Thursday, May 30, 2013

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas -- David Sharpe

David Sharpe (1910–1980) was an American cowboy actor and stunt performer.  He was known as the "Crown Prince of Daredevils" and ranks alongside Yakima Canutt as one of Hollywood's all time greatest stuntmen.  He appeared in over 250 titles spanning more than 5 decades between 1922 and 1978.

His Santa Susana filming location credits include: 

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) - Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman, May McAvoy (Iverson Ranch) MGM

Galloping Dynamite (1937) - Kermit Maynard, Ariane Allen, John Merton, David Sharpe (Iverson Ranch) Ambassador

Riders of the Black Hills (1938) - Livingston, Corrigan, Terhune (Corriganville) Republic

Stagecoach (1939) - Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Andy Devine, John Carradine (Iverson Ranch) United Artists

Six-Gun Rhythm (1939)  Tex Fletcher, Joan Barclay and Ralph Peters (Brandeis Ranch)

Lone Ranger Rides Again (1939) - Robert Livingston, Chief Thundercloud and Duncan Renaldo (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Frontier Pony Express (1939) - Roy Rogers, Lynne Roberts, Raymond Hatton (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Law Comes to Texas, The (1939) - Bill Elliott, Veda Ann Borg, Bud Osborne, Slim Whitaker - Columbia

Three Texas Steers (1939) - John Wayne,  Ray “Crash” Corrigan, Max Terhune (Corriganville) Republic

Kansas Terrors, The (1939) - Robert Livingston, Duncan Renaldo, Raymond Hatton (Burro Flats) Republic

Rovin' Tumbleweeds (1939) - Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Mary Carlisle (Burro Flats) Republic

Drums of Fu Manchu (1940) - Henry Brandon, William Royle and Robert Kellard (Iverson Ranch , Corriganville) Republic

Covered Wagon Days (1940) - Robert Livingston, Ray Hatton, Duncan Renaldo (Burro Flats) Republic

Adventures of Red Ryder (1940) starring Don 'Red' Barry, Noah Beery, Tommy Cook (Burro Flats) (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Tulsa Kid, The (1940) - Don 'Red' Barry, Noah Beery, Luana Walters (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Wagon Train (1940) - Tim Holt, Ray Whitley and Martha O'Driscoll - RKO

Trail Blazers, The (1940) - Robert Livingston, Bob Steele (Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville) Republic

Lone Star Raiders (1940) - Robert Livingston, Bob Steele, Rufe Davis (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Prairie Pioneers (1941) - Robert Livingston, Bob Steele (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941) - Tom Tyler, Frank Coghlan Jr., William 'Billy' Benedict - Republic

Pals of the Pecos (1941) - Robert Livingston, Bob Steele, Rufe Davis (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Saddlemates (1941) - Robert Livingston, Bob Steele, Rufe Davis (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Jungle Girl (1941) - Frances Gifford, Tom Neal, Trevor Bardette (Corriganville & Iverson) Republic

Gangs of Sonora (1941) - Robert Livingston, Bob Steele, Rufe Davis (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Thunder Over the Prairie (1941) - Charles Starrett (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Six-Gun Gold (1941) - Tim Holt, Ray Whitley, Jan Clayton - RKO

King of the Texas Rangers (1941) - Tim Holt, Ray Whitley, Jan Clayton (Chatsworth Trains)(Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville)  Republic

Bandit Trail, The (1941) - Tim Holt, Ray Whitley, Janet Waldo (Brandeis Ranch)(Iverson Ranch) RKO

They Died with Their Boots On (1941) - Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Arthur Kennedy (Iverson Ranch) Warner Bros.

Dick Tracy vs. Crime Inc. (1941) - Ralph Byrd, Michael Owen and Jan Wiley (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Riding the Wind (1942) - Tim Holt, Ray Whitley, Joan Barclay - RKO

Spy Smasher (1942) - Kane Richmond, Marguerite Chapman, Sam Flint (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Perils of Nyoka, The (1942) aka "Nyoka and the Tigermen" - Kay Aldridge, Clayton Moore, Lorna Gray (Iverson Ranch) Republic (Photo courtesy of Bruce Hickey)

Thundering Hoofs (1942) - Tim Holt, Ray Whitley, Luana Walters (Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville) RKO

