Movie History

Movie History Magic in Color Country

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By Dixie Brunner

You may experience ‘déjà vu’ when touring southern Utah. While this may be your first trip, you’ve probably already visited via TV or the big screen! Movie making was a large part of this area’s history and economy from the 1930s-1990s, when over 300 movies and TV shows were filmed here. The 2012 Disney movie, John Carter, was the latest to be filmed here. About 275 Utahns worked on the film, many Kane County residents. To sate visiting movie buffs, you might consider a tour of the old movie sets dotting the area. While some are in disrepair, others have been kept up. Little Hollywood Museum Step back in time for an “up close and personal” view of movie memorabilia, and better yet – it’s free! Little Hollywood is located in Kanab at 297 West Center Street. On the back lot is a western town comprised of original and maintained sets from the movies Desperate Hours, One Little Indian, and Outlaw Josey Wales. Real sets from the reel west. If you are up for a western show with some grub to go along with it, inside Little Hollywood you will find the Chuckwagon Cookout, with delicious food and great fun! Check their website for times and availability at www.littlehollywoodmuseum.org. Parry Lodge Parry Lodge was a movie-making hotspot for years. The hotel was the place where scores of famous movie actors and producers stayed while filming in Kanab. The rooms are named after some of the famous folks who slept there. Guests today can stay in the “Ronald Reagan” or “James Arness” rooms. A mini museum of signed autographs and photos can be viewed in the lobby and dining room of Parry Lodge. There was even a movie shot at Parry Lodge, The Girl in the Black Stockings. Kanab Canyon Movie Set Located five miles north of Kanab, near Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Kanab Canyon was the location for a number of movies including The Lone Ranger, Westward the Women and The Apple Dumpling Gang. On the county road through Best Friends is a barn from One Little Indian. While few significant film-making sights remain, one can almost imagine the wagons rolling down the hill in Women, or the Lone Ranger’s horse Silver rearing on the red sandstone plateau. Paria Movie Set This set was nestled at the bottom of a towering, multi-colored sandstone canyon in what locals refer to as ‘the Paria.’ The site of the former Paria Movie Set can be accessed by taking Highway 89 east of Kanab for 35 miles, and turning north onto a dirt parking lot with a stone monument to the Pareah Townsite. The movie set was used to film western movies and TV shows from 1963-1991. It was used for several episodes of Gunsmoke and Sergeants Three. Those willing to take the bumpy trip will be rewarded with interpretive displays and remarkable canyon views. While the movie set withstood the test of gunfights and saloon brawls, it couldn’t withstand the ravages of nature. Flooding left a 20 foot gully running through the middle of the three-building town. Through a coopertive effort between local volunteers and the BLM, the buildings were dismantled and rebuilt on stable ground above the original location. Unfortunately, vandals later burned the buildings.

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Although most of the buildings have fallen down, the old “F Troop” television set can be hiked to, just southwest of Kanab. Photo by Peter Cooper.

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