The Old West And Hollywood Are Doing Just Fine In Arizona
If you are a fan of westerns, you've probably already seen this place a zillion times.
I love westerns ... biker movies, horror, comedy and music documentaries round out my top 5 ... and I've seen hundreds, if not thousands. Westerns are practically what todays movie industry was built on.
It started as a film set built in 1939 for the movie, "Arizona". (Some of the 1939 buildings still stand.) Once the movie industry realized they could shoot westerns "onsite", Old Tucson Studios took off.
The studio has been used for a ton of television shows like Bonanza, Little House On The Prairie, The Young Riders and The Magnificent Seven. Non - western TV shows filmed there include Unsolved Mysteries and WWF Prime Time.
Not sure what brought WWF there, peeps didn't "wrestle" in the old west. Even the ladies settled things much quicker ... and with way less pyro.
The list of movies filmed there is insane. They beat Universal Studios by a long shot with regard to westerns, the first being 1939's "Arizona" and the most recent (western) being "The Legend Of Five Mile Cave" in 2019. (Classic photos here.)
In the meantime, classics like "The Quick And The Dead", "Young Guns II", "The 3 Amigos", "3:10 To Yuma" and one of my all time favorites, "Tombstone", were all filmed there.
I've been there a number of times and was lucky enough to visit a few times before the fire of 1995 destroyed a lot of the old, recognizable film sets and buildings.
It was ruled "arson" but authorities were unable to convict the prime suspect.
Luckily, many buildings survived and the ones lost have been restored or "reimagined".
Old Tucson could easily share Tombstone's nickname of "the town too tough to die" as despite many, seemingly insurmountable problems, (the fire and the pandemic among them), they're still at it.
Note: There are really 2 Old Tucson's and one of them, pretty much a clone of the original, is private. It would be tough to film a movie with crowds wandering around ... though, it does happen ... so, a lot of filming happens on the down low.
Don't expect thrill rides or crazy special effects displays at Old Tucson. Other than a gun fight here and there or the occasional bank robbery, they don't need that stuff.
At Old Tucson Studios, it's history ... both real and imagined ... that's the most entertaining attraction.