Bandit Ranger (1942) - Tim Holt, Cliff Edwards, Joan Barclay (Corriganville) RKO

King of the Mounties (1942) starring Allan Lane, Gilbert Emery and Russell Hicks (Iverson Ranch) Republic 

Red River Robin Hood (1942) - Tim Holt, Cliff Edwards, Joan Barclay - RKO

Thundering Trails (1943) - Bob Steele, Tom Tyler, Jimmie Dodd - Republic

Fighting Frontier (1943) - Tim Holt, Cliff Edwards, Ann Summers (Iverson Ranch) RKO

Avenging Rider, The (1943) - Tim Holt, Cliff Edwards, Ann Summers - RKO

Lumberjack (1944) - William Boyd, Andy Clyde and Jimmy Rogers (Iverson Ranch) United Artists  

Wildfire (1945) - Bob Steele, Sterling Holloway, John Miljan, William Farnum - Screen Guild

Colorado Serenade (1946) - Eddie Dean, Roscoe Ates, David Sharpe, Mary Kenyon (Corriganville) PRC.  (Lobby photo courtesy of Bruce Hickey)

Conquest of Cheyenne (1946) starring Bill Elliott, Robert Blake and Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Homesteaders of Paradise Valley (1947) starring Allan Lane, Robert Blake and Martha Wentworth (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Vigilantes Return, The (1947) - Jon Hall, Margaret Lindsay, Andy Devine, Paula Drew (Iverson Ranch) Universal

Slave Girl (1947) - Yvonne De Carlo, George Brent, Broderick Crawford (Iverson Ranch) Universal

Marshal of Cripple Creek (1947) starring Allan Lane, Robert Blake and Martha Wentworth (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap, The (1947) - Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Marjorie Main (Iverson Ranch) Universal

Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948) - Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston (Iverson Ranch) Warner Bros.

G-Men Never Forget (1948) - Clayton Moore, Roy Barcroft, Ramsay Ames (Iverson Ranch) Republic

California Firebrand (1948) - Monte Hale, Lorna Gray, Paul Hurst (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Under California Stars (1948) - Roy Rogers, Trigger, Jane Frazee, Andy Devine (Chatsworth) - Republic

Three Musketeers, The (1948) - Lana Turner, Gene Kelly, June Allyson  (Corriganville) 

Adventures of Frank and Jesse James (1948) - Clayton Moore, Steve Darrell, Noel Neill - Republic

Grand Canyon Trail (1948) - Roy Rogers, Trigger, Jane Frazee, Andy Devine (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Valiant Hombre (1948) - Duncan Renaldo, Leo Carrillo, John Litel - United Artist

Far Frontier, The (1948) - Roy Rogers, Trigger, Gail Davis, Andy Devine - Republic

Susanna Pass (1949) - Roy Rogers, Dale Evans (Chatsworth Reservoir)(Corriganville) Republic

Gay Amigo, The (1949) - Duncan Renaldo, Leo Carrillo, Armida, Joe Sawyer - United Artists

King Of The Rocket Men (1949) - Tristram Coffin, Mae Clarke, Don Haggerty (Iverson Ranch) Republic

James Brothers of Missouri, The (1949) - Keith Richards, Robert Bice, Noel Neill (Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville) Republic

Radar Patrol Vs Spy King (1950) - Kirk Alyn, Jean Dean, Anthony Warde (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Invisible Monster, The (1950) - Richard Webb, Aline Towne, Lane Bradford (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Rogues of Sherwood Forest (1950) - John Derek, Diana Lynn and George Macready - Columbia

Covered Wagon Raid (1950) - Allan Lane, Eddy Waller, Alex Gerry, Lyn Thomas (Iverson Ranch) Republic

"The Cisco Kid" (TV series) (1950)

Flying Disc Man from Mars (1950) - Walter Reed, Lois Collier and Gregory Gaye (Iverson Ranch) Republic

California Passage (1950) - Forrest Tucker, Adele Mara and Estelita Rodriguez (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Don Daredevil Rides Again (1951) - Ken Curtis, Aline Towne, Roy Barcroft, Lane Bradford (Iverson Ranch) Republic

"Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok" (TV series) (1951)

Government Agents vs Phantom Legion (1951) - Walter Reed, Mary Ellen Kay and Dick Curtis (Railroad Station, Chatsworth) Republic

