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With film making tracing back to 1925, Red Rock Canyon has been host to hundreds of Hollywood personalities, and dozens of prominent stars and directors. Red Rock was a favorite of location scouts for most of those years, and as such was used fairly regularly when desert sites were called for. RRC's particular mix of color, drama, and accessibility made it a favorite of quite a few directors who came repeatedly--the well-known as well as the obscure. Acclaimed directors William Wyler and Michael Curtiz each made two films there, and others such as William Witney and Ray Taylor also produced exciting fare. Taylor in particular, who made three films at RRC, seemed to have found the 'Land of the Dead' section of Hagen Canyon especially enthralling since all his known RRC films include scenes photographed in this small gulch.

Actors John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Randolph Scott, Buster Crabbe, Charlton Heston, Charles Bickford, Audie Murphy, and Gene Autry came numerous times during their careers. And other performers who made personal appearances at RRC over the years include Boris Karloff, Ronald Reagan, James Coburn, Lon Chaney Jr, Glenn Ford, Victor Mature, Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Gabby Hayes, Jean Simmons, Linda Darnell, Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, William Boyd, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Adam Sandler.

A partial list of Canyon films with some of the personalities involved (* indicates that one or more photographs from the film appear in the Field Guide):

  • Gene Autry in The Singing Hills* (1941)
  • Gene Autry in The Big Sombrero* (1948)
  • Walter Brennan in Three Godfathers* (1936)
  • Hopalong Cassidy in Texas Trail* (1937)
  • James Coburn in Waterhole #3* (1967)
  • Gary Cooper in Man of the West* (1958)
  • Jackie Cooper in Divorce in the Family* (1932)
  • Courtney Cox in Blue Desert (1991)
  • Buster Crabbe in Buck Rogers* (1939)
  • Buster Crabbe in Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940)
  • writer/director Michael Crichton's Westworld* (1973)
  • director Michael Curtiz's The Egyptian* (1954)
  • Charlton Heston in Beneath the Planet of the Apes(1969)
  • director Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur (1942)
  • Ron Howard's Through the Magic Pyramid/Tut and Tuttle (1981)
  • producer/director Howard Hughes' The Outlaw (1943)
  • Boris Karloff in The Mummy* (1933)
  • Audie Murphy in Apache Rifles* (1964)
  • Audie Murphy in Tumbleweed* (1951)
  • Audie Murphy in 40 Guns to Apache Pass (1967)
  • Audie Murphy in Drums Across the River (1955)
  • Ronald Reagan in Law and Order* (1953)
  • Roy Rogers in Wall Street Cowboy (1939)
  • Roy Rogers in Colorado (1940)
  • Roy Rogers in Young Buffalo Bill (1940)
  • Adam Sandler in Bulletproof (1996)
  • Randolph Scott in Heritage of the Desert (1933)
  • Randolph Scott in The Bounty Hunter (1954)
  • Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in Four for Texas* (1963)
  • Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park (1993)
  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas in I'll Be Home for Christmas (1998)
  • Spencer Tracy in Quick Millions (1931)
  • John Wayne in Hit the Saddle* (1938)
  • John Wayne in Pals of the Saddle* (1938)
  • director William Wyler's Hell's Heroes (1930)
  • director William Wyler's The Big Country* (1958) with Gregory Peck

And there's more! This vintage postcard from the 1930s shows a popular area for filming at RRC. Read about it in A Field Guide to Motion Picture Locations at Red Rock Canyon from Canyon Two Publications. Actual filming sites for many of these motion pictures are included in the book using five trail maps, and 'easy' (I hope) to follow descriptions. There are more than 100 illustrations (mostly film scene photographs) scattered throughout the text to assist in finding locations, and in making your own then-and-now comparisons.

Some of the famous as seen in the Field Guide:

Max Terhune, John Wayne and Ray Corrigan in Pals of the Saddle. Note the studio bus, barely glimpsed, at the lower right. John Wayne made three films on location at RRC and appears in a fourth, Stagecoach, which featured second-unit rear-projected shots of the Canyon.

Gary Cooper and Lee J. Cobb in eastern Hagen Canyon for Man of the West (1958).

And a rare color photograph (not reproduced in the Field Guide) of Gregory Peck in The Big Country (1958). This was taken, as was so much of the film, in the Hagen Canyon area of RRC. This is an extremely popular area for Hollywood films made in the Mojave Desert. In fact, Peck is standing at the site where, more than twenty years before, the queen's burial was staged in The Mummy (1933). See page 45 in the Field Guide.

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Created by Eric Forkrud