“Little Hollywood,” Kanab, Utah
More Western genre films have been shot in Kanab, Utah than in any other place, save for California. The scenic area has been used in over one-hundred movies since 1924’s Deadwood Coach. Director William Wellman dubbed the town “Little Hollywood” after being surprised by the community’s support for filmmaking.
Backstory and Context
The people of Kanab were accepting of the opportunities movie-making brought. Though the community had a Mormon background, locals opened up bars, restaurants, and other businesses to cater to their new clientele. Once, the high school even let out early when a film was in need of extras. But, the partnership between filmmakers and residents was not a one-sided interaction. Actor and singer Frank Sinatra, for example, once paid for a new swimming pool at the Parry Lodge and bought new uniforms for the high school football team. The money brought in from Hollywood also helped sustain Kanab during the Great Depression, which hit similar small, western towns especially hard.
More movies were shot in Kanab in the 1940s, as were television shows in the 1950s and 1960s. Such shows included Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, and Wagon Train. When Westerns went out of style in the 1970s, less movies were filmed in Kanab, with some exceptions, like Clint Eastwood’s The Outlaw Josey Wales. In 2001, parts of Planet of the Apes were shot in town. Later, Disney filmed scenes of John Carter (released in 2012) there.
More recently, Kanab has become a tourist destination. There is a “walk of fame” on main street with plaques dedicated to Western stars like Audie Murphy and Joel McCrea. Frontier Movie Town is made up of sets left behind from movies, such as Josey Wales, and a Kenny Loggins music video. The “Little Hollywood” Museum offers visitors a free glimpse into Kanab’s history with props and the opportunity to buy portraits of yourself in Old-West style clothes.
Virtual Docent. Little Hollywood Museum. Accessed February 14, 2018. http://www.littlehollywoodmuseum.org/virtual-docent---little-hollywood-history.html.
Free Museum, Gift Shop, Restaurant, and Photography Studio. Little Hollywood Museum. Accessed February 14, 2018. http://www.littlehollywoodmuseum.org/. Photo source.
Wolfe, Jen. Frontier Movie Town - Little Hollywood. See the Southwest. July 03, 2013. Accessed February 14, 2018. http://seethesouthwest.com/5940/frontier-movie-town-little-hollywood/.
Kanab, Utah - This is the West. The Grand Canyons Region. Accessed February 14, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20110717001549/http://www.thegrandcanyons.com/this-is-the-west.html.
Bitler, Teresa. Kanab: Utah's Little Hollywood. AAA. Accessed February 14, 2018. http://highroads.az.aaa.com/little-hollywood.
Armstrong, Stephen B.. Film treasures abound in Utah's 'Little Hollywood'. St. George News. August 04, 2014. Accessed February 14, 2018. http://stgnews.com/news/archive/2014/08/04/film-treasures-abound-in-utahs-little-hollywood/#.WnHU0udOk2w.
Little Hollywood Land in Kanab. Visit Southern Utah. Accessed February 14, 2018. http://www.visitsouthernutah.com/K-Hill-Little-Hollywood-Land-Kanab. Photo source.
Fischer, Jr., William. Joel McCrea Historical Marker. The Historical Marker Datbase. March 27, 2011. Accessed February 14, 2018. https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=41218. Photo source.