The Movie Studio that Arose from Desert

tucson studios toursDuring the early days of western film making there were certain areas in the western U.S. that the movie studios chose to shoot their movies. This was the time when movie producers decided to shoot westerns on location as opposed to only on sound stages.

One popular area chosen was just north of the city of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley. At that time they would pay a rancher a fee for use of ranch land. This was the catalyst for what we call “movie ranches”  to pop up. Today that area north of L.A. is covered with suburban neighborhoods.

old tucson studios structures The $2.5 million film, starring William Holden and Jean Arthur is why the studios are there today.

Interestingly enough, the movie site just west of Tucson was unused for several years when the “Arizona” filming wrapped up. The next filming was not until 1945 when “The Bells of St. Mary’s” with Bing Crosby was filmed there. A Gene Autry movie was shot there in 1947 and activity thereafter picked up substantially. Going into the 1950’s, the western genre took off and several well known western movies and television shows used the Tucson Studios.

Revisit the History of Western Movie Making at the Old Tuscon Studios

The Old Tucson Studios located just west of the city is one of the best travel stops you’ll find in the entire state. Arizona is filled with great travel attractions and plenty of history and the Old Tucson Studios is one of them.

The Old Tucson Studios was the location for many a western movie during the heyday of the westerns. Think of some of the more popular western movies and television series of the era and chances are a great many were filmed at, or shot in part at the Old Tucson Studios.  In all, there have been some 400 films and commercial productions shot at the Old Tucson Studios. The studios are authentic and fascinating and remain the regions premiere film location. The theme park offers lots of history to be shared about the west. Movies were filmed here with starts like John Wayne, Gary Cooper, William Holden and Ronald Reagan just to name a few.

Exhibitions and Shows

Today, the venue features authentic old western buildings that were used during the filming of some of your favorite westerns. You may very well recognize the old mission which was used in the movie “Tombstone”.  In addition, there are exhibitions and shows put on which makes your visit even more fun. There are shows about every half hour or so plus three reenactment gunfights per day. During these reenactments you’ll even pick up some film making secrets. You might get answers to questions that start off.. “How did they do that?”. Great fun for the entire family.

You could spend the entire day at the Old Tucson Studios. A list of events, times and a map are given to you when you purchase your admission ticket. This venue attracts tourists all throughout the year. The Tucson Studios might also give you a glimpse of what Tucson would have been like during the latter 1800’s.

tucson arizona attractionsThe Old Tucson Studios is located West of Tucson. Take I-10 East, exit on Speedway Boulevard and head West. Just keep going, it’s a long way. You will cross Gate’s Pass and come down out of the mountains. Turn South on Kinney Road and follow the signs. Address is 201 S. Kinney Rd, Tucson, Arizona. Hours are 10A-4P but call before you go to confirm…520-883-0100

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