Monday, April 30, 2012

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies - Overview

Some fascinating Iverson Ranch "rock stars" still exist for you to explore (Nyoka Cliff 2011)
There have been a few newcomers visiting my blog, so I figure it would be a good idea to create an overview of my celebration of 100 years of Chatsworth Movie making.

In Chatsworth's backyard, there remains a fantasyland that was forever made famous by Hollywood…

A place where Superman once captured the evil Luthor in his hidden Stoney Point cave, where Batman wrestled a criminal on top of a speeding locomotive, where Tarzan the Ape Man found an ancient elephant graveyard, and where John Wayne's fighting Seabees pushed a Japanese tank off the same cliff that Nyoka used to escape Vultura’s killer ape.

The place is Boulder Pass.  It was the jungles of India and Africa, the sands of the Sahara, the Khyber Pass between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the plains of Montana, and the High Sierras and the Rocky Mountains all rolled into one.  

It was the scene of stagecoach holdups, posses chasing outlaws on owlhoot (outlaw) trails, Indians attacking white settlers in remote cabins, flying rocket men, and unearthly spaceship landings.  It was a land for make-believe. It could be anything a Hollywood director fancied.

Boulder Pass is a fictitious name borrowed from an old B-Western movie.  The real place is the Santa Susana Pass in Chatsworth, California.  For over  a century, the Santa Susana Pass has been home to the granddaddy of all movie location ranches--the Iverson Ranch.


My name is Jerry England.  I live in Chatsworth.  In fact, I can see the rocky remains of the Iverson Ranch from my front porch.  I am also an author (see http://www.cowboyup.com/) and movie historian who has been researching Chatsworth's filming locations  for more than a dozen years.


Locations researched include: Iverson Ranch, Brandeis Ranch, Burro Flats, Bell Ranch, Spahn Ranch, Chatsworth Lake, Chatsworth Trains, Roy Rogers' Double R Bar Ranch, and Corriganville

In 2012, we are celebrating 100 years since D.W. Griffith cranked the first motion picture camera while shooting a short film titled Man's Genesis (1912).  

I am paying homage to Chatsworth Movies by sharing film titles and memorabilia discovered during my research:

The beginning (1912 - 1922)

Sound arrives (1923 - 1929)

1930s Classic Movies

Westerns (1930 - 1936)

Westerns (1937 - 1939)

1930s Cliffhangers (Serials)

1940s Classic Movies

1940s Cliffhangers (Serials)

Westerns 1940

Westerns 1941

Westerns 1942

Westerns 1943

Westerns 1944

Westerns 1945

Westerns 1946

Westerns 1947

Westerns 1948

Westerns 1949

Westerns 1950

Westerns 1951

Westerns 1952

Westerns 1953

1950s Cliffhangers (Serials)

Westerns 1954

Westerns 1955
While you're here be sure to check out my tributes to various six-gun heroes in my "Reel Cowboys" posts.

And,  learn about some of the rock stars on "Meanwhile back at the ranch" posts

Stay tuned… there's lots more coming in ht future.

For more information about my books and Chatsworth location ranches visit http://www.cowboyup.com/

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas -- George Houston


George Houston (1896–1944) was an American B-western film actor and accomplished singer. (photo above is Al St. John alias Fuzzy Q. Jones on the left and George Houston as the Lone Rider on the right-courtesy of Bruce Hickey)

He won a few singing roles for minor studios during the 1930s, but got his big break in 1941 when Producers Releasing Corp. (PRC) signed him for a series of singing westerns in which he would star as "The Lone Rider".

Unfortunately for Houston "Three Mesquiteers" star Robert Livingston (a bigger box-office draw) became available after his contract with Republic Pictures ended in 1942.  Houston had been unhappy with his meager pay at PRC, and PRC was not happy with the performance of the "Lone Rider" series, so they let Houston go and replaced him with Livingston.  Houston left the movie business after that, and in 1944 (at age 48) he collapsed on a street in Hollywood, dead of a heart attack.

