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.
• Your feedback is appreciated — please leave comments on any of the posts.
• 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 iversonmovieranch@gmail.com 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.
• Readers can email the webmaster at iversonmovieranch@gmail.com.

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Iverson Movie Ranch Western street, one building at a time ... Part IX: The Lost Dutchman

"Along Came Jones" (1945): Loretta Young and Gary Cooper

The Lost Dutchman was around for just one movie, "Along Came Jones," starring Gary Cooper and Loretta Young, but the building played an important role in the movie. In the above screen shot, Young surprises Cooper, a stranger in town, by planting a kiss on him outside the Lost Dutchman.

What Cooper doesn't realize is that he's about to be shot by a would-be bushwhacker hiding inside the building, and Young's sudden gesture is a ploy to lure him to safety.

The building on the left is the South Adobe, which was discussed in the previous entry in this series and which remained in place for the next 12 years. The North Adobe was not yet built in 1945, and the Lost Dutchman occupied what would later be the gap between the North and South Adobes.

A wider shot, taken from the side deck of the General Store, again shows the South Adobe on the left and the Lost Dutchman on the right. The General Store was across the street from the Lost Dutchman.

This view of the town shows where the Lost Dutchman fits in on the west side of the street. The building's stone storefront, which is similar to that of the Saloon, can be seen near the right of the shot, above the black horse.

A number of the key structures along the west side of the street are noted in this version of the shot. All of the screen shots in this post are taken from "Along Came Jones."

The store's sign is prominently displayed as Loretta Young drives a horse-drawn cart past the structure. The Barber Shop, with its striped poles, can be seen toward the right, in the approximate spot where the North Adobe would later stand.

Another sign out front, seen from inside the General Store across the street, reveals that the Lost Dutchman was a Wild West liquor store, dealing in "Fine whiskies — Jug trade a specialty." Shots of the interiors of buildings along the Iverson Western street were rare, with "Along Came Jones" being one of the few times it was done.

Here's a blowup of the sign on the front of the Lost Dutchman.

A closeup of the bushwhacker's hiding place inside the Lost Dutchman reveals that he's working with a partner. The shot also provides a look at some of the contents of the liquor store.

Like the General Store, the Lost Dutchman was used for a few interior shots in "Along Came Jones." This view of the bushwhackers' post from the inside looks out on the east side of the street. Visible in the background are two businesses that appeared in "Along Came Jones" — the Chinese Laundry, on the left, and Ladies' and Gentlemen's Furnishings, on the right.

While these types of shots are often faked, it appears that in this case the shot was in fact taken from inside the Lost Dutchman. If the building was, in effect, a mini-soundstage, that may help explain why it was dismantled soon after production on "Along Came Jones" and did not become a part of the permanent town set.

A wider shot of the Chinese Laundry and Ladies' and Gentlemen's Furnishings is taken from almost the same angle, from just outside the Lost Dutchman, with the Livery Stable at center. The storefronts adjacent to the Livery Stable would soon undergo extensive remodeling, which will be discussed in an upcoming post.


"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

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Iverson Movie Ranch Western street, one building at a time ... Part VIII: The North and South Adobes

"Ghost Town Renegades" (1947) — The South Adobe

The South Adobe was one of the original buildings on the Iverson Western street when the town set was built in 1945 for "Along Came Jones." While it wasn't much to look at — it's the plain white building in the center of this group of three buildings — it proved to be among the town's most durable structures.

In the PRC Western "Ghost Town Renegades, filmed two years after the town was built, the South Adobe is part of a sparse northwest corner of town, tucked in between the Hotel, on the left, and a temporary shed on the right that served mainly as a blacksmith shop. Dominating the background are Smooth Hill and Oat Mountain.

"The Millerson Case" (1947)

The building's simple but functional cube design with two distinguishing raised horizontal bars near the top remained consistent throughout the lifespan of the town set, even as adjacent buildings on both sides of the South Adobe underwent a series of renovations.

"El Paso" (1949) — west side of El Paso Street

By 1949 the South Adobe had a new partner, the North Adobe — seen directly above the gent in the top hat in this shot from the Paramount Western "El Paso." The Iverson Ranch town set is sometimes called El Paso Street because of its prominent role in this movie.

