Why we love old movie locations — especially the Iverson Movie Ranch

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Sunday, November 5, 2023

How the family TV show "Fury" became an essential document
of filming on the Iverson Movie Ranch throughout the late 1950s

"Fury": William Fawcett, Bobby Diamond, Highland Dale, Peter Graves

The TV show "Fury," centered around the bond between a young boy and his horse, was one of the most important productions to shoot on the Iverson Movie Ranch during the late 1950s.
The Upper Iverson's Fury Set, home base for "Fury" (ca. 1955)

Hundreds of other movies and TV shows filmed on the ranch during the same period, but "Fury" became a fixture on the Upper Iverson, where a number of sets, including a complete ranch, were built for the show.
"Scorched Earth" (aired Nov. 12, 1955): First appearance by the Fury Set on "Fury"

Construction began in August 1955 on the Fury Barn, which would become the centerpiece of the Newton family's "Broken Wheel Ranch" — often referred to by historians and location researchers as the Fury Set.
"Fury" episode "Trial by Jury," 1956: The Newton family's "Broken Wheel Ranch"

In its first incarnation, the Fury Set consisted mainly of a single building — a large barn — along with a corral area, fence and gate, with a modest sign identifying the Broken Wheel Ranch. Other buildings would later be added.
"Return to Warbow" (Columbia, 1958): A rider and horse head toward the Fury Barn

The barn was fully functional, and besides being used for filming on other movies and TV shows, it was used by productions filming on the Iverson Ranch to board horses and other livestock overnight. The Iverson family charged 25 cents a night for each animal, the same rate they'd been charging for decades.
"Cimarron Strip" episode "Fool's Gold" (1968): The Fury Set

The Fury Set was available for filming by other productions whenever "Fury" wasn't shooting, and after the show wrapped in 1960, the set would remain in use on the Upper Iverson for another 10 years.
Burt Reynolds at the Fury Barn ("Gunsmoke" photo shoot, 1962)

Among the many well-known actors to be photographed at the Fury Barn was Burt Reynolds, who posed for a series of photos on the Fury Set in 1962 to publicize his run as the blacksmith Quint on "Gunsmoke." Please click here for more photos and details about Reynolds' "Gunsmoke" shoot.
"The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock" (1959): A supersized Dorothy Provine at the Fury Barn

The Fury Barn also had a memorable role in the Lou Costello comedy "The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock," starring Dorothy Provine as Emmy Lou, the giant bride.
Even the Fury Barn can't contain Emmy Lou in "The 30 Foot Bride"

This shot is almost all special effects, but it features a rapidly growing Provine popping out of a painted replica of the Fury Barn. The barn was supposed to be the only building big enough to hold Emmy Lou — but then even the barn proved too small as she kept getting bigger.
What's a giant bride to do?

Shots of Emmy Lou sticking out of the top of the building include a more detailed representation of the roof on the Fury Barn, but viewers distracted by a dripping-wet Dorothy Provine probably wouldn't notice the roof.
The 30 Foot Bride finds a rock big enough to hide behind

The movie also features a shot of Provine hiding behind the Sphinx, one of the Iverson Movie Ranch's largest and most famous movie rocks. We'll come back to the Sphinx in a moment.
Fury Barn and another strong female character in Neil Finn's "She Will Have Her Way" (1998)

Footage of the Fury Barn from "The 30 Foot Bride" was resurrected in 1998 for a music video. Click here for the rest of that story and a link to the video in a post we did back in 2012.
The movie rock "World of Outlaws," in the "Fury" episode "The Racers" (1957)

"Fury" aired on NBC from 1955-1960, and almost every episode featured footage shot on the Iverson Ranch — including nice shots of some of the location ranch's most interesting rocks.
World of Outlaws, viewed from the northwest

This shot features an unusual rock I call "World of Outlaws." The rock had been making an impression in movies since the '30s, but the angle shown in the "Fury" episode "The Racers" was relatively rare.
"Sundown Riders" (1944): World of Outlaws from about the same angle

A similar angle did turn up occasionally, including in the low-budget 16mm Western "Sundown Riders." But the quality of the circulating print doesn't do the rock justice — especially when compared with the "Fury" shot.
"The Maverick" (Allied Artists, 1952): World of Outlaws with its huge wing

A more common view of World of Outlaws can be seen in this promo still for the Bill Elliott Western "The Maverick," where the rock bears more of a resemblance to the dirt track racers that inspired its name.
Racer Mark Kinser in his "World of Outlaws" car (1991)

The rock's enormous "wing" and rounded body are reminiscent of the vintage sprint cars that used to race in the World of Outlaws series. Modern World of Outlaws cars no longer have that beetle-shaped back end.
The wing made World of Outlaws one of the most distinctive features of the North Rim

World of Outlaws was a standout in movies and TV shows, but the rock came to a sad end. It was destroyed in the late 1980s, when the former Upper Iverson began to be developed into a gated residential community.

