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.
• To join the MAILING LIST, send me an email at and let me know you'd like to sign up.
• 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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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mushroom Rock cleans up its act

"Ghost Town Renegades" (1947) — Mushroom Rock, center

This is the classic view of Mushroom Rock, as seen in the Lash LaRue movie "Ghost Town Renegades." The heavily filmed rock was located on the Lower Iverson Movie Ranch, next to a road that was used repeatedly for essentially this same shot, with riders headed north on the road, riding toward the camera.

I've spotlighted Mushroom Rock here, along with a couple of other key elements of the shot — including the presumably dead guy at the bottom of the frame. You never know about "dead guys" in old B-Westerns, because half the time it's just a trick to get you to stop so they can steal your horse.

"The Lone Ranger" TV show (filmed in 1949)

Here's a rare occasion when the riders actually rode on the other side of Mushroom Rock — the east side. This shot comes from an episode of "The Lone Ranger" called "Buried Treasure," which premiered March 2, 1950 — midway through season one.

In case you're wondering about the other distinctive rock in these shots, it's a beauty too. With a canopy far larger than that of Mushroom Rock, Saucer is shrouded in its own mysteries — but that's a topic for another time.

"Wanted: Dead or Alive" (1959)

In this shot Mushroom Rock is on the left, with Saucer toward the right. The scene is filmed from the south, a much less common angle. Here again, the rider has opted to bypass the main road to the west of Mushroom, just visible in the bottom left corner, and instead rides the road less traveled — between Mushroom and Saucer.

The shot comes from an episode of the TV show "Wanted: Dead or Alive" called "Twelve Hours to Crazy Horse," which premiered Nov. 21, 1959.

Mushroom Rock in recent years

For several years now, it has been impossible to see the distinctive cap atop Mushroom Rock because it has been covered with foliage. I commented on this in a recent post, which you can read by clicking here.

At the time I noted that Mushroom's cap remained concealed. But I have some good news to report.

Behold: A cleaner, meaner Mushroom Rock

Mushroom Rock has recently had a "haircut" and can now be seen again in much of its former splendor — possibly for the first time since the filming days.

It's still a rough neighborhood

Mushroom Rock's neighborhood, however, still leaves a lot to be desired. Before we jump to the conclusion that the "haircut" had anything to do with satisfying our aesthetic and nostalgic interest in the rock, the nearby trash bins and stockpiles of construction material might tend to quash such romantic notions.

It can be tricky to match up the shots from before and after the foliage trim, so I've identified some of the markers here. In this recent shot a number of distinctive scars and indentations are noted, along with the rock's "cap."

The same markers can be found in this shot taken before the haircut, allowing for a more accurate approximation of where the cap was hidden. This process reveals that my earlier estimate was off the mark — I needed to place the cap farther to the right.

I'll leave it to readers to come up with your own answers to the obvious question: Why the trim, and why now? The idealist in me still wants to believe someone is looking out for film history buffs and cut back the shrubbery to give us a better look at an old friend. But my cynical side argues that someone probably just wants to pile more junk in the area and the bushes were in the way.


Mark Sherman said...

I always enjoy your insight! Mark Sherman

Swami Nano said...

Thanks, Mark. It's good to be up-to-date on the Mushroom situation.