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 30, 2018

Let's put an end to the Myth of End Rock — and celebrate a survivor

"Under Texas Skies" (1940): End Rock, at left

Among the many myths about the Iverson Movie Ranch, a big one that has been out there for at least as long as I've been exploring the ranch is a myth about the movie rock known as "End Rock."

The rock comes up all the time in movies and TV shows, in large part because it was positioned right next to a road running north and south that was constantly used to film chases and stagecoach runs.

Planter with decorative rocks, in the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village

The myth is that the large, flat rock that today resides in a planter outside the clubhouse of the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village is actually End Rock, which — according to the myth — survived the development of the park.

I can understand if right now you're thinking, "That's ridiculous — that rock doesn't look anything like End Rock!" That's pretty much what I thought too, and the main reason I never completely bought into the myth.

"20 Million Miles to Earth" (1957): End Rock shares the screen with Ray Harryhausen's "Ymir"

If only the myth were true, it would contain the reassuring news that End Rock, a "star" of hundreds of movies and TV episodes, had indeed survived.

But reality is reality, even when it's not what we want to hear. As a location historian, sometimes it's my sad task to deliver bad news, and the bad news here is that End Rock no longer exists.

The old movie road running past End Rock (looking northwest)

Taking another look at the shot from "Under Texas Skies," we see the old movie road running north and south past End Rock. This view looking northwest is one of the most common angles for End Rock.

"Overland Trail" TV series (1960): End Rock on the right

The same area was also filmed in other directions, as in this shot from the TV series "Overland Trail" taken with the camera facing southwest.

From either direction, End Rock is often seen in combination with Corner Rock, as it is here. The old movie road ran right between the two rock features.

The direction of the movie road is indicated here, and we can see that the stagecoach is heading south.

The old road as it appears today, looking south

The movie road is essentially still in place, although it has been regraded and paved. Known today as Mohawk Avenue, the road runs north and south through the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village.

Mohawk Road continues to follow the north-south route of the old movie road

The direction of the road is indicated here. Note that the planter can be seen at the right of the frame, on the west side of the road, with the mobile home park's clubhouse behind it.

The planter is positioned on the west side of the old movie road

The old road is part of the reason the myth of End Rock has persisted, because the road runs past the planter and the flat rock the way it once ran past End Rock.

Corner Rock remains in place, but End Rock ... not so much

Further, Corner Rock remains in place just across the street, and admittedly, it would be comforting to think that the two old pals, End Rock and Corner Rock, remain "pardners" after all these years. Too bad it's not true.

Beautiful imposter: "Planter Rock"

Now, I have to say, the rock in the planter — can we just start calling it "Planter Rock"? — is a nice rock in its own right. It's just not End Rock.

The "pardnership" these days is between Corner Rock and Planter Rock.

While we're in the neighborhood, let me point out Range Rider Rock, another movie rock of some repute.

Range Rider Rock in 2018

Range Rider Rock doesn't get around much these days, but you can find it if you look hard enough. To read more about it, along with some of the other rocks in the neighborhood, check out this previous post.

"Overland Telegraph" (RKO, 1951): Another stage rolls past End Rock

We recently found the "smoking gun" that should finally put the myth of End Rock to rest. As is usually the case on the former Iverson Movie Ranch, the proof can be found in the movies and TV shows filmed on the ranch.

The story begins with this shot from the Tim Holt B-Western "Overland Telegraph," featuring yet another stagecoach headed south between End Rock and Corner Rock.

My pal and research partner Cliff Roberts started asking questions a few weeks back about this mystery rock hiding in the shadows — questions that ultimately blew the case of End Rock and Planter Rock wide open.

Planter Rock, looking northwest

Let's take another look at Planter Rock, this time looking northwest — more or less the same angle used in the "Overland Telegraph" shot. Maybe you can see where we're headed here.

If you focus on this part of the rock, you might notice that it has exactly the same profile as the mystery rock in the Tim Holt movie. You may want to click on some of these photos to see a larger version.

Take another look. For a variety of reasons, this rock almost never turns up in productions. Hidden under a tree, and overshadowed by its more flamboyant neighbor End Rock, it essentially went unnoticed all this time.