Fury in trouble near the Sphinx in "Ten Dollars a Head" (1959)

Another good Iverson Movie Ranch rock sighting turns up in this sequence from the "Fury" episode "Ten Dollars a Head," shot on the Lower Iverson. The episode aired during season four.
The Sphinx in "Tell It to the Marines" (1926) (Bison Archives photo)

The Sphinx, the same rock Emmy Lou hid behind in "The 30 Foot Bride," appeared in countless productions going back to the silent film era. The huge rock can still be found in the Garden of the Gods on the former Lower Iverson.
Where Fury was tied up

The scene in which Fury is tied up in "Ten Dollars a Head" takes place near the northwest corner of the Sphinx, in the area indicated here.

Fury has just been lassoed by bad guys near a group of rocks situated at the west end of the Sphinx. The shot includes an "intruder rock" that we've discussed here before.

The rock was still seated on top of an elevated rock ledge when "Fury" filmed in the area in 1958, but it would later fall off its perch — most likely in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

Original position of the Intruder Rock (photographed in 2018)

We tracked the journey taken by the rock during an expedition to the site back in 2018.

The Intruder Rock in its new location (2018)

The intruder rock would land "standing up" in an area that was previously used for filming. It can still be found today in the same spot where it landed.

"The Lone Ranger" TV series: Cavalry guys in the same location where the rock would end up

Two Cavalry guys in the "War Horse" episode of "The Lone Ranger," filmed in 1949, could have been crushed — along with the "dead guy" behind them — if the rock had decided to fall a few decades ahead of schedule.

The "Fury" shot provides a good look at the jagged "front edge" of the rock as it appeared before it fell.

The jagged edge can still be identified in the 2018 photo, even though the rock rotated and wound up in a more vertical orientation.

The area near the edge of the rock includes a prominent triangular section.

The triangular section is also identifiable in the "Fury" shot. To learn more about the intriguing journey of the intruder rock, please click here to read our post about it from 2018.
The Iverson Ranch's "Midway House" — aka the "Fury House"

For most of the five-season run of "Fury," the Newton family lived in a house I call the "Midway House." It is also sometimes referred to as the "Fury House," but it appeared in many productions in addition to "Fury."
Footprint of the Midway House in the modern landscape

The name "Midway House" is based on the house's location — about midway between the North Rim and South Rim, two of the most heavily filmed areas on the former Upper Iverson.
The layout as it exists today — zoomed in on the Midway House area

Here's a closer look at that part of the contemporary satellite shot, showing the approximate footprint of the Midway House between the North Rim and South Rim filming areas.
The Newton family at the Midway House in "Fury"

The Newton family consisted of father figure Jim, played by Peter Graves, and his adopted son Joey (Bobby Diamond), along with B-Western veteran William Fawcett as Pete, the family's live-in codger.
The "other Midway House," a soundstage facade

During the show's first season, the Midway House existed only on a soundstage. When the Iverson Ranch Midway House was built in 1956 — in time for season two of "Fury" — the set builders made sure it looked almost exactly like the soundstage facade.
"Fury" episode "Pirate Treasure" (1956): Soundstage set or Midway House?

The two sets matched each other so closely that it can be difficult, and at times impossible, to tell them apart. However, we know this one was the soundstage facade because the real Midway House hadn't been built yet.
The real Midway House, in "Aunt Harriet" (1958)

Three seasons later, an older Joey again walked out the front door — only this time it was the actual Midway House on the Upper Iverson. Among the clues are some subtle differences in the porch column on the left.
"The Will" ("Fury," season 4, 1958): The soundstage facade

Whenever a shot of the Newton family home includes background features, it becomes much easier to tell whether we're seeing the Iverson Movie Ranch set or the soundstage facade.
"Fury" didn't quite nail the backdrops for the soundstage set

Here the painted background hills are pretty easy to spot, and we know we're seeing the soundstage set.
"The Model Plane" (1958): Joey and Pete arrive at the soundstage set

The fake hills used on either side of the house were virtually identical. Here again, the painted backdrop leaves no doubt that we're seeing the soundstage facade.
"Aunt Harriet" (1958): The gang arrives at the real Midway House

In contrast, here's a shot of the Newtons arriving home from the same side. This time it's the actual Midway House on the Upper Iverson.
The Upper Iverson's "Midway Rocks" loom in the background

We know it's the real house because the backdrop is much more realistic, and is made up of genuine Iverson Movie Ranch rocks. I call this rock cluster the "Midway Rocks."
Packy arrives at the fake barn in "The Model Plane" (1958)

"Fury" did the same thing with the barn, using a soundstage facade to stand in for the actual barn — especially when it came to shooting dialogue. Here too, they used the same cheesy backdrop we've already seen, with the same painting of generic hills.
"The Claim Jumpers" (1958): The real Fury Barn, with real background hills

