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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• 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.
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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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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Chris Pratt's Michelob Ultra Super Bowl spot, aka "How to do location research without ever leaving your living room"
(Off the Beaten Path)

Michelob Ultra — Super Bowl 2018 commercial starring Chris Pratt

I was watching TV recently when a Michelob Ultra commercial made me stop and take notice — not because Chris Pratt had his shirt off, but because of some cool shooting locations. You can watch the 30-second spot above.

Chris Pratt "works out" near the Chatsworth Nature Preserve — 2018 Michelob Ultra ad

The spot is one of this year's batch of much ballyhooed Super Bowl commercials. The thing that first caught my eye was the background at about the 11-second mark, which I recognized as the Chatsworth Nature Preserve.

Pratt in the Fox Residence on Farralone Avenue in Chatsworth

Once I got a chance to go back and examine other parts of the ad, I realized it contains a number of fun shooting locations. It begins inside the Fox Residence, a famous house in Chatsworth that is frequently used for filming.

The Fox Residence (real estate photo)

The shot in the Michelob ad is almost a perfect match for a real estate photo that circulated a few years ago — I'm not sure whether the photo dates back to 2011, when the place was listed for $12 million, or 2015, by which time the asking price had dipped to $7.5 million.

Another shot from the old real estate listing adds some context. It shows the same room where Pratt would later be filmed, but with a better view of the hills to the southwest.

I noticed a particularly bumpy section of the background hills, outlined here in yellow. You should be able to click on the photo to see a larger version.

The same section of hills can be seen in the sequence with Pratt jogging. This establishes that the jogging shot was filmed near the Fox Residence.

Chatsworth's Fox Residence (Google 3D view looking southwest)

We can get a pretty good look at the layout of the residence just by visiting Google Maps.

The location of the swimming pool, which also appears in one of the real estate photos above, pinpoints the corner of the house where Pratt was filmed, confirming that the view outside the windows is toward the southwest.

Wider view of the Fox Residence (Google 3D)

Pulling back for a wider view, we can get an idea where the jogging scene may have been shot.

This row of trees has the right orientation and looks like a prime candidate to be the jogging area.

Michelob Ultra ad: Chris Pratt with the Chatsworth Nature Preserve behind him

The sequence in which Pratt is seen jogging includes a tree with a pronounced lean to the left.

Sure enough, the last tree in the line is prominently angled, just like the tree in the jogging photo. It's not easy to see here in a poorly rendered Google Maps shot, but if you look closely you can see the angled trunk.

Even without proper rendering, a closer view of the tree provides a better look at the angled trunk.

The Fox Residence, looking south (Bing bird's-eye)

In this case a Bing bird's-eye photo offers a somewhat improved view of the heavily leaning tree.

Zooming in on the Bing shot, we get about as good a look at the tree as is possible using widely available aerial photos. The evidence is sufficient to determine that it's the same tree seen in the jogging sequence.

Now we know where the jogging sequence was shot for the Michelob spot.

A much wider Google 3D view, again looking southwest, shows the Fox Residence near the bottom of the frame with its view of the Nature Preserve — the former Chatsworth Reservoir — in the center of the frame.

Chris Pratt and an equestrian policewoman in a street scene from the Michelob commercial

Another interesting sequence in the Michelob commercial is this street scene featuring Pratt, jogging again, along with an equestrian policewoman.

A small local theater can be seen among the storefronts along the street. I couldn't make out the theater's name, but I figured a funky little theater might be easier to find than more generic businesses.

The next shot contains the smoking gun: a street sign. While it's far from crystal clear, it looked to me as though it might say "Tujunga." Just dumb luck, really, but that was the first thing that popped into my head.

Entrance to the Two Roads Theatre in Little Tujunga Village

"Tujunga" turned out to be right. Searching for a little theater on Tujunga, I hit pay dirt: The Two Roads Theatre in Studio City's Little Tujunga Village. I found pictures and other details online — it looks like a cool place.

Street where the equestrian policewoman scene was shot (Google Street View)

Once I had the address of the theater — 4348 Tujunga Ave. — the rest of the sequence fell into place. Here's a Google Street View showing the theater marquee, largely hidden behind a tree, along with some of the other storefronts seen in the Michelob spot.

Google Street View: Limelight store, at Tujunga and Woodbridge

At the corner of Tujunga Avenue and Woodbridge Street we see a store called Limelight — the same building that turns up in the background behind the policewoman in the commercial.

It appears that the store's name, logo and other details were edited out of the shot for the commercial.

Across the street from Limelight, Chris Pratt stays in his "clueless actor" character.

The brick-colored building in the background and the low wall seen behind Pratt are among the features that can be identified in the Google Street View.

Studio lot seen in the Michelob Ultra commercial

The ad also features a studio lot, another interesting location and one that should be relatively easy to match up. I ran out of patience before I managed to track it down — so many filming locations, so little time — but I'm hoping a blog reader will recognize it.

As luck would have it, there's also an extended 1-minute version of the Michelob Ultra spot, with additional scenes filmed at the Fox Residence. Check it out below ...

The "bar" scene where Pratt says "Method," at the 14-second mark, and the poolside sequence leading out from it are shot at the Fox Residence.

"Off the Beaten Path" is a series of posts that stray from the usual subject matter of this blog, which is the Iverson Movie Ranch. Past subjects have included Corriganville, Bell Ranch, Pioneertown, Franklin Canyon, Oak Park, various parts of Chatsworth and other old filming locations. You can see all of the "Off the Beaten Path" posts by clicking on the term "Off the Beaten Path" in the long index of labels at the right of the page, or by clicking here.