Well, actually it wasn’t, but that’s the way it seems from the movies, and a lot of those movies were filmed at Old Tucson Studios.
Located a short drive west of Tucson, Old Tucson Studios is the perfect place to film a Western. There’s an entire recreated Western town there surrounded by Arizona desert, with the Tucson and Catalina Mountains providing a scenic backdrop. Oh, and the sunsets are more beautiful than anything you’ll ever see on the screen.
The main attraction at the studios is the town itself, which has provided a backdrop for seventy years of films. Movie buffs will be in a constant state of deja-vu. Wasn’t that saloon in The Outlaw Josie Wales? Isn’t that the ranch from Bonanza? In case you’re having trouble playing Spot-The-Set, there’s a seventieth anniversary exhibit on right now showing never-before-seen production stills from some of the many films that used Old Tucson Studios. A preview video can be seen here. Some of the employees are really knowledgeable, so you might want to go on one of the historical tours.
There’s plenty going on too. Costumed performers rob the bank, there are gunfights full of stunts, and even magic shows and train rides. It’s all a bit hokey, but that’s part of the fun. Kids love it.
Unfortunately there was a bad fire in 1995 that destroyed many of the buildings and irreplaceable movie history, but there’s still plenty left to give you a good dose of movie nostalgia. So saddle up and ride down to Tucson, and while you’re there you might want to see some more of the Old West attractions southern Arizona has to offer, such as the ghost towns, the Saguaro National Monument, and the Old Spanish Trail. Tune in next time when I’ll be talking about Tombstone, a real Wild West town.