It's pretty easy to tell the difference between the real barn and the fake one when you can see the background hills. These are clearly the real ones — and the real corral too, not just a little bit of fake fencing.
The Midway House appears in the "Have Gun Will Travel" episode "The Lady" (1958)

The late 1950s were a busy period on the Iverson Ranch, with TV Westerns booming while feature films remained strong. During this period the Fury Barn, Midway House and other structures built for "Fury" saw plenty of action in other productions too.
"The Gambler Wore a Gun" (1961): Midway House after "Fury"

The Midway House remained in place for a decade after "Fury" wrapped, and continued to appear in movies and on TV. It is believed that the building was one of the many casualties of the Clampitt Fire, which swept across the Iverson Ranch in fall 1970, destroying most of the remaining sets.
"Fury" episode "Man-Killer" (1959): A single set, or two sets?

One unusual thing about the Midway House is that it was located relatively far away from the "Fury Barn" by movie set standards, even though the two buildings were supposed to represent a single ranch on "Fury."
The main cast arrives at the barn — photographed from inside the barn

Because of the distance between the house and barn, the show had to be careful about how it filmed the two buildings. Some scenes would be edited specifically to give the impression that the house was right near the barn, while in other shots the camera had to be set up in just the right spot to avoid revealing the layout of the sets.
A prominent Iverson Movie Ranch landmark fills the background

This shot is taken from inside the barn, looking south, with Cactus Hill in the background. On the other side of the hill was the Lower Iverson, with Cactus Hill separating the Upper and Lower Ranches.
The Midway House remains hidden, by design

Shooting from inside the barn enabled the crew to get an interesting background in the shot, but it had to be photographed carefully to avoid showing the Midway House way in the distance.
"Fury" episode "The Map" (1959): Tight shot of the main cast at the Fury Barn

The show also relied a lot on tight shots to avoid revealing any clues around the edges of the frame.
The new kid, "Packy"

This screen shot from season five includes young Roger Mobley, who joined the show as a series regular in season four, playing Joey's friend Packy. In this shot everyone's presumably watching Fury do something smart.
Anita Ekberg rides out from the Midway House in "Valerie" (1957)

One of the more interesting productions to feature the Midway House is "Valerie," a United Artists Western starring Anita Ekberg and Sterling Hayden. The movie filmed during the period when "Fury" was still in production.
Anita Ekberg and Sterling Hayden on the Iverson Ranch in "Valerie"

The movie includes shots of Hayden and Ekberg taken on the Iverson Ranch's "Cactus Hill," which at times presents wide vistas of the Upper Iverson.
"Valerie": A bird's-eye view of the Upper Iverson

This wide shot from "Valerie" offers a rare elevated perspective on the Upper Iverson.
Juxtaposition of Midway House to the south and Fury Barn to the north

Among other things, the shot gives us a better sense of the distance between the Midway House and the Fury Barn. They were close enough to each other that "Fury" could get away with using them both, but the crew would have had to haul a lot of equipment back and forth, which must have been a hassle.
Looking northwest from Midway House — Anita Ekberg, with Rocky Peak in the background

Sterling Hayden was in plenty of Westerns and worked regularly on the Iverson Movie Ranch, but this was probably the only time the Swedish-born Ekberg appeared on the ranch.
Anita Ekberg in 1956, one year before she appeared in "Valerie"

For more about Anita Ekberg, "Valerie" and the movie's interesting use of sets on the Upper Iverson, please click here to see a post we did about "Valerie" in 2016.
The Fury Barn House ("Have Gun Will Travel," 1958)

The Fury Set continued to evolve throughout "Fury's" five-year residency on the Upper Iverson, and a number of buildings were added. In 1958 a second house was built, much closer to the Fury Barn.
"The Gambler Wore a Gun" (1961): The Fury Barn and Fury Barn House

I call this second house the "Fury Barn House" because of its proximity to the Fury Barn. The new building stood immediately to the east of the barn.
The Fury Set as the "Diamond D Ranch"

With the addition of the Fury Barn House, the Fury Set became a more traditional ranch set, with a house and barn next to each other. Here it plays the Diamond D Ranch in "The Gambler Wore a Gun."
A small section of the house's southwest face is visible behind the barn

The Fury Barn House was close enough to the barn's eastern side that it was often partially hidden behind the barn — and it could be completely hidden, if necessary.
"The Gambler Wore a Gun": All three of the main "Fury" buildings

This shot from "The Gambler Wore a Gun," filmed about a year after "Fury" wrapped its final season, includes all three of the major buildings that were constructed for "Fury."
"Fury" sets, built from 1955-1958

In the foreground is a section of the Midway House, on the right, with the Fury Barn and Fury Barn House visible in the distance. The shot again points out the distance between the Midway House and the other sets.
Packy's dad, Mr. Lambert, works on the family tractor outside the Fury Barn House