Radar Men From The Moon (1952) - George Wallace, Aline Towne, Roy Barcroft (Iverson Ranch)[Commando Cody] Republic

Wild Stallion (1952) - Ben Johnson, Edgar Buchanan, Martha Hyer, Hayden Rorke (Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville) Monogram

Brave Warrior (1952) - Jon Hall, Christine Larsen, Jay Silverheels, Michael Ansara (Corriganville) Columbia

Blackhawk: Fearless Champion of Freedom (1952) - Kirk Alyn, Carol Forman, John Crawford - Columbia

Mississippi Gambler, The (1953) - Tyrone Power, Piper Laurie and Julie Adams (Corriganville) Universal

"Stories of the Century" (TV series) (1954)

Drums Across the River (1954) - Audie Murphy, Walter Brennan, Lyle Bettger, Lisa Gaye (Burro Flats)(Iverson Ranch) Universal

"The Lone Ranger" (TV series) (1954)

Blackjack Ketchum, Desperado (1956) - Howard Duff, Victor Jory, Margaret Field, Angela Stevens - Columbia

"Border Patrol" (TV series) (1959)

Elfego Baca: Six Gun Law (1966) starring Robert Loggia, Lynn Bari and Jay C. Flippen - Buena Vista

"The Wild Wild West" (TV series) (1966)

"Bonanza" (TV series) (1968)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ammo for Cowboy Shoot 'Em Ups

The Remington UMC 5-in-1 blank was made for the motion picture industry specifically for B-Western cowboy movies.  The cartridge contained enough black powder to make plenty of smoke for visual effects, but wasn't load enough to send the average movie horse into a tail spin.

The cartridges were designed to function in single-action cowboy revolvers chambered for .45 Colt, .44-40 (.44 WCF), and .38-40 (.38 WCF), and they worked just fine in lever action rifles chambered for .44-40 (.44 WCF), and .38-40 (.38 WCF).

But, the 5-in-1 blank wasn't the only cartridge used by a long shot.  For long distance scenes or war movies a bit more powder was sometimes necessary.  Bigger rifle cartridges like the 303 Brit, .45 Gov., and even the .50-70 were often found in the property master's stores.

About 1920 the Stembridge Gun rental company of Hollywood was founded by James Stembridge and Cecil B. DeMille to supply guns to the movie industry.  Stembridge offered blanks with your choice of 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or full loads with either black powder or flash powder; depending on the effect needed, and whether you were filming indoors or outdoors.

After many years of hiking and photographing Chatsworth's movie locations I've accumulated a nice collection of blank cartridges; a few of which you can see in the photo above.  

And, I'm kinda like the little boy digging though a box of horse manure while saying, "There must be a pony in here somewhere."  I recently purchased a metal detector 'cause I know there must be at least one old prop-gun buried out there somewhere.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas -- Raymond Hatton

Raymond Hatton (1887–1971) was an American B-Western star who was best known as the wild and wooly, rip-snorting and tobacco-chewing Rusty Joslin in the Three Mesquiteers series, and the capable Marshal Sandy Hopkins in the Rough Riders series with Buck Jones and Tim McCoy. 

He appeared in almost 500 titles during a career that began in the earliest silent pictures and lasted well into the era of television.  

He is also remembered for his many appearances as Johnny Mack Brown's sidekick during the 1940s.  His final Western was, ironically, Requiem for a Gunfighter (1965).  He was one of my favorite actors -- he was the real deal cowboy relic, and a swell horseman to boot.

Raymond Hatton's Santa Susana locations appearances include:

Squaw Man, The (1914) - Dustin Farnum, Monroe Salisbury and Art Acord - Lasky Feature Play Co

Male and Female (1919) - Thomas Meighan, Theodore Roberts, Raymond Hatton

Alice in Wonderland (1931) - Gus Alexander, Lillian Ardell and Meyer Berensen (Iverson Ranch) Unique-Cosmos Pictures

Fourth Horseman, The (1932) - Tom Mix, Margaret Lindsay, Fred Kohler (Iverson Ranch) Universal (photo courtesy of Bruce Hickey)

Desert Gold (1936) - Buster Crabbe, Robert Cummings, Marsha Hunt, Tom Keene - Paramount

