa. Park just before the condos and you should see the entrance gate for Garden of the Gods on the west side of the road.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome detective work finding the history of the inscription.
Always looking forward to your blogs. Thanks!