The Fury Barn House would become a well-used set for the Iverson Ranch, appearing in its share of productions over the next decade. But it was built for "Fury," where it played Packy's house starting in season four.
Packy arrives home on horseback (with a young riding double filling in for Roger Mobley)

In "The Littlest Horse Thief," the first episode of season four — and the first episode to feature the Fury Barn House — Packy unexpectedly arrives home with a horse.
"The Littlest Horse Thief" (Season 4, Episode 1)

Packy's mom and dad are surprised to see him ride up on a horse, and aren't exactly happy about it. Moments later, they will break the news to him that he can't keep it, setting in motion some high drama.
Nan Leslie, who played Stella Lambert, Packy's mom

Packy's mom was played by Nan Leslie, who had appeared opposite Tim Holt as the female lead in a series of RKO B-Westerns in the 1940s — amid word around Hollywood that Holt and Leslie were dating at the time. Packy's dad was played by at least two different actors: John Compton and William Leslie.
Packy rides past the side of the Fury Barn House — another front, ready to be filmed

A disappointed Packy (actually his double again) rides off to return the horse. As he heads out, we get a look at the southeast face of the Lambert house and can see that it's actually another front.
"Branded" episode "The Vindicators" (1965): Southeast face of the Fury Barn House

The house's southeast face wasn't in nearly as many productions as the southwest face, which we've been seeing as the front of the Lamberts' house. But here's the southeast face again, dressed up with a picket fence and a bunch of plants as a duded-up guy in a wagon comes a-callin' in the TV series "Branded."
"Branded": The Fury Barn House and Fury Barn

A wider shot from the "Branded" sequence shows how the house lines up with the Fury Barn, along with some familiar Iverson Movie Ranch background hills to the west — including Pyramid Peak on the left.
Claude Akins and June Lockhart "spark" on the southeast porch

It turns out the dude in the wagon is Claude Akins, and the lady he's calling on is June Lockhart. But even if Akins appears slightly smitten, he might just be using Lockhart to get information.
"The Cat" (1966): Another appearance by the house's southeast face

Another time the southeast face of the Fury Barn House found its way into a production — in color this time — was in the rarely seen movie "The Cat," released in 1966.
Poster for "The Cat," filmed on the Iverson Ranch

"The Cat" is about a big cat that's on the loose, but the movie is so rare I thought I'd better show the poster to prove it even exists.
Behind-the-scenes on "The Cat" (1966): Young Dwayne Redlin out walking his pal

Child actor Dwayne Redlin plays Toby, a young boy who befriends the wildcat. But friends or no friends, I have a feeling if this happened now instead of back in 1966, someone from Child Protective Services would have something to say about it.
"The Rocketeers" (1959): A rare use of the southeast face on "Fury"

The "Fury" TV series almost never used the southeast face of the Fury Barn House as a set, and this screen shot from "The Rocketeers" might offer a hint as to why. Can you spot a small blooper in the shot?
Hey, that shadow shouldn't be there!

The southeast face was used as the Rockwell home in the "Fury" episode, but the set may have been considered bad luck after the shadow of a boom mic found its way into the shot.
Midway House vs. Fury Barn House: Are they meant to look the same?

The Midway House and the southeast face of the Fury Barn House have too much in common for the design similarities to be purely accidental. The similarities can make things confusing for location research, but I believe they were done intentionally so that production companies could use the sets somewhat interchangeably.
Paladin and a friend arrive at the Fury Barn House in "The Lady" (1958)

Getting back to the more frequently filmed side of the Fury Barn House — its charming cottage-style southwest face — one of its first appearances besides "Fury" was in an episode of "Have Gun Will Travel."
Burt Reynolds drums up business for "Gunsmoke" in 1962

A few years later the house was part of that Burt Reynolds shoot for "Gunsmoke" that we mentioned earlier. More pics from Burt's "Gunsmoke" photo shoot on the Fury Set can be found here.
"The Shattered Silence" ("The Fugitive," Season 4, 1967)

One of my personal favorites among the TV appearances by the Fury Barn House was in "The Fugitive." The title card for Act IV shows a Jeep parked in front of the house.
David Janssen stands outside the Fury Barn House

Here we find the Fugitive himself, Richard Kimble, played by David Janssen, standing near the Jeep before heading into the house.
Inevitably, the cops show up

Eventually the police arrive, which tends to happen a lot on "The Fugitive" and is almost always a problem for Dr. Kimble.
The Fury Barn House's "charming cottage" side

The "Fugitive" episode includes some of the best shots ever taken of the Fury Barn House, where the southwest face, or "main entrance," now has its own picket fence, statues and plenty of foliage and is seen in beautiful color.
The Fury Cabin, west of the Fury Barn, in the "Fury" episode "Ten Dollars a Head" (1959)

