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.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Remembering Bill Sasser, movie history pioneer, prolific video documentarian, Iverson Movie Ranch enthusiast

Bill Sasser

I recently received the sad news that my friend Bill Sasser, an accomplished film historian and a longtime fan of the Iverson Movie Ranch, has died.

Bill Sasser on the Iverson Ranch in 2009 

Bill was one of the first major location researchers I got to know back when I was getting started on my own full dive into movie history about 10 years ago. Even though we lived on opposite coasts, we kept in touch and collaborated when we could, connecting over our shared obsession with the Iverson Ranch.

"Iverson Summit," 2009: Bill Sasser, left, and Jerry England on the Nyoka Summit

Bill traveled to California almost every year from his home in Virginia, specifically to visit movie sites. His annual Iverson visit presented an opportunity for some heavyweight movie historians to gather — and gave me, as an upstart Iverson researcher, a chance to tag along and learn from the masters.


"Iverson Movie Ranch - Then and Now" — a 7-minute Bill Sasser YouTube video from 2008

Bill captured much of his research on video, including constantly expanding his famous "Iverson DVD" over the years. The last time I received the latest updated version from Bill, it ran more than three hours.


"Callaway at Iverson's" (Posted by Bill Sasser in 2010)

Bill posted one of my favorite Iverson Movie Ranch clips, from the 1951 MGM movie "Callaway Went Thataway." The clip pays tribute both to the cliches of the cowboy movie and to Iverson's widely filmed rock features.


"Gold Raiders Rock"

Bill put together a quick "then and now" focusing on the Upper Iverson feature Gold Raiders Rock, posted in 2011.


"Iversons Rock"

Most of this clip comes from the 1937 Shirley Temple movie "Wee Willie Winkie," and the clip includes a "then and now" on the Pirate Ship.


"Gun Belt"

Footage posted by Bill from the 1953 Western "Gun Belt" showcases the rocktabulous South Rim of the Upper Iverson, including location aficionado favorites Wrench Rock, Turtle Rock, the Molar, Ambush Rock and Ambush Pass — plus a few seconds at the end of something that looks to me like the Conejo Valley.


"Desert Gold"

Here's some eerily silent footage of a shootout in the 1936 Buster Crabbe Western "Desert Gold," spotlighting a bunch of familiar Lower Iverson features along with nearby Stoney Point.


"Tornado Arch"

This one's just a rough cut with three clips on a formation I usually hear referred to as "Tornado's Cave," which remains in place today in the Iverson Gorge. Bill posted this back in 2011.


"Stacked Rock & Center Rock"

This clip features the old Western town set on the Lower Iverson, including Pond Rock and, at the very end, a quick look at Center Rock.


"Law of the Canyon" (1947)

In this YouTube clip, Bill highlights the weird two-tone fake mine near the Grove Cabin.


"Relay Station" ("The Plunderers," 1948)

Just one more video from Bill — this one has color footage from "The Plunderers" showing a lot of the Saddlehorn Relay Station with some fake rocks sprinkled in.

Bill has more videos of the Iverson Movie Ranch and other filming locations posted on his YouTube account, which you can go to by clicking here, and a few items on his Google+ page, which is found here.

Bill Sasser, left, with Williamsburg Film Festival Lifetime Achievement recipient Grady Franklin, 2010

Back home in Virginia, Bill poured much of his energy over the years into the Williamsburg Film Festival, and was one of the prime movers behind the event's success.

But my own fondest memories of Bill are about seeing him among the rocks at Iverson, where he will be sadly missed. Keep on a-rockin', Bill!