George Houston's Santa Susana locations filmography:


Border Roundup (1942) starring George Houston, Al St. John and Dennis Moore - PRC


Lone Rider Crosses the Rio, The (1941) starring George Houston, Al St. John and Roquell Verria (Iverson Ranch) PRC
Lone Rider Fights Back, The (1941) starring George Houston, Al St. John and Dorothy Short - PRC
Lone Rider in Cheyenne, The (1942) starring George Houston, Al St. John and Dennis Moore - PRC


Lone Rider in Frontier Fury, The (1941) starring George Houston, Al St. John and Hillary Brooke - PRC (photo courtesy of Bruce Hickey)
Lone Rider in Ghost Town, The (1941) starring George Houston, Al St. John and Rebel Randall (Brandeis Ranch)(Iverson Ranch) PRC


Lone Rider in Texas Justice, The (1942) starring George Houston, Al St. John and Dennis Moore - PRC


Lone Rider Rides On, The (1941) starring George Houston, Hillary Brooke and Al St. John - PRC


Outlaws of Boulder Pass (1942) starring George Houston, Al St. John and Dennis Moore - PRC

'Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas' is a continuing series about "six-gun heroes that performed on movie location ranches in Chatsworth, California.  For more information about Chatsworth filming locations see http://www.cowboyup.com/ to find information about my books: Rendezvous at Boulder Pass: Hollywood's Fantasyland - 2010 and Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas - 2008.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Meanwhile back at the ranch -- Totem Pole Rocks


Less than a hundred paces southwest of the Slates--just before you get to Indian Head Rock--you'll find a series of pinnacles that rise abruptly on the east side of the upper Iverson valley.  Collectively I refer to them as Totem Pole Rocks.  They are left center in the photo above (Indian Head is behind the tree on the far right).


I've labeled several "Rock Stars" in the photo above, so you can get an idea of how close they are to one another.  In the next couple of posts I'll show you Lookout Point which is above Totem Pole Rocks, and the upper ranch Cliff which is contiguous and slightly further southwest.


In the movie still (above) from a scene in Captive of Billy the Kid (1952) Rocky Lane and Blackjack are directly in front of Totem Pole Rocks.


In another still--this one from Fort Dodge Stampede (1951) a wagon stunt has been staged in front of Totem Pole Rocks.


In the screenshot above from Little Big Horn (1951) a camera is set up on the west side of the valley and captures an Indian fight using Totem Pole Rocks and upper ranch Cliff for a backdrop.


This last screenshot from Little Big Horn (1951) gives us a close up look at stars John Ireland (left) and Lloyd Bridges (right) directly in front of Totem Pole Rocks.

A few of the films that use Totem Pole Rocks for a backdrop include:

Badman's Country (1958) - George Montgomery
Calamity Jane and the Texan (1950) - Evelyn Ankers and James Ellison
Cheyenne Takes Over (1947) - Lash LaRue
Five Guns to Tombstone (1961) - James Brown 
Gold Raiders (1951) - George O'Brien  and Three Stooges
Little Big Horn (1951) - Lloyd Bridges
Pals of the Pecos (1941) - Robert Livingston and Bob Steele
Vigilante Hideout (1950) - Allan Lane

'Meanwhile back at the ranch' is a continuing series about "rock stars" (landscape features) on the old Iverson Movie Location Ranch in Chatsworth, California.  For more information about the Iverson Movie Ranch see: http://a-drifting-cowboy.blogspot.com/2011/10/iverson-movie-location-ranch-chatsworth.html

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1955


Apache Ambush (1955) starring Bill Williams, Richard Jaeckel and Alex Montoya (stock - Man from CO) Columbia


Apache Woman (1955) starring Lloyd Bridges, Joan Taylor and Lance Fuller (Iverson Ranch) American Releasing


Five Guns West (1955) starring John Lund, Dorothy Malone and Mike Connors (Iverson Ranch) American Releasing