One other structure to be added to the Fury Set was a small wooden cabin, probably built in the summer of 1958. It began showing up in "Fury" episodes early in season four, which premiered in fall 1958.
The jaw that launched a thousand fistfights

If that menacing jawline looks familiar, it's because it belongs to perennial B-Western heavy Leo Gordon. Although Gordon occasionally played good guys, in "Fury" he stayed in character by illegally rounding up horses.
Tough guy Leo Gordon (in tank top), in "Riot in Cell Block 11" (1954)

Despite frequent typecasting, the versatile Gordon — who reportedly spent five years in prison in real life for armed robbery — also found time for a successful career as a screenwriter and novelist.
"Tennessee's Partner" (1955): Gordon talks John Payne out of killing Anthony Caruso

Gordon worked many times on the Iverson Movie Ranch, including playing the sheriff in "Tennessee's Partner." Click here for a breakdown of filming locations for the movie's climactic sequence, as seen in the photo above.
The Fury Cabin, left, and Fury Barn, right ("Fury" episode "Aunt Harriet," 1958)

The Fury Cabin only found its way into a few episodes of "Fury," but it remained standing for more than a decade and would be put to good use in a number of other TV shows and movies.
"Oklahoma Territory" (1960): The Fury Cabin makes a cameo

Sometimes we just get a glimpse of the cabin in the distance, as in this example from the United Artists B-Western "Oklahoma Territory."
"Bonanza" episode "The Hayburner": Fury Cabin on the left

In other productions the Fury Cabin just happens to be there as someone rides past, as in this shot from the "Bonanza" episode "The Hayburner," which premiered Feb. 17, 1963. The shot is topped off by a section of the Santa Susana Mountains ridgeline to the west, including Rocky Peak at top right.
The Fury Cabin, showcased in "The Virginian," 1964

But a few TV series, including "The Virginian," have featured the cabin more prominently. Here the building is seen in the episode "A Bride for Lars," which first aired April 15, 1964.
Doug McClure as Trampas with Katherine Crawford as Anna, at the Fury Cabin

Series regular Doug McClure and guest star Katherine Crawford are seen hanging around the cabin in "A Bride for Lars." This shot provides some nice detail on the cabin's wooden exterior.
"The Fugitive" (1967): The Fury Cabin gets its own title card

Other closeups of the Fury Cabin can be seen in "The Shattered Silence" — the same episode of "The Fugitive" that featured the Fury Barn House, although the two sets are not associated with each other in the episode.
The cabin's resident hunting dogs await something or someone to hunt

In "The Shattered Silence," a reclusive older guy lives in the cabin with his hunting dogs. Once the fugitive enters the picture, it's not hard to imagine who the dogs might end up hunting.
"The Fugitive": The right side of the cabin has a new facade

By the time "The Fugitive" filmed the Fury Cabin, probably in early 1967, the structure's wooden exterior on the right side had been covered up by what is presumably fake brick material.
Three years earlier: The cabin's all-wooden exterior is seen in "The Virginian"

For most of the life of the cabin, including when "The Virginian" used the set three years before "The Fugitive," the exterior was all wood, including on the right side.
David Janssen and Laurence Naismith at the cabin

In "The Fugitive," the Fury Cabin's resident hermit, played by Laurence Naismith, initially takes in Dr. Kimble and the two men hit it off just fine.
Kimble tries to befriend the dogs

For a while, Kimble also gets along OK with those dogs. Meanwhile, the cabin gets plenty of airtime.
Yet another Fury Set title card

I won't give away the rest of the plot, but later on we get another title card with the cabin in it, featuring the familiar ridgeline of the Santa Susana Mountains to the west and a goat peeking over the corral fence.
"Cimarron Strip" episode "Fool's Gold" (1968): Fury Cabin in the foreground

Another show that spotlighted the cabin is the Stuart Whitman Western "Cimarron Strip," which lasted one season on CBS during 1967-1968. The "Cimarron" shoot would have taken place soon after the "Fugitive" shoot.
The front of the cabin in "Cimarron Strip," with brick facade still in place

This view of the cabin in "Cimarron Strip" reveals that the fake brick material seen in the "Fugitive" remained in place, although it's harder to see it in the "Cimarron" episode.
Fury Cabin, Corral and Pond in "Fool's Gold," looking west toward Pyramid Peak

The cabin and other elements of the Fury Set were featured in the episode "Fool's Gold," which was shot in 1967 and premiered Jan. 11, 1968. The corral was also spruced up, with what appears to be a new fence.
"The Fugitive": The goat may be on to something as it tries to escape the corral

Taking another look at the corral in "The Fugitive," we can see that the old fence had begun to lean — maybe from that goat butting up against it. It's also worth noting that the fenceposts were originally on the inside of the corral.
"Cimarron Strip": A bigger, better corral

