Tower Rock, left, and Sphinx (2015)
A welcome trend in recent months has been the move toward a more open, one might even say more "naked," Iverson Movie Ranch. The recent photo above shows the "new look" version of the Garden of the Gods fixtures Tower Rock — also known as the Pinnacle — and Sphinx.
Tower Rock and Sphinx a few years ago
Up until recently, this was the view we had of Tower Rock and Sphinx. The main difference, other than the fact that I have a better camera now than I did then, is that the tree was recently removed that was blocking the view of Tower Rock. The view of Sphinx, on the right, remains pretty much the same.
Eraserhead, before the removal of the ivy
I don't know that it's part of a conscious effort to "free the rocks," but the removal of that tree follows a couple of other similar developments, including the trimming of ivy that was covering much of "Eraserhead." In this shot from 2011, Eraserhead — one of the main boulders forming Rock Island — is barely visible behind all that ivy.
Eraserhead, minus the ivy
Eraserhead today is big, bald and proud — and free of not only the ivy, but also the grass that was encroaching on its space. Now if only it could bust out of "Rock Island Prison."
RI-2: It's here, it's clear, get used to it
Some of the other Rock Island mainstays — notably RI-2, positioned to the left of Eraserhead in these shots — are also waving their freak flags a little higher these days. Not that long ago, RI-2 was all but impossible to see.
"Overland Stage Raiders" (1938): Rock Island by the numbers
I did an in-depth blog post about Rock Island back in May, and encourage you to click here to check out that post if you're interested in learning more about this fascinating cluster of famous movie rocks.
Mushroom Rock in recent years: It's in there somewhere
Another beneficiary of the trend toward leaner, cleaner foliage around the ranch has been Mushroom Rock. Movie fans have been deprived of the sight of its defining crown for decades, with much of the rock hidden behind foliage (not to mention garbage bins and other junk).
Mushroom Rock in 2015
For the first time in decades, the crown that defined Mushroom Rock in the movies again saw the light of day this year. Unfortunately, the garbage bins and piles of crappola remain in place. I talked more about the emergence of Mushroom Rock in a blog item back in April, which you can read by clicking here.
Behind-the-scenes shot from production on "Man-Woman-Marriage" in 1920
I believe it's possible to make out the same rock 95 years ago in this production shot from the 1920 filming of the silent movie "Man-Woman-Marriage," released in early 1921. It is unlikely that the inscription was already in place that long ago, although even with an unusually sharp photo such as this, there's no way to tell from this distance.
To see additional photos from the filming of the battle scene for "Man-Woman-Marriage," please click here.
Buster Keaton movie "Three Ages," please click here.
June 2015: The tree below Tower Rock, weeks before being cut down
Of course, there's a downside to the tree removal, and it's kind of obvious: the loss of the tree. As luck would have it, I happened to take pictures of that same tree on a visit to Garden of the Gods back in June. It seems obvious now that the tree was not healthy, which explains why it had to go.
"Wanted: Dead or Alive" (1958): The "Easy Chair"
I gave the group of rocks the nickname the "Easy Chair" because of this shot from the TV show "Wanted: Dead or Alive" in which a sentry relaxes in the crack between two of the rocks while on duty.
"Richard the Lion-Hearted" (1923)
These same rocks — the "Easy Chair," if you will — came up in a recent post about the silent movie "Richard the Lion-Hearted," where I pointed out that the group of rocks could be seen both in recent shots and in shots of the movie's castle set from 1923. Please click here if you would like to read that post in its entirety.