Gun That Won the West, The (1955) starring Dennis Morgan, Paula Raymond and Richard Denning - Columbia
Lawless Street, A (1955) starring Randolph Scott, Angela Lansbury and Warner Anderson - Columbia


Lay That Rifle Down (1955) starring Judy Canova, Robert Lowery and Jil Jarmyn (Iverson Ranch) Republic


Man with the Gun (1955) starring Robert Mitchum, Jan Sterling and Karen Sharpe - United Artists


Naked Dawn, The (1955) starring Arthur Kennedy, Betta St. John and Eugene Iglesias - Universal


Outlaw Treasure (1955) starring Johnny Carpenter, Adele Jergens and Glenn Langan  ARC


Seminole Uprising (1955) starring George Montgomery, Karin Booth and William Fawcett - Columbia


Tall Man Riding (1955) starring Randolph Scott, Dorothy Malone and Peggie Castle - Warner Bros.


Tennessee's Partner (1955) starring John Payne, Ronald Reagan and Rhonda Fleming (Iverson Ranch) RKO


Treasure of the Ruby Hills (1955) starring Zachary Scott, Carole Mathews and Barton MacLane - (Brandeis Ranch)

Disclaimer: This list of movie titles and credits has been compiled from many sources.  It has not been independently verified.  Titles with location credits in parentheses are either movies I own or come from a source I feel has a higher level of creditability. 

For more information about the Chatsworth filming locations visit http://www.cowboyup.com/ and learn about my books: Rendezvous at Boulder Pass: Hollywood's Fantasyland © 2010 (ISBN: 978-0-615-21522-8) and Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas © 2008 (ISBN: 978-0-615-21499-3)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas -- Wayne Morris


Wayne Morris (1914–1959), was an American film and television actor.  During World War II he was a highly-decorated fighter ace.  After the war he made a series B-Westerns for Allied Artists, Monogram, and Warner Bros.

He died young with a massive heart attack at age 45.  He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Wayne Morris's Santa Susana locations filmography includes:

Bushwhackers, The (1952) starring John Ireland, Wayne Morris and Lawrence Tierney - Realart


Desperado, The (1954) starring Wayne Morris, Jimmy Lydon and Beverly Garland - Allied Artists
Fighting Lawman, The (1953) starring Wayne Morris, Virginia Grey and John Kellogg (Corriganville) Allied Artists


Land Beyond the Law (1937) starring Dick Foran, Linda Perry and Wayne Morris (Iverson Ranch) Warner Bros.


Marksman, The (1953) starring Wayne Morris, Elena Verdugo and Frank Ferguson (Iverson Ranch) Allied Artists


Riding Shotgun (1954) starring Randolph Scott, Wayne Morris and Joan Weldon (Bell Ranch) Warner Bros.


Sierra Passage (1951) starring Wayne Morris, Lola Albright and Lloyd Corrigan - Monogram


Stage to Tucson (1950) starring Rod Cameron, Wayne Morris and Kay Buckley (Iverson Ranch) Columbia
Star of Texas (1953) starring Wayne Morris, Paul Fix and Frank Ferguson - Allied Artists


Texas Bad Man (1953) starring Wayne Morris, Frank Ferguson and Elaine Riley (Corriganville) Allied Artists
Two Guns and a Badge (1954) starring Wayne Morris, Morris Ankrum and Beverly Garland - Allied Artists


Younger Brothers, The (1949) starring Wayne Morris, Janis Paige and Bruce Bennett - Warner Bros

Guest television appearances:

Gunsmoke (TV series) 1958
Maverick (TV series) 1958
Wagon Train (TV series) 1958
Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV series) 1959
Bat Masterson (TV series) 1959

'Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas' is a continuing series about "six-gun heroes that performed on movie location ranches in Chatsworth, California.  For more information about Chatsworth filming locations see http://www.cowboyup.com/ to find information about my books: Rendezvous at Boulder Pass: Hollywood's Fantasyland - 2010 and Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas - 2008.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bronco Billy


In June 1996 my old pard Roger Miller, Bob DeRoche (an outfitter friend) and I were having breakfast at the Irma in Cody, Wyoming.  After breakfast we stopped by Bob's truck on the way out.  Bob had a cowdog pup in the truck bed, and I started petting him.  "Nice dog," I commented to Bob--"what's his name I asked?"  "Black Butted Bart," Bob replied.

