Monday, May 13, 2013

5/132013 The Wild, Wild West

(Tucson, AZ)

Bob and I had every intention of touring the Desert Museum today.  We didn’t make it.  We got sidetracked.  It was a good thing!

Look how blue our sky was today. 


Instead  of the Desert Museum we ended up at Old Tucson. 


We happened to pass this on the way and Bob asked if I wanted to check it out.  Heck yeah!  Anything as long as we’re doing something!

The store/ticket office.


Old Tucson is a movie set that was built in 1938 as a replica of 1860s Tucson for the movie Arizona, starring William Holden and Jean Arthur.  Workers built more than 50 buildings in 40 days and surprisingly many of those structures are still standing.
Of course, some of the buildings are nothing more than facades.



We followed our guide and walked the very street that the likes of John Wayne, Gene Autry, James Stewart  and Ronald Reagan walked while making movies that everyone recognizes the names of.  Does Gunfight at the OK Corral ring a bell?


Some of the buildings in this movie studio turned theme park.



This is a real building and stage shows are held in it each day.


Park visitors have a choice of touring the grounds by stagecoach…..


…..or train.  Or walking of course.


This mountain below is in 99% percent of all westerns made here in Arizona and a lot of westerns have been made on this movie lot!  Cowboys and Indians have gunfights around it,  hide behind it and sometimes its just  background. 


It was time to take in a show.  We found seats  in the bleachers and sat back to watch three actors put on a comedy/stunt show.

This young fellow was pulled from the crowd and given  a Tucson dollar, worth absolutely nothing, to hold between his teeth. 


Now prior to this, one of the actors was doing tricks with a whip and he wasn’t that accurate with what he was trying to do, which I’m sure this boy saw too.  He was told to just shut his eyes and keep them shut….so he didn’t see the blood.  Of course just as the guy with the whip snapped it the fellow standing next to him pulled it out of his mouth.  I still don’t know if the kid knew what happened.


The show proceeded with a showing of stunts often seen.



Having the ladder your climbing pushed off the wall its leaning it against.



And what’s a good western without dynamite being throw into a building?


By now we were getting hungry and headed to one of the restaurants on the property,  BBQ sounded good to us so we chose Big Jakes.


We made a good choice!  Bob had the BBQ beef and I had the BBQ pork.  Even the coleslaw was good and I’m real picky about the the coleslaw I eat.  The inside was typical theme park restaurant, cafeteria style, with saddles on railings, wooden tables and chairs, cowboy pictures on the walls and priced on the high side.

Some pictures I snapped…..just because.






This is the Crooked Creek Chapel.  A modern day bride can choose to get married here but it would have to be a very small wedding.


Like every old wild west church it has a cemetery.




This is The Reno.  The locomotive was built for the Virginia and Truckee Railroad in 1872


This world famous locomotive worked Nevada’s legendary Comstock Lode (silver mine) before becoming the movie star it is today.

Famous passengers and co-stars have included:  President Ulysses S Grant, President Theodore Roosevelt, John Wayne, James Stewart, Katherine Hepburn, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood and Elizabeth Taylor.

The Reno has appeared in nearly 100 movies and TV programs including;  Rawhide, Twilight Zone, Posse, Joe Kidd, Tombstone, Wild, Wild, West and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.

The Reno is known as the most photographed locomotive in American history.
Bob and I next toured a replica of the General Store from back in the day.  This was truly the place to meet the townsfolk and farmers/ranchers from outlying areas.


It was where one went to buy flour, sugar, a new washboard, soap, and a slate if you had kids in school.


It was usually the pharmacy, the post office and the telegraph office all rolled into one.


The General Store was the towns menfolk gathered to talk about current events, tell a joke, discuss grain prices and of course to play a game of checkers.

The womenfolk would get to the General Store once a month or so if they lived in the outlying areas so this was their chance to talk to another woman, admire the fancy dress material they could ill afford and the place to buy sturdy cotton with which to make the family’s clothes.  I am sooo glad I didn’t live in the olden days.

It was time to take in another show.  The same three actors that were in the first show but now a young woman was also part of the cast.  It was short play about a sheriff gone bad and his son who was beginning to see the light about him.  The other actor played a preacher man who in his heart could not shoot another to save his own life.  Enter the young woman who is there for revenge against the sheriff.  It was action packed and in the end the son ended up dead.  Doesn’t it figure?





We went through a few of the stores and I bought one thing for the park model but I’m not showing it until I get it up where it belongs, so you’ll have to wait.

It was getting very hot by late afternoon and although there were a few more shops we could have looked at we decided to call it a day.

This was very enjoyable and we’re both glad we took the time to explore Old Tucson.

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