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 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

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I am searching for information on the great cinematographers of the B-movie era

I want to honor the legacy of the cinematographers and other production people who worked in relative obscurity during the heyday of the B-Western and the Saturday matinee serial. If you have information about DPs, directors, production managers or other behind-the-scenes people involved in making B-movies, serials or early TV shows from the silent era through the 1950s — especially those involved in location work and anyone who may have worked at the Iverson Movie Ranch — I would love to hear from you.

With the exception of the most high-profile figures from this period — movie stars and prominent directors, mainly — I have been able to dig up precious little information on the talented people who shaped our movie history and our culture through low-budget, independent productions. I think it would be tragic to allow their legacies to fade from memory while there are still people around who can tell their stories.

I would especially like to hear from the survivors — spouses, friends, co-workers, children, grandchildren and beyond — of those who played a role in making movies at Iverson, as well as anyone who is around who has memories of Iverson.

I am especially interested in hearing about the cinematographers — the men who aimed their cameras at Iverson's dramatic rock formations, among other things, and thereby recorded the ranch's legacy for posterity. I hope to hear from anyone who might be able to help flesh out their biographical information and gain insights into what made them tick.

Here are some of the cinematographers I would like to find out more about:

George Meehan
Bud Thackery
Jack Greenhalgh
Jack Marta
Mack Stengler
Marcel Le Picard
Benjamin Kline
Gilbert Warrenton
Ira H. Morgan
George Kelley
Rex Wimpy
William Hyer
James S. Brown Jr.
Edward Kull
Ellis W. Carter
Harry Neumann
... and others who may not yet be on the radar

Please contact me by commenting on any of the blog entries or by e-mailing me at

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ready for his closeup: A "character actor"
lurks in the bushes of the Upper Iverson

Here's a screen shot from the 1948 Rocky Lane movie "Sundown in Santa Fe," from Republic Pictures. Visible in the background is a cluster of fairly obscure rocks found on the Upper Iverson Movie Ranch, the focal point being the one with a large, flat "forehead" seen toward the right side of the shot.

Not nearly as flashy as some of the other landmarks of the Upper Iverson, this little group of relatively unknown rocks nonetheless got its share of screen time in the backgrounds of chase sequences during the heyday of the B-Western. They were (and still are) located below and between some of the larger and more iconic chase rocks found in the Upper Iverson's widely filmed South Rim area, such as Prominent Rock (also known as Medicine Rock) and Eagle Beak Rock. I started calling this cluster the Frankenstein Group a while back, because the large forehead on that one rock seemed to be asking for it.

I stumbled upon "Frankenstein" in real life on a 2009 visit to Iverson. I was intrigued by the look of the rock but did not immediately recognize it from the movies. I just thought of it as an interesting character, and I snapped a few photos. Here's one of them:

It wasn't until sometime later — just the other day, while sifting through photos — that it occurred to me there might be a connection between "Frankenstein" and my South Rim denizen. Sure enough, they turned out to be the same rock.

The rock doesn't look much like Frankenstein in real life — it's uglier than Dr. F's man in green. But then, that's a part of what makes it beautiful. Iverson's "Frankenstein" has also probably been in more movies than the famous movie monster — although admittedly, it could be a close call.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

An important find: The Molar has survived

One of the most widely filmed rocks at the former Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif., is the Molar, which turns up in the background of countless chase sequences filmed on the Upper Iverson back in the '30s, '40s and '50s and seen in B-Westerns, serials and early TV shows. As one example — and there are literally hundreds to choose from — here's a shot of Roy Rogers from 1955, showing him riding past the Molar, which appears in the top right corner of the picture. The shot is from an episode of "The Roy Rogers Show" called "The Scavenger."

In recent times the Molar has eluded film historians — until today. Previously thought to have been destroyed to make way for construction of the luxury homes of Indian Falls Estates, which now occupy most of the former Upper Iverson, it turns out the Molar was preserved and has been under our noses all along. It now sits proudly, if that's the right word, in the driveway of one of those homes. Here's the Molar today — literally today, as I went to the site earlier this evening, found the rock for the first time and snapped this photo:

The angles of the two shots are not identical, as usual, but it's possible to see markings on the rock that make its identification unmistakable, such as the curved line in the bottom half of the rock, near the center, and various indentations just to the left of that curved line. Click on the photos to enlarge them for a better look.