"I'd sure like to get one like him," I said, "He's yours if you want him," says Bob, so I took him home.  

We were staying at Roger's little ranch a few miles out of Cody.  Roger said turn the pup loose and Pinto (Roger's Aussie) will show him the ropes.

About a minute later the two dogs disappeared around the corner of the cabin only to return a half hour later.  When they got back from their romp the pup was green from head to tail.  Pinto had introduced him to the neighbor's cows and Bart (who later became Billy) had rolled in a fresh cow patty.  

When I brought Billy home to California my wife convinced me that Black Butted Bart was not a suitable name for a dog, so we changed it to Bronco Billy (we already had a Dalmatian named Annie Oakley).


Annie and Billy led our horses on our trail rides all the time we boarded up in Browns Canyon.  Those two were inseparable and had a ball playing together.  Naturally, Billy introduced Annie to rolling in fresh cow patties (an all too frequent event on trail rides).

I lost Annie several years ago, and since Billy crossed over the Great Divide this morning there are no more true cowboy dogs in our home.

Adios Billy, vaya con Dios compadre

Meanwhile back at the ranch -- Indian Head Rock


Maybe fifty yards southwest of the Slates--on the same the trail that skirts the rocky ridge on the east side of the upper Iverson Ranch--you'll come to Indian Head Rock.  It's sometimes called wrench rock.  It was one of the most interesting formations on the entire ranch and showed up in dozens of movies.  Don't get it confused with Indianhead in the Garden of the Gods on the lower ranch.


The photo above is a page from my book Rendezvous at Boulder Pass--it has some interesting screenshots from films that used Indian Head as a background feature.


The south side of Indian Head has a natural depression that collects water during the rainy season, so the Iversons helped it along by cementing in a few additional stones.  


With the aid of a water truck the pool could be filled making it the perfect location for a good old fashioned Western brawl as seen in the still (above) from Five Guns to Tombstone (1961) starring James Brown.


The still above is from a scene in The Kid from Amarillo (1951) starring Charles Starrett and Smiley Burnette.  That's Indian Head behind the cowboy on the right.


In my 2009, photo above you can see Indian Rock along with part of Totem Rocks (behind it) and Turtle Rocks beyond.


In the screenshot above from The Texan Meets Calamity Jane (1950) (starring Evelyn Ankers and James Ellison) you see Indian Head as it appears when photographed from Lookout Point above it.


For some reason a few cameramen prefer a more subtle view of Indian Head as you see in the still above from a scene in The Frontier Phantom (1952) starring Lash LaRue.


I used the screenshot above in my first book (Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas) it's from a scene in Five Guns West (1955) starring John Lund, and it gives you a good idea of the scale of Indian Head Rock.


The screenshot above from the opening scenes of Saddle Tramp (1950) (starring Joel McCrea) gives us a final look at the north face of Indian Head.  Look for Indian Head in Badman's Country (1958), Fort Dodge Stampede (1951), The Golden Stallion (1949), Gun Belt (1953), King of the Bullwhip (1950), The Phantom Plainsmen (1942), Prairie Moon (1938), Sunset in El Dorado (1945), Texans Never Cry (1951), and Wells Fargo Gunmaster (1951) just to mention a few of the many movies it appears in.

