Back in December we discussed this promo still for the silent movie "Excuse Me," starring Norma Shearer. At the time I published the post — click here to see it — I had already begun searching for this site.
Garden of the Gods, 2018: A dead tree in a logistically important area
On an early pass through the area I noticed that a dead tree had fallen over, right in the target zone. Not only was the tree obstructing the view of Nyoka Cliff, but it might also be concealing historic movie rocks.
Possible "Rock C," center
Delving a little more deeply into the tree and its maze of dead brush, I was able to get a look at what appeared to be Rock C ... but the elusive Rock B, where Norma Shearer sat, remained mostly buried under dead branches.
The Norma Shearer Rocks — Free at last!
As luck would have it, I discovered on a subsequent visit that someone had done some badly needed clearing work and had removed part of the dead tree — effectively liberating the Norma Shearer Rocks.
Closeup of the Norma Shearer-Conrad Nagel "loveseat" as it appeared in 1925
It has been almost a century since Norma and Conrad hugged it out on Rock B, and the passage of time has taken a toll on their sandstone-upholstered loveseat.
Super closeup of the key "blob"
To understand how this 1925 version of the rock hunk translates to the current rock, let's take an even closer look at that critical blob of sandstone near the top of this interesting rock.
The same "blob" in modern times
The yellow outline on this contemporary version of the rock designates approximately the same area.
Norma Shearer (publicity still, ca. 1930)
The presence of an actress of the stature of Norma Shearer on the Iverson Ranch during the silent film era is a reminder of the vital role the ranch played in the early evolution of the film industry.
Power couple: Shearer and Thalberg at the White House in 1929
Shearer was married to pioneering movie producer Irving Thalberg for a good chunk of Hollywood's Golden Age — from 1927 until Thalberg's death in 1936.
Norma with her Oscar for "The Divorcee"
She was the exception to the rule of silent film stars who couldn't make the transition to the talkies. Shearer would establish herself as the Meryl Streep of the 1930s, chalking up six Oscar nominations during the decade.
Norma Shearer "on the rocks" in 1925
We're fortunate that the Norma Shearer Rocks were spared the destruction that claimed much of the former Iverson Ranch when development inevitably cut a swath through the northwest San Fernando Valley in the 1980s.
The Norma Shearer Rocks today
The rock formation stands today as one of hundreds of unheralded, and in many cases undiscovered, monuments to the decades in which our shared cultural history was shaped on the Iverson Movie Ranch.
To find the Norma Shearer Rock location, park on Redmesa somewhere around Lone Ranger Rock and find the blue-green gate on the west side of the road. Follow the trail up, as noted here by the dotted red line.