The Iverson family's residential and farm buildings were generally kept out of movies filmed on the Iverson Movie Ranch, but there were a few exceptions. The single biggest exception was probably the day in 1947 when the barn on Aaron Iverson's ranch became a key set for the Lash LaRue Western "Border Feud."
Al "Fuzzy" St. John at the Aaron Iverson barn in "Border Feud"
Like many of PRC's productions, "Border Feud" also featured perennial Western sidekick Al "Fuzzy" St. John, a screen veteran with a resume going back to about 1914. Like LaRue, Fuzzy was a fixture at Iverson, providing comic relief opposite LaRue, Buster Crabbe, George Houston, Bob Steele and other cowboy heroes.
Just a few of PRC's Lash LaRue movies filmed at Iverson in 1947
PRC filmed at least a dozen B-Westerns at Iverson in 1947 alone. It may be that by the time "Border Feud" was filming, the Iversons had developed a level of familiarity with LaRue, Fuzzy and the PRC crew that made the family comfortable enough to relax the rules. "Border Feud" represents the only time the barn was used as a movie set.
"Border Feud" — the Aaron Iverson barn
Western movie historian Tinsley E. Yarbrough first identified the "Border Feud" building as an Iverson family barn in an article published in 1998. In the years since then, the barn has been mildly controversial, with some researchers — including yours truly — remaining skeptical that the barn seen in the movie was located at Iverson.
Aaron Iverson in front of his barn (Edwin Iverson collection)
But any controversy was put to rest in a recent exchange I had with Tinsley, who pointed me to the "smoking gun" that proves the identity of the building. The undated photo above, circulated by Aaron Iverson's son Edwin, shows Aaron in front of his barn — which can be readily identified as the same barn seen in "Border Feud."
Closeup of the Aaron Iverson barn in "Border Feud"
Other screen shots from the movie provide detailed views of various sections of the barn. The dilapidated building was a holdover from an earlier period when farming was still an important part of life on the Iverson Ranch — before the movie location operation evolved into the ranch's predominant business activity.
"The Virginian" (1963)
Although the Aaron Iverson barn figured prominently in the action in "Border Feud," it was essentially never seen up close in a movie again. However, it does pop up from time to time in backgrounds, with the above shot from the TV Western "The Virginian" being one of the best examples.
"Tell It to the Marines" (1926)
Chinese bridge, to the left of the barn, that was the subject of a detailed a post in September.
I mentioned this in a recent blog entry, but in case you still haven't rounded up a copy of "Those Great Western Movie Locations," Tinsley E. Yarbrough's landmark reference book, it has recently been updated and reissued. Please click on the link above to find the book on Amazon. Highly recommended!