Kirk's Rock

The American equivalent of the BBC Quarry, a distinctive set of striated sandstone slabs, dozens to hundreds of feet tall, sharply-angled and pointed at their tops. Familiar from its use as an exterior location in any number of Science Fiction programs and Westerns (including the films Blazing Saddles and The Magnificent Seven Ride Again, as well as the "Sleestak Diner" scene in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), and no few automobile commercials. It is also the location where the Brandeis-Bardin Institute was composited into for the first five seasons of Power Rangers as the Command Center/Power Chamber building. The entire town of Bedrock in The Flintstones was constructed here. Probably best known from its several appearances on Star Trek over the years (especially the Original Series episode "Arena"), whence comes the popular nickname for one of the formations (and by extension the entire area). The movie Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey specifically points this trope out by having the boys watching said episode, before their robotic duplicates drag them out to the rock to kill them.

In reality these are known as the Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, in Agua Dulce, CA (conveniently located about 30 miles north of Hollywood), and were once a hideout of Tiburcio Vásquez, a notorious bandito who was one of the inspirations for the character of Zorro. Here's the Wikipedia entry, with a detailed history of "Kirk's Rock" in TV and film.

Works Featuring Kirk's Rock:

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  • It appears in the background for a 2013 Spiriva COPD medication ad.

    Fan Works 
  • It is the location of the Guardian of Forever in the Star Trek fan film, Of Gods and Men.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie: The Rocks serve as a launch ramp for a mocked-up flying saucer. And Cooper (well, an obvious puppet) plummets from the top.
  • Bill & Ted: Lampshaded: Just before the boys meet the Evil Robots, they're watching that particular episode of Star Trek on TV. When the Robots drag the boys up to the rock to kill them, we even get a recreation of the dramatic zoom out from Trek.
  • In Blazing Saddles, Vasquez rocks is the site Hedy Lamarr ("That's Hedley!") recruits desperados for the attack on Rock Ridge.
  • The Flintstones: The entire town of Bedrock was built here. After filming, the studio left it up for a few days and allowed tourists in to visit the set.
  • In Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Federal Wildlife Marshal Willenholly is a reference to the characters Marshall, Will and Holly on the 1970's children's TV show Land of the Lost — a shout out reinforced by the subsequent appearance of the Sleestak Diner sitting in the shadow of Kirk's Rock.
  • Paul: Graeme and Clive visit Kirk's Rock and reenact the scene.
  • Star Trek: The landscape of Vulcan is a clear homage, with the distinctive shape of the rock formation repeating many times along the horizon.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory: While en route to a Star Trek convention, the guys specifically visit this location due to its use in the show. Their car is stolen while they are posing for pictures in their costumes in front of the rocks.
  • Charmed: In the episode "Soul Survivor", this represents a prehistoric environment into which Leo and Chris stumble through a time portal.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Command Center/Power Chamber (aka. American Jewish University's "The House of the Book") sits on this rock, as it does through the following two series, Zeo and Turbo.
    • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: One episode has Red Ranger Leo forced to fight right next to them. It probably isn't a coincidence that his shirt gets ripped to shreds, forcing him to take it off, at the same time.
  • Mr. Show: used as the location of their Jesus Christ Superstar parody in the episode "The Biggest Failure in Broadway History".
  • NCIS: An episode has members of the team follow a lead in Arizona. In clear view behind them when talking to a local cop, Kirk's Rock.
  • Roswell: The wilderness scenes heavily featured Kirk's Rock. The scenes of the town, including the Crashdown Cafe, were shot in Covina, CA.
  • Sliders: Featured in the episode "Electric Twister Acid Test"
  • The Trope Namer; the famous fight in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode, "Arena", takes place here, as mentioned in the description.
    • Also, this is where Lazarus' timeship is located in "The Alternative Factor."
    • And where Kirk fought Finnegan in "Shore Leave." The glade scenes were shot at Africa USA Ranch, a former wildlife preserve in nearby Soledad Canyon.
  • In The Wild Wild West episode, "The Night of the Cadre", West and Gordon defeat the fake Union soldiers at Vasquez Rocks with a knockout gas Gordon devised.
    • The climactic gunfight in "The Night of the Jack O'Diamonds" takes place here also.
  • Zorro: Probably one of the earliest use in television, and before they were called that. In the episode "The Missing Father", Zorro pursues a mysterious masked figure over the Rocks.
  • Doctor Who. Homaged in "The Caretaker", which opens with the Doctor and his companion in a Noodle Incident where they've been chained up in the desert to die on an alien planet. A large Vasquez Rocks-like formation is in the background.

    Music Videos 
  • You Got Lucky (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) - The rocks are seen in the background behind the shed they find.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: As a direct reference to Star Trek: The Original Series, the crew winds up on a planet which just happens to have an exact recreation of the rocks. Leela and William Shatner end up fighting (and more besides) on them.