Saddlehorn Relay Station, 1940 (see below, the last three photos of this post, for an update)
This behind-the-scenes photo surfaced recently showing the building known as the Saddlehorn Relay Station. Believed to be from 1940, the photo may hold a clue to the structure's origin.
"Ride 'em Cowboy" (Abbott and Costello, 1942)
The Abbott and Costello movie "Ride 'em Cowboy," an early 1942 release that was filmed in 1941, includes this shot of the building with that same early section in place.
"Ride 'em Cowboy"
A similar piece could also be found at the opposite end of the building — on its northwest face. Again, this was in 1941, in the building's early years, and it would soon undergo remodeling.
"The Avenging Rider" (RKO, 1943)
By the time the Tim Holt movie "Avenging Rider" filmed at the site in 1943, the relay station had been renovated and its new second-story porch, or deck, was in place.
"Black Bart" (Universal-International, 1948)
This shot from the Yvonne De Carlo-Dan Duryea Western "Black Bart" provides a nice look at the relay station in color, including the porch area at top left.
"Gun Fever" (United Artists, 1958)
Pardon the massacre, but we get another look at the second-story deck in the 1958 Western "Gun Fever." The set was frequently redecorated, and at this point it sported a more "bare bones" look.
In particular, the railing on the deck is more sparse in "Gun Fever" than it was in "Black Bart" about 10 years earlier. The building itself includes a crude sign identifying it as the "Rand Station."
"Heldorado" (Republic, 1946)
Remodeling at the northwest end of the relay station was perhaps even more extensive, if less aesthetic, as seen in this shot from the Roy Rogers movie "Heldorado."
"The Stranger From Pecos" (Monogram, 1943)
The relay station was one of the most important and most durable sets on the Iverson Movie Ranch, standing for about three decades and appearing in many productions.
"Captain Midnight" (Columbia serial, 1942)
Sure enough, film historian Tinsley Yarbrough, who has a much better memory for these things than I do, pointed out that the bull's-eye was part of the plot of the serial "Captain Midnight," one year earlier.
"Escort West" (1959): Saddlehorn Village
In the late '50s and throughout the '60s the Saddlehorn Relay Station set was complemented by a small cluster of buildings adjacent to the main building, which I call "Saddlehorn Village."
Former location of Saddlehorn Relay Station (Google aerial)
This recent Google aerial indicates the spot where the relay station once stood. The set is believed to have burned down in the fall 1970 wildfires, and today the site is filled with condos.
Screen shot from "Ghost Valley Raiders" (1940)
It turns out the movie was the old Republic Western "Ghost Valley Raiders," starring Donald "Red" Barry. As is often the case, it was Tinsley Yarbrough who again pointed me in the right direction. Thanks, Tinsley!
"Ghost Valley Raiders"
The revelation suggests that it was Republic that built the relay station, and the movie contains additional clues to the early history of the structure. I'll be delving into those in depth in a follow-up report on the relay station.