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Monday, May 2, 2022

Old Tucson Studios Has New Operator

A post in the Facebook Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Fan Group caught my attention.

It was about Old Tucson Studios outside of Tucson, Arizona and that it would be celebrating 80 years since its creation.

It has been closed down for the past two years due to the pandemic. 

But the Facebook post got me to to do some checking around and I found that a new operator has signed on to run it.

According to TucsonLocalMedia.com:

Old Tucson Studios, Tucson’s iconic movie filming location in Tucson Mountain Park, will be managed by a new operator.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on April 5 to approve American Heritage Railways as the new park operator.

Old Tucson Studios was the backdrop for multiple feature films and television shows after Columbia Pictures chose to build an 1860s replica of Tucson in 1939. Old Tucson Studios was built just before the Western movie era in the 1950s, making it the perfect location for new productions. Iconic films like Winchester 73, The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold, Arizona, Tombstone, and Three Amigos were filmed at Old Tucson Studios.

Pima County Attractions and Tourism Director Diane Frisch wrote in an email that Old Tucson Studios has hosted concerts and recreational events in the past, and “these tourism dollars are important to the region as hotels, restaurants and local attractions welcome our visitors.”

The County began looking for a new operator after the previous operator, Old Tucson Company, notified the county it would be terminating its lease due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.

One of the companies to show interest in the site was American Heritage Railways (AHR). Established in 1998, AHR has experience in the entertainment, filming, and hospitality industries. Frisch said AHR has ties with film studios that are shooting at other properties. The County wants AHR to bring those relationships to Old Tucson Studios.

American Heritage Railways operates the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in southwest Colorado.

The Old Tucson website has it listed as "temporarily closed". I will have to plan a trip there when it reopens. The plan is to reopen starting with the "Nightfall" Halloween attraction around September-October. This is certainly good news!

To read more, go here.

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