Saturday, January 7, 2012

Meanwhile back at the ranch -- Iverson Gorge and Overlook Point

Meanwhile back at the ranch is my continuing series about "rock stars" (landscape features) on the old Iverson Movie Location Ranch is Chatsworth, California.  For more information see:

The Iverson gorge is located in the Garden of the Gods park just north of Santa Susana Pass Road, and on the east side of Redmesa Road in Chatsworth.  The gorge is framed by the Cal-West townhouses to the north, Nyoka Cliff to the east, Redmesa Road on the west, and Santa Susana Pass Road on the south.  Lone Ranger rock, Three Ages rock, and the remains of an old stagecoach road (winding around the bottom of Nyoka Cliff) are all located in the gorge.  In the photo above -- a publicity still for Law of the Range (1941) -- we are looking toward the south from the north end of the gorge. 

Here's another still (above) from The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935).  The tree visible at the top right of the photo is on the summit of Nyoka Cliff.  The set for this scene stretched almost end-to-end in the Iverson gorge.

Above is a photo of Jim Bannon in a scene form Fighting Redhead (1949).  Jim and his horse are above the gorge on the west side near the Garden of the Gods formation.  The gorge often shows up in the background when filming takes place on Nyoka Summit, Garden of the Gods, or the Overlook Point south of the Garden of the Gods.

In the still above from Gunfight at Comanche Creek (1963), Audie Murphy and another actor (unknown) are on horseback in the gorge below Nyoka Cliff.

Because of the many boulders in the gorge, it was an ideal place for a good old-fashioned Western shoot-out.  In the photo above from The Oklahoma Kid (1939), outlaw James Cagney is lying in wait for a stagecoach.

The gorge saw lots of action, not only in Westerns, but also in war movies.  The still above is from The Fighting Seabees (1944).  It shows just how Hollywood could turn Chatsworth into a South Pacific island.  The palm trees were actually telephone poles with palm fronds applied.

Just south and a little uphill from the Garden of the Gods, an old camera mount remains.  The mount is at Overlook Point and was designed to steady a camera while filming action in the gorge, on the stagecoach road below, or even a dramatic scene taking place on Nyoka Cliff directly across the gorge.

The publicity still above for Gene Autry's Pack Train (1953) was photographed from the camera mount on Overlook Point.  The pack train is on the old stagecoach road at the bottom of Nyoka Cliff.

In the color screenshot (above) taken from Son of Paleface (1952), Jane Russell--who is playing the role of an outlaw--spies on a stagecoach in the gorge.  It is actually Jane Russell kneeling inside the camouflaged camera mount.

Here is a photo of a rearing horse on the edge of Overlook Point from a scene in The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938) starring Gary Cooper.  The photo was altered and enhanced--even the most daring stuntman would never trust a horse to rear that close to the edge.

Here's another still shot just north of the Overlook Point that shows the gorge below in the background.  The photo was a publicity still for the serial Man with the Steel Whip (1954).

Below are titles of a few of the many dozens of movies that feature scenes of the Iverson Gorge or Overlook Point:

Adventures of Marco Polo, The (1938) starring Gary Cooper
Buffalo Bill Rides Again (1947) starring Richard Arlen
Bullet Code (1940) starring George O'Brien
Charge of the Light Brigade, The (1936) starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland and Patric Knowles
Cowboy Holiday (1935) starring Guin Big Boy Williams
Custer's Last Stand (1936) starring Rex Lease (serial)
Desert Gold (1936) starring Buster Crabbe
Desert Horseman, The (1946) starring Charles Starrett
Don Daredevil Rides Again (1951) starring Ken Curtis (serial)
Fighting Redhead (1949) starring Jim Bannon
Fighting Seabees, The (1944) starring John Wayne, Susan Hayward and Dennis O'Keefe
Gallant Legion, The (1948) starring Bill Elliott
Gambling Terror, The (1937) starring Johnny Mack Brown 
Gunfight at Comanche Creek (1963) starring Audie Murphy
Junior Army (1942) starring Freddie Bartholomew, Billy Halop and Huntz Hall
Land Beyond the Law (1937) starring Dick Foran
Law of the Range (1941) starring Johnny Mack Brown
Lives of a Bengal Lancer, The (1935) starring Gary Cooper, Franchot Tone and Richard Cromwell
Man with the Steel Whip (1954) starring Dick Simmons (serial)
Marauders, The (1947) starring William Boyd and Andy Clyde
Mexican Hayride (1948) starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello
Miracle Rider, The (1935) starring Tom Mix (serial)
Oklahoma Kid, The (1939) starring James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart 
Old Los Angeles (1948) starring Bill Elliott
Overland Stage Raiders (1938) starring John Wayne, Ray “Crash” Corrigan and Max Terhune
Pack Train (1953) starring Gene Autry
Sheriff of Cimarron (1945) starring Sunset Carson
Son of Paleface (1952) starring Bob Hope, Jane Russell and Roy Rogers
They Died with Their Boots On (1941) starring Errol Flynn
Three Ages (1923) starring Buster Keaton, Margaret Leahy and Wallace Beery
Trusted Outlaw, The (1937) starring Bob Steele
Under Arizona Skies (1946) starring Johnny Mack Brown and Raymond Hatton 
Undercover Man (1942) starring William Boyd
Wee Willie Winkie (1937) starring Shirley Temple, Victor McLaglen and C. Aubrey Smith

Reply to comment posted 9.13.13 -- asking about the location of the stagecoach road seen in Gene Autry's "Pack Train" (1953) in the photo above:

Here's a photo taken from the Overlook Point -- in the lower center you can see the same rocks that are behind Gene in the "Pack Train" photo.  The road in the lower left corner is Redmesa Road (north of Santa Susana Pass Road).


  1. Great post, Jerry. I love that "Lives of a Bengal Lancer" shot.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. I'm wondering if the old stagecoach road in the Gene Autry's Pack Train photo is this today?,+Chatsworth,+Los+Angeles,+CA&hl=en&ll=34.273361,-118.609605&spn=0.000849,0.001739&sll=34.281616,-118.637881&sspn=0.027162,0.055661&oq=redmesa+Road,+Chatsworth,+Los+Angeles,+CA&t=h&hnear=Redmesa+Rd,+Los+Angeles,+California+91311&z=20