"Tales of Wells Fargo" TV series: "Woman With a Gun" (premiered Dec. 7, 1959)

You probably want more proof — and here it comes. The mystery of End Rock vs. Planter Rock might never have been solved had it not been for this shot from the TV show "Tales of Wells Fargo."

The shot features a perfectly good movie rock that had the bad fortune of being hidden under a tree. It turns out this hard-to-find rock is none other than Planter Rock — today's mobile home park landscaping feature.

Planter Rock today — sporting a monster crack

Today the rock has a massive crack in it. Besides detracting from the rock's aesthetic qualities, the crack also makes it hard to match up the rock with its movie shot — but we'll give it a try.

Matching the "Tales of Wells Fargo" angle is the first step, and it's not as easy as it should be, thanks in part to the bush at lower right. But this angle is fairly close.

I marked a number of features that I think can be found in the "Tales of Wells Fargo" shot. What you see here is basically my "rock-matching worksheet," and it won't necessarily be easy to see the matches.

For comparison's sake, I've zoomed way in on the "Tales of Wells Fargo" shot here. The most important item may be the black line, which approximates where the rock later would split in two.

Here's what it looks like in the context of the full "Tales of Wells Fargo" frame. It should be noted that the horizontal "scratches" outlined in light blue and magenta line up here, but no longer line up after the rock splits.

Changing the angle from which the rock is viewed, even a little, dramatically alters how the various markings appear. From this angle a number of key markers can be identified that weren't as clear from the previous angle.

Notice the dark area highlighted here.

We can easily find that same marking in the "Tales of Wells Fargo" shot. To me it looks like a badge here, but your mileage may vary.

We can also see that the "badge" is positioned near what appears to be the fault line that will later help create the split in the rock.

This may be my favorite marking on the rock — although it's a bit like admitting which of your children you love the most. The TV shot doesn't do it justice — it kind of resembles a face here, but no big whoop.

Where the "face" really pops out is in contemporary shots of the rock. I'm not sure whether it's a skull, a clown, an alien or what ... but it's something.

To be honest, it freaks me out a little.

"Tales of Wells Fargo": End Rock on the right, Corner Rock on the left

The point of this analysis is that the rock that's found in the planter today is the same rock seen in the "Tales of Wells Fargo" episode, and it's not End Rock. We can be sure because the sequence also includes End Rock.

The sequence uses one continuous camera shot, but End Rock and Planter Rock do not appear on screen at the same time. To juxtapose them in the sequence using still frames, we can use the tree as a reference point.

The same tree, which was positioned between End Rock and Planter Rock, appears on screen with both rocks, moments apart, revealing that while the two rocks were neighbors, they kept some distance between them.

Planter Rock in 2018: Holding it together

Taking another look at Planter Rock as it survives today, it's readily evident that the crack in the rock is no trifling matter — it's a serious rift that runs clean through the entire rock.

Planter Rock as seen from space — including the crack

The crack running through Planter Rock is big enough to be seen from space. You can't miss it in this Google 3D image taken from a satellite.

From a lower angle the shift in elevation created by the crack is evident. How the crack got there is not known, but it may have happened as long ago as 1963, when the mobile home park was built.

Planter Rock — take a bow!

Crack or no crack, the survival of Planter Rock is worth celebrating. Sure, it's no End Rock, but it's a movie rock all the same — just one that was never quite as famous as its neighbors.

Have a terrific 2019, cowboys and cowgirls!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic find! Thank you! Happy New Year!

Roger Horton said...

Do you know the girls name in the pic holding up happy new year banner?

Rp said...

Really sad to see how much has changed of old western days with stage coaches and horses etc would run the range on the tv shows of the day.
Time and age does so much to change things. and sometimes not for the better, thanks to mobile home parks and condos.
All gone but not forgotten.

Thankyou for the fantastic finds, You do a wonderful job.

Anonymous said...

what a great find,a lost movie rock that is lost nomore,i will be looking for it in movies a tv shows that was made in iverson.thanks again

steven

Steve Wilson said...

Great detective work! Hope 2019 rocks!

The Big Valley said...

Fascinating! Have you ever used a drone in your search for movie rocks or locations? Stay healthy my friends!