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The towns that portrayed the Old West are now ghost towns themselves. This is an amazing cycle which I have seen repeated here a couple of times now. In Oatman the town was falling over and then Hollywood came and rebuilt parts of the main street in 1962 for "How The West Was Won" and now, a half century later, THOSE buildings are falling over and people come and think they're looking at 1880s buildings. Ironic? Oh, I think so.
It's not the old (or rebuilt) buildings that are in question. I was in Oatman just a couple of weeks ago. It's the crap semi buildings they've allowed to be built that make it a laughing stock. Not one effort seems to be being made to maintain any semblace of an old western town. If you think Tombstone has gotten bad. Oatman is 100 times worse. Oh there are still a few good buildings.
In the comments after that article:
"Total rubbish, I was there 3 weeks ago and hundreds of people watched reenactments, a can can show, restaurant was packed. It was a great day out! Wish I could post some pictures to show just how ridiculous this article is. The journalist should've gone and had a look himself rather than taking the word of an amateur photographer just trying to get noticed! Clearly taken out of season, or before the attraction opened. Many tourist attractions are suffering these days, but this def isn't one of them!"And many other people said the same thing, how it is a busy tourist attraction, and well cared for. It's obvious to me too, from the looks of the buildings and the paint still on them. I live in the desert, and know what time will do to a building. These have not been abandoned. And to have a restaurant operating there, that says it all.
Gold Lady . . . . thanks much ! I was suspicious about the "abandoned, . etc." I'd hear quite recently of filming in that area of Spain and the use of sets there. BBB was in Spain recently and I'd hoped he'd go there and give us a report.
Well even "Old Tucson Studios" was pretty much abandonded in between filming. For many many years it just sat there. I have a friend that grew up in Tucson & hunted jack rabbits, javalina & quail in the streets. Then someone got the idea to turn it into a tourist attraction. But it takes someone with the vission, money & energy to do something like that. It takes bussinisses to occupy the shops & supply drinks & food etc, there has to be an ecconomic base of bennefit. It's killed many real live towns & to revitalize an empty movie set could be monumental. Drive into Cerrillos, NM most of the original existing down town buildings are for sale right now. I don't know just how far out in the desert these sets are. But if they're way out away from any accompodations or cities. It could be quite an undertaking. I just wish they had rebuilt "Old Tucson" back the way it was before the fire. To me it lost all it's familliarity & mystique. It's not at all the same streets John Wayne & others walked down in so many Westerns. It's a completely different & foreign place now.
Yes, these sets are still a tourist attraction. They also hold the annual Almeria Western Film Festival there (I know, I had a movie show there in 2011). My friend just finished wrapping a Western called Six Bullets to Hell that was shot on a lot of these sets: https://www.facebook.com/sixbulletstohellfilm
Pioneer Town in the So.Cal. desert was until recently still used for reenactment events.It never was a particularly noteworthy movie/t.v. set town but now it is sad to see just how shabby and run down it has become.Given the current circumstances it very likely is on its way to becoming a bona fide ghost.
I'm worried about the actual towns that have been sets many times. In particular Cerrillos, NM. It's on the verge of becomming a true ghost town too. A dozen or so movies & western TV shows have been filmed there. Including "Young Guns" & "Wild Hoggs" The "Murphy Saloon" from Young Guns is for sale right now with a very nice residence behind. The building mext doore that was the Murphy store is also up for sale. As in the first school house across the street that has been turned into a residence. If not purchased by someone that gives a hoot for their history. They may fall even farther into decay to where they'll be lost for all time.
On a lighter note. Has anyone been to "Buckskin Joe" in Co. lately? It was always one of my favorite "towns that never was" LOL Right by the Royal Gorge.
I live quite near "Pioneer Town" in southern Ca. And most of the buildings are in use a residences or small businesses. Some are maintained more or less "period" others not so much. Reenactments go on there most Sundays and filming is done there quite frequently.
Most of the talk I've heard from the Muleskinners is that Pioneer Town is in the hands of the bank and that they are not wildly optimistic about scheduling events there in the future.I was there last summer and we did a walk through of several of the empty buildings that are in marginal condition.I know that the motel there was closed and have heard from several sources that Pappy & Harriet's may be going as well.
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