We backtracked from Saguaro National Park to head south on Kinney Road, and soon arrived at Old Tucson [Studios], the "Hollywood of the Desert."
In 1939, a set was built of 1860s Tucson for the movie "Arizona" starring William Holden. Later several other movies were filmed at this location that belonged to Pima County. In 1959, Robert Shelton leased the property and invested in its restoration to make it both a film studio and theme park, with the emphasis on the first. With every movie filmed here, new sets were built to add to the growth of the park. Shelton actively sought business and 200 movies here filmed here as well as TV shows, commercials, etc. In 1968 a soundstage was added. In the 1980s Old Tucson became the premier tourist destination in Arizona, only after the Grand Canyon. Shelton sold the lease rights in 1985, and it appears the place has been going downhill ever since, especially after a devastating fire in 1995.
Today there were only a handful of tourists, and not much going on. There was a train ride, a stagecoach ride, a carousel, horseback riding, and a couple restaurants/saloons.
|Film location for "The Last Outpost" starring Ronald Reagan|
|Film cameras in the small Movie Musuem|
|Pan for gold area|
|Sheriff's office and hangman's noose|
|Grand Palace Hotel and Saloon|
|Trampoline at the mission|
|Traveling medicine show wagon|
|Tribute to the O'odham/Pima people who helped to build the first set|
Next: Tucson Old Town.