Undersea Kingdom (1936) [serial] - Ray Corrigan, Lois Wilde, Monte Blue (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Vigilantes Are Coming, The (1936)[serial] - Robert Livingston, Kay Hughes, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, Raymond Hatton - Republic

Come On, Rangers (1938) starring Roy Rogers, Lynne Roberts and Raymond Hatton (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Rough Riders' Round-up (1939) - Roy Rogers, Lynne Roberts, Raymond Hatton (Iverson Ranch) Republic 

Frontier Pony Express (1939) - Roy Rogers, Lynne Roberts, Raymond Hatton (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Wyoming Outlaw (1939) John Wayne,  Ray “Crash” Corrigan, Raymond Hatton (Corriganville) Republic

Wall Street Cowboy (1939) - Roy Rogers, George “Gabby” Hayes, Raymond Hatton - Republic

New Frontier, The (1939) - John Wayne,  Ray “Crash” Corrigan and Raymond Hatton (Corriganville) Republic

Kansas Terrors, The (1939) - Robert Livingston, Duncan Renaldo, Raymond Hatton (Burro Flats) Republic 

Heroes of the Saddle (1940) - Robert Livingston, Ray Hatton, Duncan Renaldo - Republic

Pioneers of the West (1940) - Robert Livingston, Raymond Hatton and Duncan Renaldo (Iverson) Republic

Covered Wagon Days (1940) - Robert Livingston, Ray Hatton, Duncan Renaldo (Burro Flats) Republic

Rocky Mountain Rangers (1940) - Robert  Livingston, Raymond Hatton, Duncan Renaldo (Iverson) Republic

Kit Carson (1940) - Jon Hall, Lynn Bari, Dana Andrews (Iverson Ranch) United Artists

Oklahoma Renegades (1940) - Robert Livingston, Raymond Hatton, Duncan Renaldo - Republic

Below the Border (1942) - Buck Jones, Tim McCoy, Ray Hatton (Iverson) Monogram

Stranger from Pecos, The (1943) - Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton, Kirby Grant - Monogram

Six Gun Gospel (1943) - Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton, Inna Gest - Monogram (photo courtesy of Bruce Hickey)

Outlaws of Stampede Pass (1943) - Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton, Ellen Hall - Monogram

Texas Kid, The (1943) - Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton, Marshall Reed - Monogram

Law Men (1944) - Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton, Jan Wiley - Monogram

Ghost Guns (1944) - Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton, Evelyn Finley - Monogram

Gun Smoke (1945) - Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton, Jennifer Holt - Monogram

Drifting Along (1946) - Johnny Mack Brown, Lynne Carver, Raymond Hatton - Monogram

Under Arizona Skies (1946) - Johnny Mack Brown, Reno Browne, Raymond Hatton - Monogram

Trailing Danger (1947) - Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton, Peggy Wynne - Monogram

Raiders of the South (1947) - Johnny Mack Brown, Evelyn Brent, Raymond Hatton (Iverson Ranch) Monogram

Flashing Guns (1947) - Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton, Riley Hill (Iverson Ranch) Monogram

Prairie Express (1947) - Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton, Virginia Belmont - Monogram

Gun Talk (1947) - Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton, Christine McIntyre - Monogram

Overland Trails (1948) - Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton, Virginia Belmont - Monogram

Triggerman (1948) - Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton, Virginia Carroll - Monogram

Daltons' Women, The (1950) - Lash La Rue, Al St. John, Jack Holt (Iverson Western Street) Realart

Hostile Country (1950) - Jimmy Ellison, Russell Hayden, Fuzzy Knight, Ray Hatton - Lippert

Marshal of Heldorado (1950) - James Ellison, Russell Hayden, Raymond Hatton, Fuzzy Knight - Lippert

Crooked River (1950) - James Ellison, Russell Hayden, Raymond Hatton - Lippert

Colorado Ranger (1950) - Russell Hayden, James Ellison, Raymond Hatton - Lippert

West of the Brazos (1950) - James Ellison, Russell Hayden, Raymond Hatton, Fuzzy Knight - Lippert

Fast on the Draw (1950) - James Ellison, Russell Hayden, Raymond Hatton - Lippert

