Check Out Kane County's Movie History
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 silver screen! Movie making was a large part of the area’s history and economy from the 1930s-1990s, when over 300 movies and TV shows were filmed here.
Much of the 2012 Disney movie, John Carter, was filmed here.
Last year, an independent film featuring Nicholas Cage was filmed in Kanab, and will premiere soon.
For great reading concerning Utah and Kane County’s rich film-making history, check out the book, ‘When Hollywood Came to Town’ by film historian James D’Arc.
Within an hour’s drive of Kanab, you have a diversity of landscape – from sand dunes – to western sagebrush and tumbleweed – to high country forests – to an enormous body of water. While remote, this landscape was just what many producers desired for location.
Step back in time for an “up close and personal” free view of movie memorabilia! Little Hollywood is located in Kanab at 297 West Center Street. On the back lot are memorabilia displayed from original sets from Desperate Hours, One Little Indian and Outlaw Josey Wales – real sets from the reel west! Check their website at www.littlehollywoodmuseum.org.
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 about 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. Not far past the Best Friends turnoff a barn still stands from One Little Indian.
Paria Movie Set
This set was nestled at the bottom of a multi-colored sandstone canyon in what locals refer to as ‘the Paria.’ Take Highway 89 east of Kanab for 35 miles, and turn north into 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. The set was rebuilt by local clubs and volunteers, only to be burned by vandals several years later.
When visiting the area now, either to hike or see the Pareah Townsite, you can almost hear the dialog of those old westerns of years ago…