Because our Grand Canyon accommodations were damaged in the recent harsh winter Jadyne and I were forced to find refuge in tiny, remote Kanab, Utah, (population 4700) ninety minutes away. What a treasure! In the fifties Kanab became known as “Little Hollywood” because of the number of movies that were filmed in this quintessentially Western community.
“Credit for interest in Southern Utah as a Hollywood back lot goes to the Parry Brothers who leveraged their guiding business at Zion National Park into a virtual Hollywood production machine by luring influential filmmakers to the area.”
“Kanab made its screen debut in 1924 when Tom Mix filmed "Deadwood Coach" along with his co-star, Tony The Wonder Horse. Since then over a hundred Hollywood productions have taken advantage of the diverse and spectacular landscapes that make Southern Utah one of the most stunning places on Earth.”
Movies and TV shows that were filmed in and around Kanab include, Have Gun, Will Travel, The Lone Ranger, Planet of the Apes, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Stagecoach, and Gunsmoke. Virtually all the stars stayed at the Parry Lodge, and the rooms are named for those temporary residents. The lobby is filled with autographed photographs. Here are four:
Located in Paiute Indian country, Kanab’s locals found work as extras. In one western three hundred Indians were hired to charge the soldiers.on horseback. Thirty were selected to fall off their horses and were paid an additional $10. When the favored Indians shared their good fortune with the other 270 they, too, fell off their horses, not at all what the director wanted.
The Parry Lodge provided food and lodging. posting its prices in this document from 1966, which included horses, wagons, teams, extras, (both walking and riding) water trucks, buses, station wagons, and of course, Indians, who were paid $12.50 a day.
Kanab’s streets are lined with photographs and stories about the stars.
Many of the sets, including barns and homes, remain and are in use today. Some are stored in a free museum.
The landscape around Kanab changes from one mile to the next, but is mostly unspoiled by telephone lines, roads, and other signs of twentieth century civilization. Below is a moonset over one of Kanab’s mesas and the dunes of nearby Coral Dunes State Park.
For those who haven’t seen Southern Utah here are two images that reflect the majesty of the countryside, taken through the windshield of our car.
And if that isn’t enough, Zion and Bryce are literally just next door. We missed Zion this time but stopped midday to see Bryce.