Saturday, December 30, 2017

Apache Movie Set, December 1960

Both of today's slides were mixed in with a large lot of random stuff; they are date-stamped "December, 1960", and are hand-labeled "Apache Movie Set". What in the world could that be? At first I thought it might be "Apache Junction" in Arizona, but recent photos show buildings that are much more dilapidated than these tidy examples. After a few more dead-ends, I discovered that the photos show "Apacheland" (Arizona). According to the "" website:

Apacheland Movie Ranch was about 40 miles east of Phoenix near what is now Gold Canyon. It was built in 1959 by Nat Winecoff, who had worked for Walt Disney in designing Disneyland.

As a studio, Apacheland specialized in B Western movies and TV shows. Some people will tell you that John Wayne filmed movies there, but that apparently is not true. Actors who filmed there include Nicholson, Steve McQueen, Richard Boone, Jason Robards, Stella Stevens and Elvis Presley.

Very cool that there is at least a slight Disney connection!

Much to my surprise, photos of Apacheland are hard to come by; but there are some vintage postcards on eBay:

Here's my second slide scan. As is often the case, the saloon is the most popular spot in town. Notice the loudspeaker above the porch roof - I wonder if it played old cowboy songs, such as "Tumbling Tumbleweeds"? Or perhaps it was just a muted soundtrack of harmonica and gee-tar.

More from Apacheland opened in 1960 as an 1,800-acre movie set and operated as such for many years. "Have Gun — Will Travel" and "Death Valley Days" are among the productions filmed there. A fire May 25, 1969 destroyed most of the buildings. The sets were rebuilt and filming resumed. A fire Feb. 14, 2004, consumed the property again, and that was the end of its movie-set days.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Apacheland!


Nanook said...


Very nice. I like the little kid staring, virtually eye-to-eye with that miniature horse. Perhaps there was some sort of mental telepathy thing going on.

Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

Gorgeous, sunny pictures for a winter's day. Hey, kid, head over to Newman's and give that lonely burro some company!

Chuck said...

"This town ain't big enough for the two of us, I'm leavin' with Maw & Paw as soon as they get out of th' saloon. Adios, Pardner!"

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I believe that kids DO have telepathic connections to animals. Dogs, and ponies/mules/burros/donkeys, especially.

Melissa, yes, that burro needs some noogies.

Chuck, it really looks like the kid wants to have a conversation with that critter. Is it a miniature horse? I can’t tell.

Melissa said...

I just noticed the Fiddler and guitar player on the porch. I wonder if they're miked into the speaker.

JG said...

Interesting post. I have never heard of this place.

We did visit Old Tucson, I forget the shows that were filmed there, but there was one particular one that my Dad liked enough to go out of the way to visit those sets.