A famous "old west" television and motion picture filming studio and theme park, a few miles west of Tucson, Arizona.
Excerpted from their own official website (www.oldtucson.com):
Old Tucson Studios came to life in 1939 when Columbia Pictures built a replica of 1860's Tucson for the movie Arizona... starring William Holden and Jean Arthur, set a new standard of realism for Hollywood westerns, initiating the move away from studio backdrop movies to outdoor epics.
The studio was revived only briefly for the films The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman; Winchester 73 (1950), starring Jimmy Stewart; and the 1956 classic, Gunfight at the OK Corral with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas.
The stampede of movie productions during those early years include, The Deadly Companions (1961), starring Brian Keith and Maureen O'Hara; Lilies of the Field (1962) starring Sidney Poitier; Have Gun Will Travel (1962); The Outrage (1964) and Hombre (1966) with Paul Newman; and episodes of Bonanza (1966, '71, '72); Death Valley Days (1966-69); and High Chaparral (1966-'71).
In 1968, a 13,000 square foot soundstage was built to give Old Tucson Studios complete movie-making versatility. The first film to use the soundstage was Young Billy Young (1968), starring Robert Mitchum and Angie Dickenson.
In 1970-'71, the studio hosted 15 film productions including
Dirty Dingus Magee (1970) with Frank Sinatra; Yuma (1971) starring Glenn Ford, and Joe Kidd (1971) starring Clint Eastwood. Park expansion included the Silverlake Park area, complete with antique carousel, a new train depot and narrow-gauge train, the C.P. Huntington, and antique car rides.
From 1970 to 1980 Old Tucson Studios and its Mescal property hosted 77 film and television productions including the Michael Landon's Little House on the Prairie (1977-1983).
Old Tucson Studios remained a popular location for film and television executives as well as visitors. Annual park attendance was nearing the half million mark just as Old Tucson Studios became part of the made-for-television-movie trend of the late 1980's and early 1990's. The studio hosted productions such as CBS-TV's Poker Alice starring Elizabeth Taylor, TNT's Geronimo, Buffalo Soldiers and Billy the Kid, as well as commercials for McDonalds, Harley Davidson and Anheuser Busch.
The more popular films made at Old Tucson Studios from that period include, Three Amigos (1986) starring Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Martin Short; Tombstone (1993) with Kurt Russell, and The Quick and the Dead (1994) starring Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman. Recent screen credits include a Coors commercial featuring John Wayne, a Brooks & Dunn music video and a feature film with Dwight Yoakam, Bridgett Fonda and Billy Bob Thornton.
One of the best places to see a professionally staged shoot-out
, a drama that unfolds down Main Street every day that the studio is open to the public