The North Adobe and South Adobe typically appear to be right next to each other, as they do in the "El Paso" shot. But in reality they had quite a bit of space between them, as I'll point out below.

"Calamity Jane and the Texan" (1950): closeup of the North Adobe

The North Adobe was even more plain-looking than the South Adobe, often appearing to be little more than a blank cube. But first impressions can be deceiving, and the North Adobe was more complex than it appeared.

"The Hills of Utah" (1951) — The North Adobe

Shots like this one, from the Gene Autry Western "The Hills of Utah," reinforced the impression that the North Adobe was a simple cube. That's longtime Autry sidekick Pat Buttram at the reins.

Pat Buttram, right, with Eddie Albert in "Green Acres"

Many readers will recall that Buttram, who was a regular in B-Westerns in the late 1940s and early 1950s, went on to play quirky country rube Mr. Haney on "Green Acres," appearing in 142 episodes of the popular CBS sitcom from 1965-1971.

"Calamity Jane and the Texan" (1950) — The North Adobe

The North Adobe had a staggered front profile, as you may be able to tell from this shot. Notice the notch in the building's top right corner, formed by its two staggered faces.

"Montana Incident" (1952): North and South Adobes

This view of the adobes from the Whip Wilson movie "Montana Incident" gives a better idea of the wide gap between the two buildings — the South Adobe on the left and North Adobe on the right.

"Calamity Jand and the Texan" — The South Adobe as the "Mine Office"

Here's a fun shot of the South Adobe from "Calamity Jane and the Texan." That's Evelyn Ankers, as Calamity, walking past the South Adobe, which plays the Mine Office in the movie.

Notice the owner's name on the sign: "J. Iverson." Joe Iverson, the son of Iverson Movie Ranch founders Karl and Augusta, was overseeing the Lower Iverson at the time, including the site of the Western town. His brother Aaron ran the Upper Iverson. This is the only time I know of that a reference to the family made it into the movies.

"Man From Sonora" (1951): Adobe village at the north end of town

With the addition of the North Adobe in 1949 — along with the construction of Casa Grande around the same time — a new look was taking shape for the north end of town, which now had the appearance of a small adobe village.

"Night Raiders" (1952) — The North Adobe, with a missile base in the background

I suppose it's appropriate that this shot of the North Adobe is dark, given the movie's title. But this photo taken from the Monogram B-Western "Night Raiders" is interesting for its context. Oat Mountain, located north of the Iverson Ranch, can be seen in the top right corner. Notice the small white dot at the very top of Oat Mountain.

That small white dot was in reality a huge radar dish, part of the Nike missile installation that was located atop Oat Mountain during the Cold War. The missile base, known as LA-88, was one of 16 Nike Ajax sites positioned strategically around the L.A. area. Please click here to read about its appearance in "Panic in Year Zero" — a movie about the bomb scare, filmed on the Iverson Ranch.

"Montana Incident" (1952) — The North Adobe

The North Adobe's strategic position at the north end of the street made it a part of some unusual shots. From this angle, with the camera shooting toward the west, the North Adobe has the appearance of a false front. But make a note of the awning around the right side of the building, which was featured in its own movie moments.

One of the most interesting elements of the "Montana Incident" shot is the presence of a building to the west of the town set, noted in yellow above. This structure was part of the India Fort set that was left over from the filming of "Wee Willie Winkie" in 1937.

"Oklahoma Justice" (1951)

The North Adobe does double duty in the Johnny Mack Brown Western "Oklahoma Justice," from Monogram. In the above shot we see the usual east face of the building as the Lynwood Bank, which has just been held up.

Just around the corner, the rarely seen north face of the North Adobe appears as a cafe. As we did in "Montana Incident," we again get a peek at the remaining structures from "Wee Willie Winkie," near the center of the frame.

"Oklahoma Justice" — cross street, lined with adobes

With the camera pulling back for a wider view of the area, we see something extremely rare: A cross street runs east and west at the north end of the main town set. This second street is lined mainly with adobe structures.

Helping to create the effect of the second street are the North Adobe, the storefront to Casa Grande — as the Lynwood Stage Line — the familiar adobe wall adjacent to Casa Grande, and even, to some extent, the "Wee Willie Winkie" buildings in the background.


"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