Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Old West . . .

. . . as seen through the eyes of Hollywood. "Old Tucson" was built in 1939 as a movie set for the entertainment business. On a few acres of land west of the city of Tucson this town has been used thoroughly over the years. TV dramas, westerns and miscellaneous movies have had their beginning on this spot. We were told that just two weeks ago some film was shot here.

This past week our Photo Club set out for "Old Tucson" for our February photo shoot...

We were greeted by handsome cowboys and dance hall girls...

Once inside I looked up to the Arizona sky and predicted a lovely day...

In 1995 there was a fire that meant a rebuild of much of the 'town'...

Loved the desert ambience.

It would be great fun to stage a movie set, making it look as 'authentic' as possible.

Please obey the signs!

This school house was not very impressive. It made me very thankful for the big windows with natural light of the school rooms I remember.

But I can imagine the school children having a great time reading and writing and fooling around, just like their descendants!

Classroom looks a bit tight but the easier to pass notes, right?

Wending my way through the town I approached the Court House from the back...

past a murky pond...

through a lovely cacti garden...

over a bridge and pond...

and up against an Ocotillo fence. Not sure you can see the thorns on these branches but this in one fence you do not want to scale!

Before the fire of '95 this Mission was a full sized church but in the rebuild they only put up a facade. In the early days, "The Bells of St. Mary's" was filmed here.

I enjoyed the details attached to each of the buildings.

Easy to imagine the old movies staged here...

The front of the Court House where you can go in, set a spell and watch a quick overview of many of the movies and TV shows that were shot here.

Some of us had to be back by 3 for a class so we missed the dance hall girls doing the can-can later in the afternoon.

" A pioneer is not someone 
who makes her own soap. 
She is one who takes up her burdens 
and walks toward the future."
-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

When I got to the cemetery I found that my official camera was out of battery... no problem, just put in the extra one in my purse... ooops! extra battery was still at home in the charger... !!

So this shot of the little church was my last official photo... the rest was shot with my iPhone.

This little chapel was used for weddings and funerals... the general business of life on the frontier.

Great view out the front of the church.

I was so taken with the old hymnal that I completely forgot to capture the old pump organ it was sitting on. But as a collector of old hymnals, I was forgiven.

Love this old coach.

Finally Laura and I decided we could use a sit-down so we got on the little train and took a tour of the entire property from the edges.

The train engineer/conductor said this old buggy was about one third size of the original it was patterned after, which was true of many objects. Some were there just for creating the ambience.

For those who remember this TV show... great set.

This TV show aired from 1966-1971.

Cannot forget the necessities when you put a set together...

Perfect timing for the stagecoach to show up.

Back in town we found the Chinatown of the day...

with the wandering alleys and crowded atmosphere.

There is no frontier town without a jail...

or a mine where you could get rich!

And a sweet Sweet Shoppe!

The list of movies and TV dramas filmed on this site is quite extensive. The first movie filmed here was appropriately named, "Arizona" with two of our favourite stars, Jean Arthur and William Holden.

Some titles you may recognize:

A number of episodes of "Little House on the Prairie"
The 1956 version of "3:10 to Yuma" starring Glenn Ford
Many episodes of "Bonanza"
"Cannonball II" with Burt Reynolds and his friends
"Love Among Thieves" with Audrey Hepburn and Robert Wagner
"Young Guns II" with Emilio Estevez and Kiefer Sutherland
"A Star is Born" with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristoffersen
"The New Maverick" with James Garner
"The Gambler" with Kenny Rogers
A 1980 episode of "Hart to Hart" with Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers
to name just a few.

It is a fun place to visit when you are in the south.

Too soon our time was up and we made our way back across town and home. Great day!

Be well and stay in touch.

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