Sunday, February 22, 2009
MESCAL, ARIZONA is a movie set owned by Old Tucson Studios. It's open to the public for guided tours but best to call in advance as occasionally the set is closed for use by companies doing commercials or the rare movie production.
It stands alone now, abandoned except for Frank Brown, a seventy-something caretaker who heads up the tours. You couldn't ask for a better GHOST TOWN, as the storefronts are weathered, some windows broken, tumbleweeds treading the streets where once Wyatt Earp and friends strode. It's a great venue for picture taking, and if you go in costume you can reenact the famous walk to the O.K. Corral. Among the movies made here (entirely or in part) are THE OUTLAW JOSIE WALES, TOMBSTONE, TOM HORN, MONTE WALSH (the original), SEVEN MUMMIES, and too many others to mention.
The town is twenty or so miles south of Tucson, but the suburbs are closing in, and in ten or twenty years it will surely come down so that condos can be erected. In the meantime, it's a good chance to see an old western town as it was. Forget Old Tucson Studios (although it's a fun day on its own), Mescal is uncorrupted by the theme park mentality that has somewhat ruined the parent company. So go now, and go often.