When we next see the spread in "Cimarron Strip," the corral appears to have been reconfigured and expanded, with a sturdy new fence, new gates, a fresh coat of white paint and the fenceposts now on the outside of the fence.
"Fury Pond" in "Fool's Gold"

The "Cimarron Strip" episode also showcased a new Upper Iverson water feature, a small pond near the cabin. To date, this episode is the only production in which I've seen this pond.
"Cimarron Strip": The Fury Cabin reflected in the Pond

It's unknown whether the pond was created specifically for "Cimarron Strip" or just left over after a rainstorm, but the show used the new water feature to create one-of-a-kind shots showing the cabin reflected in the pond.
Upper Iverson's Hidden Valley Cabin in the "Fury" episode "Community Chest" (1957)

During the five seasons the TV show "Fury" spent on the Iverson Ranch, the series often ventured beyond the confines of its own sets, capturing shots of many of the movie ranch's other standing sets.
The Middle Iverson Ranch Set appears on "Fury" ("The Vanishing Blacksmith," 1959)

As we noted previously, some of the sets have certain design elements in common. This is true again of the main house on the Middle Iverson Ranch Set, seen here in a season five "Fury" episode. The house is not part of the Fury Set, but it bears a resemblance to both the Midway House and the Fury Barn House.
Iverson Pond as the backdrop for a rescue sequence in "The Witch" (1960)

"Fury" also made use of a number of the Iverson Ranch's existing water features. This rescue sequence in "The Witch" played out against the backdrop of Iverson Pond, which took the place of the Iverson Western street on the Lower Iverson after demolition of the street was completed in 1958.
Part of a major set that stood from 1937-1963

An interesting building can be seen in the background, largely hidden in shadows. It was part of a large set known as the "India Fort," built in 1937 by director John Ford for the Shirley Temple movie "Wee Willie Winkie."
Behind the scenes on "Wee Willie Winkie" in 1937 (Jerry England collection)

This is what the India Fort looked like during filming on "Wee Willie Winkie," when the set was still new. Click here to learn more about this historic set and other sets built on the Iverson Ranch for "Wee Willie Winkie."
A crane is used to rescue a horse from the Reflecting Pool in "The Witch"

A water rescue of a different kind also takes place in the same "Fury" episode, "The Witch." In this sequence a horse is lifted to safety after getting stuck in the Reflecting Pool on the Upper Iverson.
Impending disaster on the set of "The Adventures of Marco Polo," filmed in 1937

The position of the horse as it's being hoisted by a crane reminded me of this photo taken on the Iverson Ranch in 1937, during filming on "The Adventures of Marco Polo." This shot, which also involves a horse being lifted by a crane, captures the moment when a disastrous accident is about to take place on the set.
Promo still for "The Adventures of Marco Polo," taken just before the safety cables snapped

We examined the 1937 horse accident in detail several years ago on this blog. Please click here to see our full report on this disturbing chapter in Iverson Movie Ranch history.
Tagg stops at the Reflecting Pool in the "Annie Oakley" episode "Dilemma at Diablo" (1956)

We've also posted items previously about the Reflecting Pool, including one about Steve McQueen that you can see by clicking here; and an older post examining the above scene from the TV show "Annie Oakley."
Wrench Rock, the Reflecting Pool's closest neighbor, in "Annie Oakley"

The "Annie Oakley" sequence includes a nice shot of the gargoyle-like Wrench Rock, a survivor that remains one of the most interesting rocks on the former Iverson Ranch.
Wrench Rock in the "Fury" episode "Ten Dollars a Head" (1959)

Wrench Rock has also been featured in "Fury," including this sequence from the season 4 episode "Ten Dollars a Head." This shot and the other Wrench Rock shots above here showcase the rock's western profile.
"Saddle Tramp" (1950): Wrench Rock's eastern profile

The rock's eastern profile may be even more picturesque — I consider this the rock's "good side." This shot of Joel McCrea in "Saddle Tramp" can be seen at the top of each page of the Iverson Movie Ranch Blog.
Wrench Rock's eastern profile in 2018

Unfortunately, Wrench Rock's eastern profile has been hidden from view for decades by a large tree.
"Cade's County" (1971): Wrench Rock before the tree got to be a problem

Way back in the early 1970s, Wrench Rock was still being showcased in productions — and the tree that would later ruin the view of the rock from this angle was little more than a bush.
Wrench Rock gets a closeup in "Cade's County"

The charismatic rock's unusual profile remained fully visible in 1971, and was prominently featured in the "Cade's County" episode "The Mustangers," which premiered Nov. 14, 1971.
The young tree is not yet the nuisance it would later become

Please click here for a little more about Wrench Rock's appearance in "Cade's County" — where we also discuss the impact of the fall 1970 wildfires on the Iverson Ranch and other Southern California filming locations.
"The Tomb" (filmed in 1985, released in 1986)

