Monday, January 31, 2011

Trip to Iverson Ranch

On Saturday our film class went to the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth. Iverson Movie Ranch is one of the most filmed areas in the world, if not THE most. From silent movies including many starring Buster Keaton, to the Lone Ranger, to "The Fighting Seabees," to The Virginian television show, and on and on, the Iverson Ranch has been the set for at least 2,000 movies (Numbers vary depending on what source you read).

The rocky terrain and narrow, winding roads frequently turned up in Republic serials of the 1940s. I was delighted to learn that my favorite serial (not that I've seen all that many), JUNGLE GIRL, was filmed here. In addition, a silent movie that we viewed at the Lone Pine Film Festival, THE STOLEN RANCH, was filmed here as well.

During its heyday, the ranch had a complete western street, a three-sided ranch house with accompanying barn, and many small buildings that usually were used as outlaw shacks, stagecoach stops, and the like.

In 1966, the State of California began construction on the Simi Valley Freeway which cut the Iverson ranch in half. This freeway ended the use of the ranch as a viable movie location because of the high sound levels caused by traffic.

Although much of the land has now been divided and developed into condominiums (how depressing is that?), there is a part of the ranch, including the famous "Garden of the Gods," where many rock formations that were seen in many an old western, can still be visited.

On our tour, we were told that dogs were welcome, so I took mine. Which, in hindsight, was a minor mistake. There were about 20 people on the tour, but my two beasts were the only dogs that showed up. And while everybody loved them and fawned over them, Annie would not stop whining - she does that when she's very excited. Unfortunately I forgot about that little annoying habit until we were there, and then it was too late.

Once we got up into the rock formations, I let the dogs off the leash. They were perfectly happy mingling with the group and Annie stopped whining. But once we got back to the street level and to another location, I had to put them back on the leash. And Annie started to whine again. Still, as much as I tried to keep her quiet and I kept them away form the group, I think after a while Annie's whining was getting on people's nerves, so we left after the group moved on. And because I had to hang back, I didn't get to listen to all of E.J.'s lecture at the various spots. Oh well. Lesson Learned. And now I know how to get there, and I can go there at my leisure. It looks like a terrific place to hike.

Here are some photos that I managed to take.

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Cap'n Bob said...

Man, if those rocks could talk. It's a shame civilization has encroached on this area. Some things ought to be left alone.

Deka Black said...

Xena seems to be thinking the same thing in the pic where she is looking the rock.

Barry Traylor said...

First off I must say I love the shot of Xena channeling Rin-Tin-Tin. Brought a smile to my face this cold and icy moring here in PA.
I have been rewatching my favorite tv western from my high school years courtesy of Netflix and I wonder if "Have Gun-Will Travel" with Richard Boone was filmed there?

Oscar said...

Interesting. Nice pics.

JimCopel said...

It is sad that the modern times have caught up with the area. I am from Alabama, but I want to go there and take some pictures. I did make it to Lone Pine, CA, and that area still looks like the old western movies.