"The Range Rider" (1951 TV series) - Jock Mahoney, Dickie Jones, Bob Woodward (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) Flying 'A' Prod

"The Gene Autry Show" (1951 TV series) - Gene Autry, Champion, Pat Buttram (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) Flying 'A' Prod

Skipalong Rosenbloom (1951) - Max 'Slapsie Maxie' Rosenbloom, Max Baer, Jackie Coogan (Corriganville) Eagle-Lion

Cow Country (1953) - Edmond O'Brien, Helen Westcott, Robert Lowery (Iverson Ranch) Monogram

"The Roy Rogers Show" (1952 TV series) - Dale Evans, Roy Rogers, Pat Brady (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) Roy Rogers Prod

"Hopalong Cassidy" (1954 TV series) - William Boyd, Topper the Horse, Edgar Buchanan (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) Hopalong Cassidy Prod

"The Adventures of Kit Carson" (1951 TV series) - Bill Williams, Don Diamond, John L. Cason (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) MCA TV

"Lassie" (1954 TV series) - Lassie, Jon Provost, June Lockhart (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) Lassie TV

"The Cisco Kid" (1950 TV series) - Duncan Renaldo, Leo Carrillo, Diablo (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) ZIV TV

Treasure of Ruby Hills (1955) - Zachary Scott, Carole Mathews, Barton MacLane (Brandeis Ranch) William F. Broidy Pict

Dig That Uranium (1955) - Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall and Bernard Gorcey (Iverson Ranch) Allied Artists

"State Trooper" (1956 TV series) - Rod Cameron, Robert Armstrong, Don Haggerty (Iverson Ranch) Revue Studios

Flesh and the Spur (1957) - John Agar, Marla English, Mike Connors (Iverson Ranch) AIP 

"Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok" (1951 TV series) - Guy Madison, Andy Devine, Sam Flint (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) Newhall Prod

"Circus Boy" (1956 TV Series) - Micky Dolenz, Noah Beery Jr., Robert Lowery (Iverson Ranch) Norbert Prod

"Annie Oakley" (1956 TV series) - Gail Davis, Brad Johnson, Jimmy Hawkins (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) Flying 'A' Prod

"Adventures of Superman" (1955 TV series) - Bill Kennedy, George Reeves, John Hamilton (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch)

"Death Valley Days" (1952 TV series) - Robert Taylor, Stanley Andrews, Don Haggerty (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) Filmaster Prod

"Tales of the Texas Rangers" (1955 TV series) - Willard Parker, Harry Lauter, William Boyett (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) Screen Gems

"The Rough Riders" (1958 TV series) - Kent Taylor, Jan Merlin, Peter Whitney (Iverson Ranch) ZIV TV

"Bat Masterson" (1959 TV series) - Gene Barry, Bill Baldwin, Allison Hayes (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch)(Bell Ranch) ZIV TV

"Tombstone Territory" (1957 TV series) - Pat Conway, Richard Eastham, Quintin Sondergaard (Iverson Ranch) ZIV TV

"The Texan" (1959 TV series) - Rory Calhoun, Regis Parton, Jimmy Noel (Iverson Ranch) Desilu Prod

"The Deputy" (1960 TV series) - Henry Fonda, Allen Case, Read Morgan (Corriganville) Top Gun Prod

"Wanted: Dead or Alive" (1960 TV series) - Steve McQueen, Jack Tornek, Wright King (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) CBS

"Gunsmoke" (1960 TV series) - James Arness, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) Arness Prod

"Have Gun - Will Travel" (1960 TV series) - Richard Boone, Kam Tong, Hal Needham (Corriganville)(Iverson Ranch) CBS

Quick Gun, The (1964) - Audie Murphy, Merry Anders, James Best (Bell Ranch) Columbia

Requiem for a Gunfighter (1965) - Rod Cameron, Stephen McNally, Mike Mazurki - Embassy

Friday, May 17, 2013

Clayton Moore was the Lone Ranger

Although the role of the Lone Ranger has been assumed by many actors over the years Clayton Moore was the only true Lone Ranger remembered by most folks of my generation. (the photo above is courtesy of Bruce Hickey).

A Brief History of the Lone Ranger in Film

The Lone Ranger character first appeared in 1933 on a WXYZ radio show.  The character was conceived by WXYZ station owner George W. Trendle and the show's writer Fran Striker.