By 1985, when a silly fantasy/horror film called "The Tomb" went on location on the Upper Iverson, the tree had started to be a problem, blocking much of the view of Wrench Rock's classic profile.
"The Tomb": Zoomed in on Wrench Rock, with its troublesome tree

Zooming in on Wrench Rock as it appeared in "The Tomb," we can see that the tree had begun to get in the way. It would get worse in later years, although by then it would matter mainly to fans of old movie locations.
Wrench Rock's eastern profile in 2023

Here's a surprise: The tree that has obstructed the view of Wrench Rock's best side since the 1980s is gone now. The tree was cut down earlier this year, restoring Wrench Rock's eastern profile to its former glory.
"Trail Drive" ("Fury," season five): Bobby Diamond rides Fury on the Upper Iverson

During the years that "Fury" filmed on the Iverson Ranch, the show occasionally captured accidental shots of an elevated camera platform that used to be in place on the Upper Iverson's North Rim.
The camera platform sneaks into the shot

The platform was situated a short distance west of the Fury Set, on top of a large pile of rocks I refer to in my research as Rocks Across the Way-West.
Rocks Across the Way-West in modern times

The rock formation is still standing on what was once the Upper Iverson's North Rim, but today it is part of an upscale residential neighborhood. The location sits behind guarded sentry gates, and access is restricted.
Rocks Across the Way-West (2015): Former location of the camera platform

I was able to get these photos of the Rocks Across the Way on an expedition to the North Rim back in 2015. This shot identifies where the camera platform was once located.
Remains of one of the old platform's anchor points

While nothing remains of the camera platform itself, a few reminders can still be found, such as anchor points for the platform's support posts along with ruts that apparently once held reinforcing cables.
"Three Masked Men" ("Roy Rogers Show," 1955): Who left that camera platform up there?

"Fury" wasn't the only production to inadvertently present views of the camera platform. It's pretty easy to spot — and hard to explain away — in this shot from "The Roy Rogers Show."
"Fury" episode "Gaucho" (filmed in 1959, aired in February 1960)

One of the better shots of the camera platform is in another "Fury" episode, "Gaucho," which includes this weird shot of a "guest horse" where the platform is in plain view at top left.
"Bat Masterson" episode "Incident at Fort Bowie" (1960): Three's a crowd

Most productions just ignored the "camera platform problem," or failed to notice it. Others made half-hearted attempts to disguise the platform, as seen in this example from "Bat Masterson."
Zoomed in on the platform, with its less than convincing "disguise"

The "Bat Masterson" crew didn't go to a whole lot of trouble, but if we zoom in we can see that someone at least made an attempt, adding fake foliage to try to help the platform blend in with the scenery.
Disney's "Elfego Baca, Attorney at Law" (filmed in 1958, aired Feb. 6, 1959)

Other production teams went to considerably more trouble, including one sent by Disney to shoot episodes of the "Elfego Baca" story for broadcast during season five of the long-running "Disneyland" TV series.
Nothing to see here!

The "Elfego Baca" team made a more robust, and more successful, attempt to cover up the camera platform than what "Bat Masterson" would manage about a year later.
"Rodeo King and the Senorita" (1951): Refusing to let the camera platform ruin the shot

Other productions came up with their own sometimes questionable strategies for dealing with the camera platform problem, as in the case of this lobby card for the Rex Allen B-Western "Rodeo King and the Senorita."
When in doubt, just white it out

The producers didn't want to waste a good action shot, but they clearly didn't want the platform in the picture. So they got rid of it with something that looks like Wite-Out — cheap and easy, but not the most subtle solution.
"Mercy Flight" ("Fury," season three, 1957)

One of the many unusual sequences shot during "Fury's" five seasons on the Iverson Ranch featured a small plane. The location wasn't large enough for takeoffs and landings, so any airplanes had to be trucked in.
"Mercy Flight": Touching down on an Upper Iverson chase road

The plane did touch down briefly on a wide chase road before taking off again right away. The chase road wasn't long enough for a full landing, but landings and takeoffs could be faked in this manner.
The plane heads east after its fake landing

Here the plane appears to take off toward the east, but again, this was only after a brief touchdown.
In the sky above the Upper Iverson

The plane then circled back over the Upper Iverson, a maneuver that was probably filmed repeatedly. This shot captures the heavily filmed Oat Mountain in the background, to the north of the Iverson Ranch.
Taxiing on the Upper Iverson, after the plane was trucked in

Shots of the plane taxiing or positioned on the ground had to be taken after trucking the plane to the location.
A major Upper Iverson landmark in "Fury"

The huge rock noted here has come to be known as "Prominent Rock," and is sometimes called "Medicine Rock." Because it towered over a major chase road, it can be found in a lot of movies and TV shows.
"King of the Mounties" (Republic, 1942): Prominent Rock again

The field below Prominent Rock was a popular spot to park small planes. This example comes from the Allan "Rocky" Lane serial "King of the Mounties."
"The Threat" (1949): Another light plane comes in for a fake landing

