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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Old Tucson Movie Studio

Lighting and sound were great for Lulu to capture Thespian Harry.

A trip to Tucson Arizona is not complete without a ride out to Old Tucson - the movie studio. It is about 10 miles west of town - out in the Sonoran Desert next to Saguaro National Park.

In the 1930's - the little wooden town in the desert was built as a set for the movie Rio Bravo. It was a perfect setting with all the cacti and the Tucson Mountains surrounding the town. The dry air and endless sunshine make it a perfect place for photography.

Admission is about $15 a day with a coupon or you can buy a yearly pass for $45. They also offer an after 3 PM ticket good for the next day too. Back when Lulu was teaching at the University of Arizona - we bought passes and spent quite a few evenings there. There are plenty of wild west shows - rides - and entertainment. Think of it as Disneyworld without a lot of people.

Hundreds of movies have been filmed here including one of my favorites - "The Three Amigos" - featuring Steve Martin and Martin Short.

In 1995 - a wild fire ravaged the place - high winds fueled the flames. Most of the wooden buildings were leveled and have been replaced.

Lulu and I spent our last night in town at Old Tucson. Our hotel was a couple miles away in the foothills.

Note the moon in this picture above the train station. The giant cacti are real.

Lulu was freaked out by the coffin. It was a perfect fit.

Note the gallows and the court house. This street was in the TV show Tombstone.

The water wheel is fake but it sure looked real in this picture.

Just on the other side of that mountain is downtown Tucson.

It was a real locomotive from the 1850's - but now it has a diesel engine. Wyatt Earp rode this train in "Shootout at OK Corral."

You may remember "The Three Amigos" swinging from this Mexican church.

On a weekday at about 4 PM - there may have been 100 tourists there.

The old dry wood is a perfect place for a fire. Someone set the place on fire in 1995 - while people were there.

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