Archive for the Pop Culture and Entertainment Category

Bringing Movies Back to Tucson

Posted in Pop Culture and Entertainment with tags , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2010 by raingeg

I had the pleasure Saturday to meet Robert Shelton, no not the former President of the University of Arizona, the man that ran Old Tucson back when it was a thriving movie set. I can’t emphasize the word “was” enough. Old Tucson is only a shade of what it once was, after a devastating fire and a change in ownership, its never been the same.

This is from Old Tucson’s website about Shelton:

In 1959, Midwest entrepreneur Robert Shelton saw more than an antiquated movie set when he set eyes on Old Tucson Studios. He saw potential for expanding it from the ghost town it had become into a viable movie studio and family attraction. Shelton leased the property from Pima County and began to restore the forgotten town. Old Tucson Studios re-opened in 1960, as a film studio and a family fun park as well.

The park continued to grow, literally building by building, with each movie filmed on its dusty streets. Western film legend John Wayne, who soon became friends with studio owner Shelton, starred in four movies at Old Tucson Studios and each production added buildings to the town. Rio Bravo (1959) added a saloon, bank building and doctor’s office; from MCLINTOCK! (1963) came the McLintock Hotel; El Dorado (1967) left Old Tucson Studios with a facelift on Front Street; and from Rio Lobo (1970) came a cantina, a granite lined creek, a jail and Phillip’s ranch house.

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).

Old Tucson Studios became the premier, privately owned, western film location. 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. That same year, Shelton also purchased the Mescal property, Old Tucson’s second filming location just 40 miles southeast of Tucson.

Tucson is really hurting for business, mostly because our city is run by people that either really don’t like Tucson and are trying to drive it into the ground (that’s a joke) or they are so tied to their leftist agenda that they are doing more harm than good.

There is a Senate Bill that we should all throw our support around.

Arizona Public Media reports back in April:

Senate Bill 1409 would extend a tax credit to movie productions companies that come to work in Arizona. The current tax credit expires at the end of this fiscal year, and SB 1409 would not only extend the credit but it would also increase it to as much as 30% if certain criteria are met dealing with the amount of money spent in the state and the number of Arizona residents hired for the production. Backers of the bill say it is needed to keep movie companies shooting in Arizona. They point to the 2007 version of 3:10 to Yuma, none of which was filmed in Arizona. Opponents, however, say the tax credit is too much and movie companies make enough money they don’t need the financial help.

On April 5, 2010 the full Senate failed the proposal on an 11-16 vote.

This would bring a lot of business to Arizona and hopefully turn Tucsn, not just Old Tucson, into a place where Hollywood can once again film some movies. With its natural light, great weather and short distance to California, Tucson is a great place for filming movies.

From what I can tell SB 1409 died in the Arizona House, I don’t know for sure. I’ve sent out an email in hopes of getting an answer to that question.

If you’d like to listen to last weekends Voices of the West program click on the link below and listen to or download the file.

Voices of the West 7-24-10

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Rod Serling Intros “The Twilight Zone”

Posted in Pop Culture and Entertainment on July 4, 2010 by raingeg

I’ve kind of adopted the Sci-Fi channel’s Twilight Zone idea for the Fourth. Every year Sci-fi does a Twilight Zone marathon, playing for you the best TZ episodes. It was because of this marathon that I became a fan of TZ. So for the last couple of years I’ve posted something about Rod Serling or TZ on this blog. I hope this does not in any way belittle what this day means, it is a glourious day that every American should celebrate with great pride.

If you’re not a fan of The Twilight Zone here are some good reasons why you should be.

Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader Trailer, Plus Screwtape Movie Info

Posted in Pop Culture and Entertainment with tags , , , , on June 17, 2010 by raingeg

The first bit of news for the day was the release of the trailer for the latest installment of The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I have to admit that I haven’t read the books, but I am a big fan of the movie and of course C.S. Lewis. I didn’t even know that they were making another film, I remembered hearing that something happened and Walden Media didn’t want to make another movie. My memory was semi-right, apparently Walden got into a budget dispute with Disney after the last movie didn’t do as well in theaters as they had hoped. In January of 2009, 20th Century Fox took over for Walden Media as the distributor.

The thing I really have my eyes on is a Screwtape Letters movie. 20th Centry Fox owns the rights to the book, and they are expected to pair up with Walden to make a Screwtape movie. The Wikipedia site says that it is expected to be released in 2010, but with the year half over I don’t see that happening. Upon visiting IMDB.com I found a page dedicated to the movie, but because it is production there is not much info on the film. But from what I can gather Ralph Winter (X-Men) is supposedly involved in the movie. I think it would be great if they could get Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings, King Kong)  involved, as he already knows a lot about the book because of his work on the Focus on the Family radio drama.