Another example of aviation filming in this corner of the Iverson Ranch can be found in the RKO crime drama "The Threat," which starred Michael O'Shea and Virginia Grey.
Buzzing a couple of Iverson Movie Ranch landmarks

In this case two Upper Iverson landmarks can be seen: Prominent Rock and Cap Rock.
Prominent Rock in 2016, from the same angle seen in "The Threat"

Both Prominent Rock and Cap Rock remain in place today, although they're becoming harder to see due to ongoing development and tree growth. This is a photo I took of Prominent Rock in 2016.
Cap Rock, circa 2010 — today even more of it has been covered up by trees

Cap Rock in the modern landscape is even harder to see than Prominent Rock, having been largely swallowed up by trees and other growth. This is a photo I took of it in about 2010, and the trees are bigger now.
"The Tiger Woman" (1944): More aviation-related filming at Prominent Rock

Still another example of a light plane parked near Prominent Rock can be found in Chapter 10 of "The Tiger Woman," a Republic serial that again starred Rocky Lane, with Linda Stirling in the title role.
The full western profile of Prominent Rock

I wanted to be sure to include this shot because it's taken from farther west than previous photos and showcases Prominent Rock's impressive western profile.
Prominent Rock's western profile in 2009

The best shot I have of Prominent Rock's western profile in modern times is probably this one taken in 2009. Here again, the trees and other foliage have grown since then, gradually swallowing up more of the rock.
"Fury" episode "Trail Drive" (1959): Prominent Rock provides just the right accent

Prominent Rock was used frequently as an artistic element by directors and cinematographers shooting on the Iverson Ranch, and "Fury" is no exception. This shot ran during season five.
"Golden Stallion" (1949): Nice use of Prominent Rock during a chase

The "Trail Drive" shot may have been inspired by this beautifully framed shot taken 10 years earlier for the movie "Golden Stallion" — or by any number of other shots like it.
"The Claim Jumpers" ("Fury," season three, 1958)

"Fury" also captured nice shots of some of the Iverson Ranch's lesser-known rocks during its five seasons on the location ranch. This scene was shot on the Lower Iverson, in the Central Garden of the Gods.
"Burt Lancaster Rock," Central Garden of the Gods

The screen shot showcases an unusual but largely overlooked rock, which I call "Burt Lancaster Rock." This entire location remains intact today and is open to the public.
"Ten Tall Men" (Columbia, 1951): Burt Lancaster on his namesake rock

The name "Burt Lancaster Rock" comes from a sequence in the Foreign Legion movie "Ten Tall Men" in which actor Burt Lancaster stands on the rock as he is confronted by a woman with a rifle.
Burt Lancaster Rock in 2019

This is what the location looks like in modern times, although I took this shot in 2019 and the area is quite a bit more overgrown today than it was back then. Burt Lancaster Rock is the one on the right.
"Ten Tall Men": Mahla lies in wait as Lancaster rides up

Other shots in the "Ten Tall Men" sequence provide additional context for the location as a whole and for Burt Lancaster Rock in particular. In this shot Lancaster arrives on horseback, unaware that he's about to be shot at.
Burt Lancaster Rock

It's hard to miss the weird-shaped Burt Lancaster Rock, but I've noted it here just in case. Once the shooting starts, Lancaster's character takes shelter behind the rock.
Jody Lawrance as Mahla, who has it in for Burt Lancaster's character

The woman trying to kill Lancaster's Foreign Legion sergeant is Mahla, played by Jody Lawrance. The daughter of a sheik, Mahla is a pawn in a struggle between her father and Lancaster's Foreign Legion outfit.
Mahla closes in from the east

The sequence is filmed in what I call "location verite," meaning that the characters are filmed where they're supposed to be and the camera moves, rather than the other way around. It may seem like a no-brainer, but a common shortcut on location shoots was to leave the camera in one place and move the actors instead.
The heavily filmed Old Yeller Tree

The cameras capture much of the Central Garden of the Gods in "Ten Tall Men," including shots looking east toward Mahla's position — and one of the best shots ever of the Old Yeller Tree.
Attack at Burt Lancaster Rock

Mahla charges Burt Lancaster's character in front of his rock, leading to a brief scuffle. The two bitter enemies would later find common ground.
Garden of the Gods Park, off Redmesa Road in Chatsworth, Calif.

Today the Central Garden of the Gods and Burt Lancaster Rock are part of a public park, although the Old Yeller Tree no longer exists. Here are the GPS coordinates for this location: 34°16'23.5"N 118°36'45.2"W.

"Fury": Peter Graves, Highland Dale, Bobby Diamond and William Fawcett

Believe it or not, there are still a few "Fury" rocks we haven't mentioned here, including some we've reported on before. For more about "Fury" on the Iverson Ranch, click here to see our post from 2014.