Ah, the glory days of that Hollywood suburb known as Tucson! John Wayne lurching down the street with his oops-I-sat-on-the-saddlehorn walk. Barry Newman in his see-through swimsuit trying to pick up barely-legal girls at his hotel. What glamour.
But now, Old Tucson has downplayed its "famous movie location" status after a few years of playing host only to Japanese karaoke video crews.
When film crews do come through town, they're usually on their way to some cheap ghost town -- or New Mexico. Even the law firm sign from the 1970s TV show Petrocelli has long been stripped out of the window over the Indian Village gift shop on Congress.
An era has ended, as you'll see in this week's feature by T.R. Hull.
But all is not lost for movie mavens. Tucson is the home of a quickly growing film festival. It may not yet rival Sundance or Telluride--and maybe it never will--but the Arizona International Film Festival keeps us connected to a less glitzy, more edgy kind of moviemaking.
The transition makes sense. We outgrew our quaint cowtown image a long time ago, and we're gradually becoming a halfway sophisticated cultural center.
The big film crews may bypass us, but although we're no longer movie producers, we've become urbane movie consumers.