Mescal, Arizona, for those of you unfamiliar with the name, was a part of Old Tucson Studios until the pandemic hit the fan. In its heyday, Mescal was known as the scene for several decent westerns, including scenes from the movie, Judge Roy Bean, Tom Horn, and Tombstone, which is shown continuously at Big Nose Kates; and also the so-so movie, The Quick and the Dead, starring a very young Leonardo DiCaprio, Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe and Gene Hackman. I am actually a closet fan of the Quick and the Dead but would not admit it to anyone. The plot was quite simple but engaging.
Several months ago, in the Late Pandemic Era, we learned that Mescal had been purchased by the Kartchner Family, to preserve Mescal for posterity and that the family purchased it to save it from permanent destruction. Yes, it is the same family who owned the Kartchner Caverns and turned it over to the State Park system, some time ago.
Since that time, Mescal has quietly and slowly opened up for tours, tourists and movies. Can’t save a town without money. The plan is to save movie-making history and perhaps start a new chapter in the western making industry. Arizona is steeped in Old West history, both factual and fantastic. In 2021, as we were getting our post covid legs back, wandering out of our shells from time to time, we kept an eye on what was happening in Mescal but did see much at first. Then one morning we attended a Southern Arizona Attractions Alliance meeting, to which we belong, and happened to sit next to the new Marketing Director for Mescal, who invited us out for a visit. The SAAA is an arm of the Tucson Visitors Center and supports some of Southern Arizona’s best attractions.
Several weeks passed, and we finally made arrangements to come out and get the full monty tour. It was an enlightening hour, full of history and stories of old movies and actors. We took some video, but nothing compares to the real thing. There were many dedicated volunteers “working” that day, much like you will also find in Tombstone, only more personal. The buildings are in different states of repair or decay, depending on how you look at it. The saloon however, serves refreshments; sarsparilla, and the like, and doubles as a gift shop. It is also the same saloon that you will see in The Quick and the Dead. If you have not seen the movie, watch it before going out to Mescal for your tour. The tour will bring it to life in the same space. Hours for Mescal are quite limited, so be sure to book in advance.
Mescal is a work in progress. It will take a lot of dedication, volunteers and “buckaroos of the dollar kind” to bring it back to its glory days. Filming is already being lined up for the future and things look hopeful for bringing movie-making back to Mescal and Arizona.
This second video is taken of a cowboy singing us a song. To see Mescal as it looked a few years ago, see our pictorial HERE.
This is a great place to bring the kids, dress them up and bring them out to the wild west.
If anyone out there is interested in volunteering to help rebuild Mescal, be sure to reach out to them. The folks that we met that day were definitely enjoying themselves, toasty though the day may have been. The overwhelming majority of them are volunteers with talent and a love of westerns. Plans for the summer, however, are still in the works. It may be a season of rebuilding, literally. There is a new, modern website that will walk you through the history and plans for the New Mescal Movie Set.
Mescal is currently open Fridays and Saturdays only. Dates and times are flexible based on prior commitments. This is a work of love, not profit. Join the fun.
Call or write:
Mescal Movie Set