Fuzzy Knight, left, Johnny Mack Brown and Maria Montez in "Boss of Bullion City" (1940)
Veteran B-Western sidekick Fuzzy Knight has a scene in the Universal picture "Boss of Bullion City" where he places some dynamite in a rock, and in the process he appears to use an ax to chip away at the rock. I wanted to see whether I could find the exact spot, and whether any actual damage was done to the rock.
"Boss of Bullion City" — Fuzzy Knight at work on the South Rim
Here's a shot of Fuzzy at work on the rock. Finding the spot was easy, as it's in a widely filmed part of the Upper Iverson and the instantly recognizable Wrench Rock appears at the left of the shot. The area where Fuzzy is working is part of the T-Cliff, also known simply as the Cliff, one of the largest rock features on the South Rim.
Is Fuzzy contemplating the damage to the rock?
Production on the movie would have taken place in 1939, which was still early in the use of the Upper Iverson as a filming location. I have yet to run across any earlier movie shots of this area, which could help determine whether the damage to the rock was fresh at the time "Bullion City" was in production. In the absence of such evidence, I'm willing to assume the slab fell off as part of the natural erosion process.
"Teenage Caveman" (1958): Robert Vaughn, the dynamite hole and the missing slab
Here's the same spot as it appears almost two decades later in Roger Corman's cult film "Teenage Caveman." That's future "Man From U.N.C.L.E." Robert Vaughn in the title role of the Teenage Caveman. I may be stating the obvious, but Vaughn was no teenager at the time — he was about 25 when the movie was made.