The first lone ranger film appearance was the Republic serial "Lone Ranger" (1938).  In the that serial there are five characters that were possibly the lone ranger -- Hal Taliaferro as Bob Stuart, Herman Brix as Bert Rogers, George Letz as Jim Clark, Lee Powell as Allen King, and Lane Chandler as Dick Forrest.  

The actual lone ranger is revealed in the last chapter as Lee Powell.  Chief Thundercloud was cast as Tonto and Lynne Roberts played Joan Blanchard.

In the second Republic serial "Lone Ranger Rides Again" (1939) it is clear the ranger is Robert Livingston who is supported by Tonto (Chief Thundercloud) and a Mexican companion named Juan Vasquez (Duncan Renaldo). 

Both serials were hard to find until just a few of years ago, and most copies are poor quality or are in foreign language.

Enter the Lone Ranger Television Series

Next came "The Lone Ranger" TV Series.  It ran from 1949 through 1957, with Clayton Moore playing the title role in 169 of 217 episodes.  

In 1952, because of contract dispute between Clayton Moore and producer George W. Trendle, John Hart appeared as the lone ranger for 52 episodes.

Jay Silverheels played the role of Tonto in all 217 episodes of "The Lone Ranger" TV Series.

During the 1950s there were also two feature films made -- "The Lone Ranger" (1956) and "The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold" (1958).

Both Republic serials, the television series, and the first feature film had some outdoor scenes filmed on the famous Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, CA.

The Mask Man's Troubles

The following is an excerpt from "Clayton Moore, TV's 'Lone Ranger,' Dies" by Stephanie Stassel, published in the Los Angeles Times, December 29, 1999.

"Clayton Moore starred in 169 half-hour Lone Ranger television shows (1949-1957) and two feature films, "The Lone Ranger" (1956) and "The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold" (1958).

But the end of the show did not mean the end of his identification with the character.

Years later this was to get him into legal trouble when the Wrather Corp., which owned the rights to the Lone Ranger, decided to resurrect the masked man in a movie.  Moore, then 65, apparently was considered too old for the role.

The corporation obtained a court order in 1979 preventing Moore from appearing at public functions as the Lone Ranger, apparently so the role's identity could be transferred to Klinton Spilsbury, star of the movie the corporation was making: "The Legend of the Lone Ranger."  The film, released in 1981, was a box office flop, and Moore tenaciously pushed on with a personal crusade to regain his adopted identity.

Moore's fans wrote letters to newspapers.  The city councils of several towns passed resolutions favoring him. A five-year court battle ensued, and in late 1984, the corporation backed down, allowing Moore to exchange a pair of very dark, mask-shaped sunglasses for the traditional black mask. Moore rarely allowed anyone to photograph him without his mask."

Clayton Moore's remarks about the development of the Iverson Movie Ranch 

from: "Showdown At Spahn-Iverson Ranches Developers Vie For Movie Land" by Michael Szymanski, published in the Daily News of Los Angeles July 15, 1986:

"Those hills bring you back to the thrilling days of yesteryear," said actor Clayton Moore, [then] 72, the Lone Ranger for half his life.

"It's where I'd mount my big stud horse Silver, and Jay Silverheels would mount Scout and we'd race through the hills and pretend it was the Civil War days of the Lone Ranger and Tonto," Moore recalled.

"The Duke (John Wayne), Bill (William S.) Hart, Tom Mix, they all would like to have seen it stay the same as the days they filmed here, I'm sure," Moore said.  "But they're all in that big ol' ranch in the sky," he said, "and this ranch is the next closest thing to it."

"This is American heritage," Clayton Moore said. "You can't kill it."

"If it isn't developed, maybe someday -- we'll see -- I may go back," Moore said.  "And maybe," he added, "the Lone Ranger will ride again."

- o -

I finally met Clayton Moore, my Lone Ranger hero, in 1992 at a Gene Autry Museum black tie gala.  He was not in costume, but did have his signature wrap around Foster Grants.

Clayton Moore crossed over the great divide in 1999, but alas a new Lone Ranger is on the horizon

"The Lone Ranger" (2013) starring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer and William Fichtner (Silver Bullet Prod.) will be in theaters July 3rd.

