What a wonderful experience we had today. I read Debbie and Larry's post about touring Mescal. We've stayed in Benson many times, but I had no idea that there was a movie set nearby other than Gammon's Gulch.
I looked it up on the internet and noticed that is said it was closed. Why not take a drive out and see what we can find? We are at exit 302 and it is located at exit 297. It's not too far away.
As we ran out of pavement we noticed the sign. It had a "Tour" on top of the no trespassing sign. It was about 11:30 and it said tours were at 11 and 1. We drove up the dirt road and decided we'd just wait until the next tour started.
Frank Brown came out of his travel trailer to greet us and said that he just completed a tour. He said the next tour may be the last ever. He's going to be 81 in July and he is scheduled for back surgery on Thursday.
We said no problem, we'd just wait until 1. He told us a lot about the place, his past experiences in his life, his 6 wives and then he said he'd make a deal with us.
He would give us a private tour if we agreed to put the cones back across the road when we leave. He jumped in his truck and road down the dirt road retrieving the "Tour" sign and blocking the road with cones.
Anyone that knows Bill knows he loves the cowboy shows. You couldn't wipe the grin off his face if you wanted to.
Frank rattled off all the movies that were made at this movie set. He knew all the famous lines that were said at all the buildings.
Bill found out he and Frank had a lot in common besides almost being the same age, birthdays, employment, and the love of the west but not the six wives.
I'm sure I won't remember all the details that Bill will, but I'll tell you what I remember.
This saloon was in a lot of movies but the Quick and the Dead starring Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman is the one I remembered.
We made a comment about how sturdy they built the building as we entered.
It looked like real brick but it was plastic and fiberglass.
I'm sure you've seen these doors in movies before.
Franks was so full of stories and he kept apologizing for having to lean against something. We didn't care as we never tired of hearing all the stories.
The saloon was used in many movies.
Notice the red wallpaper. They change the color of it in different movies. The Quick and the Dead had red wallpaper.
This building was used in Tombstone as the Bird Cage. Frank did tell us that Tombstone wasn't filmed at all in the town of Tombstone.
Frank talked the entire time we walked around and he walked very slowly.
I believe this was "Fly's Photography" building used in Tombstone.
This was the OK Corral. Frank said PBS also did a filming here explaining how the gunfight actually happened.
Frank told us that it gets very windy there and once they had winds over 70 mph. Those winds knocked down many buildings. In the 1990's there were 32 buildings.
The western movie stories just kept flowing.
Do you remember the scene with Mel Gibson from the movie Maverick hanging from this tree with the snakes all around?
There were more than one buildings used as the Sheriff/Marshal's office.
I can't wait to watch more western movies and see who used this building.
Once again those aren't stone walls, they are made out of plastic.
Oh yes, Frank has appeared in many films. He says he's used to hide flaws such as electric lines in the horizon.
Can't you just picture him in the movies?
This was where Josey Wales shot the guys as he was returning from the general store.
It looks like a much steeper incline but I can picture the Earp's as they come over the rise.
The Cowboys in Wyatt Earp movie shot up the theater. I chose not to climb the stairs to the cribs.
I know Frank listed a bunch of movies that this building was filmed in, but I can't remember which now.
This was also used in Tombstone.
There were just too many stories to remember what each building represented.
Do you think Bill was enjoying this?
This home was used in the Young Riders.
This building was used as the bunkhouse where the Young Riders bunked.
I could go on and on but it is well worth seeing and Frank Brown makes the difference. His wealth of knowledge and the way he tells the stories and the famous lines he repeats make the this something we'll never forget.
Mescal was built in the 1960's for TV filming of Little House on the Prairie, Cimmaron, Highwayman and the Buffalo Soldiers.
Frank told us he's been there for 21 years and is the sole caretaker/tour guide of the place. Mescal is actually a part of Old Tucson. Mescal is only open a few months out of the year and then only every other weekend. Some of the other movies filmed in Mescal include Dirty Dingus McGee, Tom Horn, Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, Monte Walsh, The Hanged Man, Frisco Kid and Desperado.
I wouldn't be writing this blog if it wasn't for Larry and Debbie Ambuehl. Thanks so much for sharing your visit. We would have never known about this treasure.