Eddie Dean stands his ground in "Check Your Guns" (1948)
The Church at the south end of town had one of the shortest lifespans of all of the buildings on the Iverson Movie Ranch Western street, standing for just two years, from 1947-1949.
which you can find by clicking here.
Promo still for "The Millerson Case" (1947): The Church debuts as a schoolhouse
It's not clear who built the Church, but it was probably originally put up as a set for either the Crime Doctor movie "The Millerson Case" or the Hopalong Cassidy movie "The Marauders."
"The Marauders" (1947): First appearance of the Church as a church
The two movies were released a month apart — "The Millerson Case" on May 29, 1947, followed by "The Marauders" on July 1 — and the Church/Schoolhouse was prominently featured in both productions.
1947 aerial photo, featuring the Western street — including the Church
One development since I last blogged about the Church almost a year ago was that a historic aerial photo of the area surfaced from 1947. Watermarks on the photo say 2011, but it only recently came into circulation.
2003 aerial photo: Indian Hills Mobile Home Village
Adapting the location of the Church from 1947 to a more recent aerial photo, we can see that the area where the Church was located is now occupied by the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village.
"The Marauders": Fake tree
Taking another look at the "Marauders" screen shot, I believe this is the fake tree. When I say "fake," I mean, it may have been a real tree, but it was brought in. It did not grow on that spot — and at some point around when the Church went away, so did the tree.
"Check Your Guns" (1948)
The fake tree appears in other productions as well, and from some angles appears almost perfectly round. Once you know to look for it, it does begin to look like a movie tree.
The fake tree appears to have been in place before the Church went up. It can be seen in the above shot filmed in 1947, just before the Church was built. The footage surfaced several years later in an episode of the TV series "Bat Masterson" titled "The Fatal Garment."
Rainbow Mine Co. building, which you can see by clicking here.
"Check Your Guns" — west side of the Church
While many of the buildings on the Western street were fake fronts, it appears that the Church was a complete building with four sides and a roof, an observation that is corroborated by the 1947 aerial photo. The above shot from "Check Your Guns" provides a look at the west side of the building.
"The Marauders" — Hoppy & Co. outside the Church
We get another look at the same side of the building in "The Marauders," this time with a nice close view of that movie tree. It looks pretty realistic from this angle — but that's what movie trees are supposed to do.
1947: Schoolhouse turret vs. Church bell tower
I won't go into detail here about how the building transformed from a schoolhouse to a church, and back again. I covered that process in the earlier entry on the Church, which you can see by clicking here.
"The Hawk of Powder River" (Eddie Dean, 1948, from PRC)
Many of the Church's screen appearances were in low-budget B-Westerns from Producers Releasing Corp., which set up shop on the Iverson Western street for much of the 1940s. The Church is frequently seen in the background in PRC's Lash LaRue and Eddie Dean movies from 1947-1949.
"Calamity Jane and Sam Bass" (1949)
Taking a break from its duties as PRC background material, the Church had a featured role — and a rare color showcase — in Universal's "Calamity Jane and Sam Bass" in 1949. The Church appeared as a schoolhouse in the movie — note the rectangular tops on the windows, in contrast to other photos in this post.
"Oklahoma Justice" (1951)
Once the Church was gone, it was much easier to spot Gumdrop at the south end of the street. Church Rock, meanwhile, with its distinctive overhang, continued to hover up above.
"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