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.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

You know that little building in the Eucalyptus Grove — the one with the giant blueberry muffin behind it?

"Bells of Rosarita" (Roy Rogers, 1945) — Grove Cabin

If you're an aficionado of the Iverson Movie Ranch, you may already be familiar with the small building seen here, known as the Grove Cabin. And you may have noticed the muffin-shaped rock behind it.

"Bells of Rosarita"

The cabin stood for at least three decades on the Lower Iverson. Located in the Eucalyptus Grove, the small building was a common set used in movies and TV shows from the late 1930s into the 1960s.

Pear Rock, next to the Grove Cabin, in "Bells of Rosarita"

The cabin was positioned immediately west of Pear Rock, which looms in the background here as Roy and his compadres arrive for a good old-fashioned shootout at the cabin.

Pear Rock in recent years

Pear Rock is still around. In this recent shot, taken from close to the same angle seen in "Bells of Rosarita" (above), it's possible to match up some of the markings on the rock.

Specifically, notice the lighter surface area, curved mark and indented base area highlighted here.

The same features can be found in the "Bells of Rosarita" shot. The variation in the lighting for the two shots gets in the way, but other common markings can also be found if you're so inclined.

"Bells of Rosarita" — Pear Rock, left, and Grove Cabin

With Roy already in position behind a rock, Gabby Hayes and some other guy scramble to take cover. Pear Rock, on the left, continues its prominent role in the sequence.

Once again, there's the muffin-shaped rock just behind the cabin.

Also visible behind the cabin, below the Muffin Rock, was a more "normal"-shaped rock, with just the rounded top peeking out above the cabin.

Pear Rock, left, and the "normal" Grove Cabin locator rock, right (2016)

Today this "normal" rock can still be found at the site. While it's now partially concealed behind a small tree, this rock, seen here on the right, helps pinpoint the former location of the cabin.

Here's a closeup of the "locator rock" that was previously positioned directly behind the Grove Cabin.

The former Grove Cabin location in modern times

The approximate spot where the Grove Cabin once stood is noted here. Pear Rock appears in the left half of the frame, with the "normal-shaped rock" just above the dotted rectangle.

One feature that appears to be missing from the present-day setting is the Muffin Rock. While a taller rock can be seen behind the "normal" rock, the taller rock lacks the distinctive muffin shape.

The Grove Cabin site in 2016

Viewing the same setting from a slightly different angle, we get a better look at that taller rock — and learn what happened to the Muffin Rock.

The tall rock is in fact the Muffin Rock — but it has dropped its muffin. At some point over the years the rock's defining muffin top apparently decided to emancipate itself, which I'm guessing was an abrupt decision.

When the large chunk of the once top-heavy rock gave way, it left behind a flat, lighter-colored area of unweathered surface along the eastern face of the rock.

Unknown production, 1957: Grove Cabin and neighboring rocks

A behind-the-scenes shot from an unknown production filmed in 1957 offers another look at the Grove Cabin, the Muffin Rock and the "normal" rock.

Sign reads "Golden Luck Mine"

While the 1957 production is unknown, the sign on the Grove Cabin reads "Golden Luck Mine." Maybe a blog reader will recognize the reference and can help ID the movie or TV show in which it appears.

"Spy Smasher" (1942): early version of the Grove Cabin

An early Grove Cabin that did not yet have the building's distinctive roof in place can be seen in the 1942 Republic serial "Spy Smasher." This footage was recycled from an earlier shoot.

The familiar rock features are all to be found. The angle has shifted, altering the perception of distances between rocks.

"The Lone Ranger Rides Again" (Republic serial, released in 1939)

Footage of the Grove Cabin used by Republic in "Spy Smasher" was probably borrowed from the shoot for the studio's 1939 serial "The Lone Ranger Rides Again."

The Lone Ranger at Grove Cabin in "The Lone Ranger Rides Again"

"The Lone Ranger Rides Again," starring Robert Livingston as the Masked Man, was filmed in December 1938 and January 1939 for release on Feb. 25, 1939.

"Riders of the Badlands" (Columbia, 1941)

By 1941, the cabin's new roof was in place, as seen in the Charles Starrett B-Western "Riders of the Badlands," released Dec. 18, 1941.

Grove Cabin and Mine, circa 1950-1951 (Joe Iverson collection)

A family photo from the early '50s provides a clear view of the Muffin Rock in its original state. The man in the photo is believed to be Bill Boyd, Joe Iverson's brother-in-law. (He's not the same person as actor William Boyd, who played "Hopalong Cassidy.")

The photo shows a portion of the Grove Cabin, a wall that was in place at the time and a fake mine, along with a partial view of the Muffin Rock.

The remarkable clarity of the old family photo enables us to make out a "fault line" in the top section of the Muffin Rock.

The fault line matches the line where the piece broke loose.

"Annie Oakley" TV series (1954)

This photo of Gail Davis on the roof of the Grove Cabin, which ran in a recent post about the "Annie Oakley" TV show, again captures what I believe to be the "fault line."

The Muffin Rock's fault line?

This appears to be where the hairline crack runs through the "muffin top" area, predicting how the rock would fall apart years later. My guess is that the break happened in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

Muffin Rock and mine rock in 2016

A shot from a recent expedition into the Grove features not only the Muffin Rock, but also the low, angular rock that became a part of the fake mine.

The broken-off "muffin top" and real rock that was incorporated into the fake mine are noted here.

Taking another look at the old family photo, we can identify some key features that can be matched up with the recent photo.

The same features are highlighted here in the 2016 photo.

This shot identifies the approximate section of the rock that fell off.

The rocks in this area hold fast to their secrets. The former Grove Cabin site is on private property and opportunities to explore it are few, but I will continue to provide updates when anything new turns up.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this interesting post. Please add an aerial view map to identify the location of "the grove."

Lenny said...

Ever Since I Found This Site I Have Been Amazed Ive Planed A Trip to Iversons In The Near Future My Friends Say If I Ever Get Out There Ill Never Come Back I realy Love This Place Iversons That Is My Only Wish Is I Wish I
Could Have Gone There In The 50s

Mark Sherman said...

Always Great!!! I'm continually amazed at what you come up with!

Paul B said...

Last try...'Blogger' makes it difficult to just say thanks...
Sierra Hotel!! I am not old enough to remember the old westerns I enjoy the 'old stuff', FASCINATING!!