I'm looking forward to a "good tall tale"…  I think I already hear the ghostly strains of "The William Tell Overture" as a narrator tones,

"A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty ‘Hi-Yo, Silver!’... The Lone Ranger!"

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pssst… wanna buy Billy the Kid's gun?

William S. "Bill" Hart, silent film cowboy star, owned a gun that had once belonged to the notorious outlaw and gun slick "Billy the Kid."  The gun had been given to Hart by a member of the posse to whom the Kid gave it up at Stinking Springs, New Mexico, and its authenticity was guaranteed by a flock of affidavits.  

With much flair and media attention Director King Vidor called a press conference when Bill Hart loaned his gun to John Mack Brown for the purpose of using it in his assumed the role of "Billy the Kid," for the 1930 MGM film with the same name.

Johnny Mack Brown shows off the gun with the name "Billy" which was carved on the backstop by an engraver who did the job while in Lincoln, New Mexico with the Kid. Notice that the front sight is sawed off to aid the Kid's fast draw.

Just over a decade later Bill Hart was again called on by the MGM studio -- this time to show off his treasure to Robert Taylor who would assume the role of 'Billy the Kid' in the 1941 version of the story.

Year's later a researcher discovered that old Bill Hart had been bamboozled -- the serial number on the gun indicates that the actual date of its manufacture was several years after the Kid’s death.  True West Magazine's Bob Bozebell recently said, "There enough guns associated with "Billy the Kid" to fill a junior high school gymnasium." 

Pssst… wanna buy Billy the Kid's gun?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Beyond Boulder Pass -- Mission San Fernando

1912 View of the Convento colonnade of San Fernando Rey de España Mission

San Fernando Valley residents usually refer to it as Mission San Fernando, but its full name is Mission San Fernando Rey de España.  It was named for Saint Ferdinand, King of Spain, when it was founded on September 8, 1797, by Father Padre Fermín de Francisco Lasuén de Arasqueta.

By 1806, more than 1,000 Indians lived at San Fernando Mission where they raised cattle for the production of hides, leather goods, and tallow.

The original church building was damaged in an 1812 earthquake, and had restored four times before the 1971 Sylmar earthquake.  The Sylmar quake damaged it beyond repair, so an exact replica was built during 1970s. The church was damaged again in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, it was repaired, and is now in good condition, although substantially reconstructed.

The Mission was used for scenes in several early Western movies prior to the 1971 earthquake:

Over Silent Paths (1910) [D.W. Griffith Short] starring Marion Leonard, Dell Henderson and W. Chrystie Miller - Biograph Co.

Two Men of the Desert (1913) [D.W. Griffith Short] starring Blanche Sweet, Henry B. Walthall and Walter Miller - Biograph Co.

Four Horsemen of Apocalypse (1921) starring Pomeroy Cannon, Josef Swickard and Rudolph Valentino - Metro Pictures Corp.

In Old Arizona (1928) starring Warner Baxter, Edmund Lowe and Dorothy Burgess (Iverson Ranch) Fox

Frontiers of '49 (1939) starring Bill Elliott, Luana Alcañiz and Charles King (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Cisco Kid in Old New Mexico, The (1945) starring Duncan Renaldo, Martin Garralaga and Gwen Kenyon - Monogram 

Mysterious Desperado, The (1949) - Tim Holt, Richard Martin, Edward Norris - RKO

If you know of others please let me hear from you.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ray Harryhausen -- Special Effects Wizard

May 7, 2013, stop-motion animation pioneer and special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen dies at age 92.  Harryhausen's stop-motion techniques brought to life a variety of creatures -- mythical and otherwise -- including dinosaurs, visiting aliens and, on at least one occasion, fighting skeletons. 

Two of the better known Ray Harryhausen movies lensed on the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth were "20 Million Miles to Earth" (1957)...

And, the serial "Mysterious Island" (1961) lensed both on the Iverson Ranch and nearby Corriganville.

Ray Harryhausen's outer space monster in "20 Million Miles to Earth" (1957).

Until I found this 1961 "Mysterious Island" lobby card -- with the Iverson Gorge Archway in the photo -- I believed this serial had been shot entirely at Corriganville.

Raymond Frederick Harryhausen, special effects creator and technician, born 29 June 1920; died 7 May 2013.