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.
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• 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.
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Friday, January 9, 2015

A reflection on Steve McQueen at the Iverson Movie Ranch, in "Wanted: Dead or Alive"

"Wanted: Dead or Alive" (1958) — Steve McQueen and Wrench Rock

I'm a fan of Steve McQueen and a fan of Wrench Rock, so seeing the two of them "work together" in an episode of "Wanted: Dead or Alive" is a treat. The episode, "The Favor," premiered Nov. 15, 1958, during the first season of the CBS Western series. "The Favor" featured an extensive shoot on the South Rim of the Upper Iverson.

On the unlikely chance that you're planning to watch this episode of the show anytime soon, I will warn you now that this blog post WILL give away key plot points.

It goes without saying that Steve McQueen was cool. But as if he needed to prove the point, here he is, rolling a cigarette on the South Rim. McQueen starred as bounty hunter Josh Randall in the series.

Steve McQueen and his trademark "Mare's Leg" repeating rifle make a point 
to Skip Homeier in "The Favor" — the scene is shot on Iverson's South Rim

The plot has McQueen trying to bring in a wrongly accused guy played by veteran character actor Skip Homeier. For the shoot, both Homeier and McQueen romped all over the rocky South Rim and up onto Cactus Hill, with the episode offering nice views in particular of Bobby's Bend, the section of the South Rim where most of the photos in this post were shot.

Steve McQueen on the South Rim

The episode is directed by B-Western veteran Thomas Carr, who was a regular at Iverson throughout his long career in feature films and TV. Carr may be best known for his directing on the TV shows "Adventures of Superman" and "Rawhide," in additon to many episodes of "Wanted: Dead or Alive."

Even though Homeier's character is McQueen's quarry, some bonding occurs between the two men, and they form the beginnings of a friendship.

McQueen and Wrench Rock again — because, why not?

McQueen casts an eye toward the clifftop above Wrench Rock, where Homeier is hiding out after escaping. The scene is shot in "location verite" style, to some extent, meaning that in the real world of the filming location, the clifftop area above Wrench Rock is where Homeier was in fact located as he was being filmed.

Skip Homeier makes a run for it across Rooster Foot Gulley

Rooster Foot Gulley is located on top of the T-Cliff on the northern edge of Cactus Hill, overlooking the South Rim. You may recognize a number of background features in this shot, which looks toward the east.

While Rooster Foot Gulley itself is relatively rare, the other features noted here are commonly seen in productions filmed on the Upper Iverson. Please click on the links in this sentence to see previous posts about Rooster Foot Gulley, Two-Humper and Turtle Rock.

Dummy drop in "The Favor" — unintentionally funny

One of the pivotal sequences in "The Favor" includes an obvious "dummy drop." Not to disparage the show, but dummy drops are almost never convincing, and this one did elicit a spontaneous chuckle. Still, the scene provides a nice look at the Reflecting Pool, as seen from the top of the T-Cliff above the South Rim.

Splash! — The dummy lands in the Reflecting Pool.

Following the dummy drop, the body of Homeier's character lies in the Reflecting Pool below the T-Cliff.

A contemplative McQueen ponders the death of a man he had come to like.

In his moment of reflection, McQueen happens to be standing next to the Reflecting Pool, which is kind of a nice touch. (Even though that name for the pool would not have been in use yet at that time.)

In an unusual effect, rays of sunlight dance up and down over McQueen, reflected onto him by the ripples in the Reflecting Pool caused by Homeier's plunge.

For more of what the Reflecting Pool is all about — and yet another use of "reflecting" as a pun — please click here.


Unknown said...

I don't know if this question relates to you; however I would like to know what type ring he wore while filming Wanted, Dead or Alive? I have read most of the internet info on Steve McQueen but have not found anything about the ring. I did, however, find my question about his horse "Doc". My horse looked exactly like him except her white spot was a little bit smaller.

Swami Nano said...

Interesting question, Lynda. I can see that you're the type of person who "sweats the small stuff," which I can relate to. However, I have to admit I know nothing about Steve's ring.

I'll keep an eye out for it and let you know if I find anything.


bmasters1981 said...

I purchased the Special Edition all-in-one DVD of Wanted: Dead or Alive from Amazon, and saw this first-season episode, and enjoyed it. I'm just about to be through the series (10 episodes away from finishing it). I was once not the Western fan, but seeing this, and Have Gun, Will Travel w/the late Richard Boone, changed my mind a good bit, and now both of those are my favorites.

Anonymous said...

If you like Josh Randall, and Palladin, Yancy Derringer has great story lines and the ambience of New Orleans. Randall and Derringer are a lot more fun than Palladin, which, astoundingly, I find tedious now.

The signet ring worn by Josh Randall. I've been watching the episodes rather obsessively, and, it is absurd that McQueen was allowed to wear the ring. This is black and white film, but even so, it glows gold. Maybe there is an episode in which someone attempts to remove it - who wouldn't - it must be gold, but the situations Josh is in, digging through mines.. you name it - rather bizarre, and potentially dangerous, to be wearing a large signet ring. (And tonight, I learn that it is McQueen's own ring, with S/M). I would have made him remove it. I hope that, soon, I can stop "seeing" it. It's just too absurd. Anonymous T

bmasters1981 said...

"Randall and Derringer are a lot more fun than Palladin, which, astoundingly, I find tedious now."

Why do you find Paladin tedious?