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Kanab, Utah

Kanab's Film Heritage

Cowboys Skit
What do the films "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", "How the West Was Won", "Mackenna's Gold", "The Outlaw Josie Wales", and one of my favorites as a kid "The Apple Dumpling Gang" have in common? All right, you already knew the answer was going to be Kanab, Utah! Kanab was a hub of filmmaking activity during the golden era of Western films in the 1940's and 50's.

Jeffrey and friend enter Movietown

Famous author Zane Grey wrote his first successful books here and this attracted a film production crew to Kanab in 1922. Meanwhile, blight had struck the grasslands making cattle unprofitable. The town of Kanab was dying.
The Parry brothers who had helped make the film decided to market the town to Hollywood and shot photos by plane and on horseback of every conceivable shooting location.

1. Guess how many films have been made in Kanab (23, 40, 67, Over 90)?

Hollywood bit on the idea, and movie making became a huge boom for the town. Townspeople did everything from drive trucks to act in bit parts and made in a day what their other jobs paid in a week. This income allowed townspeople to pay grocery bills and taxes sometimes years past due. For the first time, every youngster was able to afford to go to school.

Tee Pee used in western fims.

2. What acting role did the town barber play in films?

"It's a little Hollywood all on its own," said director William Wellman, "Every beard and blonde is catalogued in a casting directory for the convenience of visiting movie makers." Another director commented, "Any place else, we have to start from scratch. Here we don't. The people, the stock, everything we need - all are trained and ready."

3.Can you name three actors from films made here?

Answers are below.


Film clapboard in Western film

1. Kanab has been the site of over 92 feature length films as well as several hundred TV shows. Besides the scenery which hasn't changed much since most of it is protected in the form of National and State Parks and Monuments, the Lone Ranger's perch still sits in Kanab Canyon and the Gunsmoke sets as well as other sets are still lovingly maintained by the people of Kanab.

2. Lew Applegate, the town barber, doubled in brass as an actor. He was a natural! City Council Members worked as horse wranglers. Mayor Verne Lindquist chauffeured movie directors. The Sheriff George Swapp doubled on screen as a camp cook. Bishops from the Mormon church even suspended their duties to work as cowboys, stunt riders, or even Indians!

3. If you didn't get at least three of these actors names, you should go out and rent some of the classic westerns and watch them! John Wayne, Loretta Young, Henry Fonda, Barbara Stanwyck, Anthony Quinn, Maureeen O'Hara, Don Ameche, Linda Darnell, John Carradine, Russell Simpson, Chief Thundercloud, Burl Ives, Audie Murphy, Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster, Katharine Hepburn, Lloyd Bridges, Anne Bancroft, Ernest Borgnine, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Shelley Winters, Telly Savalas, James Garner, Jack Nicholson, George Hamilton, George Peppard, James (Jimmy) Stewart, Raquel Welch, Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif, Burt Reynolds, Jodie Foster, Clint Eastwood, Tim Conway, Don Knotts, Richard Burton, Dennis Weaver, Roy Rogers, Ronald Reagan, and many many more!

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