Old Tucson movie studio is now a mere seventy-one years young. Originally constructed in 1939 for Columbia Pictures, Old Tucson is a replica of Tucson from the 1860’s designed for a movie called “Arizona ” .
The studio gained much needed publicity partly due to Native American Indians’ “Papago’s”, now known as Tohono O’odham, building bricks from the desert soil to create some of the buildings that still stand today.
The facility in its hay day was a launching point for many actors and actresses into Westerns. Numerous generations remember the sway and tilt of the cowboy hat from John Wayne. He captured the very essence of the Southwest. Four films were credited with his talent at Old Tucson.
“Rio Bravo” made in 1959 was one John Wayne made infamous. “McLintock!” 1963 was created as a comedy western. “El Dorado” 1967 and “Hatari” 1967 were also credited with his talents.
There have been over 300 hundred movies made at Old Tucson since its creation it still holds the reputation as the place to go for new Westerns today. Here are just a few:
“The Quick and The Dead” 1995
“Lightning Jack” 1994
“Young Guns II” 1990
“Tom Horn” 1980
“The Outlaw Josey Wales” 1975
“The Trial of Billy Jack”1974
“The Way West” 1967
“3:10 to Yuma” 1957
With an influx of tours and families flocking to see the revitalized studio many productions rolled through the workshop during the fifties, sixties on into the nineties. With intense story lines and action “Gunfight at the Ok Corral”, starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, sent headlines across America.
The Southwest was now a full-blown tourist attraction. With nearly year round sunshine as a selling point, people began descending upon the desert basin of Tucson forever changing the Southwest.
While movies were created at Old Tucson, a history was being cataloged by photographers and newsprint. With Tucson changing so fast the studio never wanted anyone to lose the memory of what was. Memorabilia in the form of post cards and miniature items for sale gave a new income to the once dying studio. Through this venture many families were given a history lesson not found in all school books of the day.
Today many of these great classic films have been forever preserved on CD. With new generations marveling over the past, some will be hoping to retain of bit of nostalgia. Old Tucson Studios is still in operation today carrying on the history of film and film making.
Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Join the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own articles.