'Meanwhile back at the ranch' is a continuing series about "rock stars" (landscape features) on the old Iverson Movie Location Ranch in Chatsworth, California.  For more information about the Iverson Movie Ranch see: http://a-drifting-cowboy.blogspot.com/2011/10/iverson-movie-location-ranch-chatsworth.html

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Celebrating 100 years of Chatsworth Movies -- Westerns 1954

Adventures of the Texas Kid: Border Ambush (1954) starring Hugh Hooker, John Laurenz and Pamela Blake - John Jay Franklin Prod


Apache (1954) Philip Carey, Gene Evans and Martha Hyer Burt Lancaster, Jean Peters and John McIntire (Corriganville) United Artists


Arrow in the Dust (1954) starring Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray and Keith Larsen (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Allied Artists


Battle of Rogue River (1954) starring George Montgomery, Richard Denning and Martha Hyer - Columbia


Bitter Creek (1954) starring Bill Elliott, Carleton Young and Beverly Garland (Corriganville) Allied Artists


Black Dakotas, The (1954) starring Gary Merrill, Wanda Hendrix and John Bromfield - Columbia


Bounty Hunter, The (1954) starring Randolph Scott, Dolores Dorn and Marie Windsor - Warner Bros.


Broken Lance (1954) starring Spencer Tracy, Robert Wagner and Jean Peters (Iverson Ranch) 20th Century-Fox


Cattle Queen of Montana (1954) starring Ronald Reagan, Barbara Stanwyck and Gene Evans (Iverson Ranch) RKO
Desperado, The (1954) starring Wayne Morris, Jimmy Lydon and Beverly Garland - Allied Artists
Drum Beat (1954) starring Alan Ladd, Audrey Dalton and Marisa Pavan (Iverson Ranch) Warner Bros.


Drums Across the River (1954) starring Audie Murphy, Walter Brennan and Lyle Bettger (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Universal
Forty-Niners, The (1954) starring Bill Elliott, Virginia Grey and Harry Morgan - Allied Artists


Four Guns to the Border (1954) starring Rory Calhoun, Colleen Miller and George Nader (Bell Ranch) Universal
Lawless Rider, The (1954) starring Johnny Carpenter, Rose Bascom and Frankie Darro - United Artists


Lone Gun, The (1954) starring George Montgomery, Dorothy Malone and Frank Faylen - United Artists
Massacre Canyon (1954) starring Philip Carey, Audrey Totter and Douglas Kennedy (Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville) Columbia


Masterson of Kansas (1954) starring George Montgomery, Nancy Gates and James Griffith (Corriganville) Columbia
Outlaw Stallion, The (1954) starring Philip Carey, Dorothy Patrick and Billy Gray (Corriganville) Columbia


Overland Pacific (1954) starring Jock Mahoney, Peggie Castle and Adele Jergens - United Artists
Phantom Stallion (1954) starring Rex Allen, Koko and Slim Pickens (Burro Flats) Republic
Raid, The (1954) starring Van Heflin, Anne Bancroft and Richard Boone (Iverson Ranch) 20th Century-Fox


Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) starring Audie Murphy, Susan Cabot and Dan Duryea - Universal
Riding Shotgun (1954) starring Randolph Scott, Wayne Morris and Joan Weldon (Bell Ranch) Warner Bros.


Sitting Bull (1954) starring Dale Robertson, Mary Murphy and J. Carrol Naish (Iverson Ranch) United Artists


They Rode West (1954) starring Robert Francis, Donna Reed and May Wynn (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Columbia
Thunder Pass (1954) starring Dane Clark, Dorothy Patrick and Andy Devine - Lippert
Two Gun Teacher, The (1954) starring Guy Madison and Andy Devine - Allied Artists [Two episodes of the "Wild Bill Hickok" TV series edited together as a feature.]
Two Guns and a Badge (1954) starring Wayne Morris, Morris Ankrum and Beverly Garland - Allied Artists
Wyoming Renegades (1954) starring Philip Carey, Gene Evans and Martha Hyer (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Disclaimer: This list of movie titles and credits has been compiled from many sources.  It has not been independently verified.  Titles with location credits in parentheses are either movies I own or come from a source I feel has a higher level of creditability. 

For more information about the Chatsworth filming locations visit http://www.cowboyup.com/ and learn about my books: Rendezvous at Boulder Pass: Hollywood's Fantasyland © 2010 (ISBN: 978-0-615-21522-8) and Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas © 2008 (ISBN: 978-0-615-21499-3)