Two weeks ago, I took my Dad to Old Tucson Studios, in Avra Valley on the other side of Gates Pass from the city of Tucson itself. Built in 1938 for the movie Arizona starring William Holden and Jean Arthur, it's sort of a combination of shooting location and theme park. Stars from John Wayne to Steve Martin have films movies there. The High Chaparral was principally filmed at Old Tucson, along with lots of other tv episode and even bank commercials. I've visited Old Tucson at least half a dozen times since we got here in 1986, but not often in recent years since an arson fire gutted a large chunk of it. But they've managed to rebuild and keep the place going, and I'm very glad of that!
For the past 23 years, Old Tucson has had a second life after dark at this time of year. Nightfall is promoted as "one real haunted town!" I've never yet made it down there for Nightfall, but even in the daytime there were traces of the spooky effects to come:
The best in the window is one of those "eyes that follow you" FX, like the busts at the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. The skeleton is, well, a skeleton. But having witnessed a shootout at the end of Old Tucson's daytime programming, I couldn't help making a connection between the seated skeleton and the loser of the gunfight, gallantly helped onto a chair. A little photo editing, and presto!
Speaking of Disneyland, though, I actually have more spooky material to work with from my Disneyland trip back in May than from the October Old Tucson visit. After all, the Haunted Mansion is one of my very favorite attractions!
At Old Tucson there was a stage show in the Grand Saloon, with a middle-aged chanteuse wrangling three singing and dancing ingenues. There's the chanteuse, but who is that behind her?
Aww, what the heck. One more. Below is the old courthouse in Tombstone, Arizona, the site of more than one hanging. If any place ought to be haunted, this seems like a good candidate. Or maybe the camera was picking up flares from the sun overhead. Yeah, that's it.
Or maybe there are ghosts there after all!
Now let's see the other Robins' Spooky Effects!
as of Saturday, October 19th, 2013
1:23 AM MST
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