Mescal Movie Set gets boost in efforts to revive filmmaking in Cochise County

Site of the Gunfight at the OK Corral scene in the film Tombstone
Posted at 2:34 PM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 17:34:21-04

MESCAL. ARIZ. (KGUN) — Earlier this month KGUN 9 got an exclusive look at the now shuttered Mescal Movie Set.

Old Tucson's sister property is now getting a makeover in hopes of again attracting movie makers.

Now, Mescal gets a big boost from a big name in the film industry.

"Something's got to happen," said Carolyn Shelton, widow of Old Tucson founder Bob Shelton. "We got to get that industry back here. We've got to get people working again."

Bob Shelton was a longtime advocate for the film industry in the Tucson area. He once saved the Mescal Movie Set in Cochise County.

It was built for the 1970 movie Monte Walsh.

"It was to be torn down," recalled Carolyn Shelton. "That was the thing with the movie places. You tear it down. Bob found out about it, I'll do it. Got the lease for a buck and then he built the rest of Mescal."

Carolyn Shelton recently found some of the original blueprints for the buildings in the western movie town.

Mescal Movie Set blueprints

More than 80 movies and TV shows were produced at Mescal.

Bob Shelton retired in the early 1990s, but always kept an eye on Mescal.

Before his death in 2016, he had plans to revive the old western town on the east side of the Rincon Mountains.

"Bob and I took a ride out about five or six years ago," Carolyn said. "It was in bad shape then. He said 'We got to, again, we got to get the industry back.' Now to see in the video the other night, it's like oh yeah it's really grown over."

She is referring to the KGUN 9 video of the Mescal Movie Set in bad shape.

Mescal Movie Set in Mescal, Ariz.

The Kartchner family, of Karcthner Caverns, along with many volunteers, have begun to restore the iconic town.

Carolyn Shelton has taken notice and has thrown her support behind their efforts.

"It's just like a shot in the arm," said Carolyn. "I think they really will want to make it happen. It will happen. I'm a positive person. I'm the cockeyed optimist, it's going to happen."

They are still asking for help with efforts to revive Mescal Movie Set. You can volunteer to help with cleanup and construction through their Facebook page.

Pat Parris is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. He is a graduate of Sabino High School where he was the 1982 high school state track champion in the 800 meters. While in high school and college, he worked part-time in the KGUN 9 newsroom. Share your story ideas and important issues with Pat by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.