Kanab, Utah. Little Hollywood Revisited

Posted on October 31, 2015

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downloadOn our way to Arizona we passed through Knab, Utah, a place we visited and enjoyed last winter.

Kanab, you’ll remember if you read last year’s post, was once known as Little Hollywood.  Back in the heyday of the shoot ‘em up cowboy Western movie, Kanab was a favorite filming location.

Tom Mix took his friend Zane Grey’s advice to come to southern Utah to film Deadwood Coach in 1924. His production company hired the three Parry brothers to haul the cast and crew and all their equipment from one location to another as the script required.

This worked out very well financially for the Parrys, so they began a campaign to encourage other movie companies to check out southern Utah.  Obviously, the film stars and their retinue needed a place to stay, so the Parrys purchased a large colonial-style home in 1931, and turned it into a tourist lodge and restaurant.

IMG_2347

One o the photos covering the walls of the lobby of Parry Lodge.

Over the next five decades Parry Lodge would serve as headquarters for hundreds of feature films and television shows – mostly Westerns – made in and around Kanab.

From the 1930’s to the 1970’s everyone in Kanab was in the movie business.

Extras needed? Townspeople were eager to double for Dean Martin or Rhonda Fleming, or dress up like cowboys and Indians to defend a fort. Sometimes the high school even let out because additional extras were needed.

IMG_2350However, things are a little different today,

The Little Hollywood days are long gone, but the town and the lodge seem firmly rooted in the past . I would imagine the main appeal of Kanab today is its proximity to the northern rim of the Grand Canyon, not the fact that Frank Sinatra once ate, drank and slept here.

However, we dediced last winter if we ever passed through Kanab again we’d stay at the Lodge and add another historic hotel/motel to our collection, so we did.

IMG_2348The units are all named after the stars who once stayed at Parry Lodge – we were in the Barbara Stanwyck room, though who knows if that was where she actually slept.

I DO know little has been done to the facilities since Barb’s time, and though the lobby is covered with pictures of the many Hollywood stars who stayed there, I wonder if that have much meaning for travelers today.

Other than true old movie aficionados, the ranks of those who remember watching Tyrone Power, Anne Bancroft and Robert Taylor tame the West are rapidly thinning.  I suspect younger travelers are looking for a little luxury and plenty of plug-ins for their devices, not a night of memories of Old Blue Eyes.

Hence, the start of construction of a Hampton Inn down the street.  The Lodge however, appears to be making a little effort to update  – they’ve applied for a liquor license for their restaurant, quite a daring thing to do in Mormon Utah.

The rat pack remake of Gunda Din, entitled Sergeants 3, was filmed in and around Kanab.

The rat pack remake of Gunda Din, entitled Sergeants 3, was filmed in and around Kanab in 1962.

If we visit Kanab again, I suspect we’ll check out the new Hampton.  We love the history of Parry Lodge, but we also like to be able to charge all our stuff.

And a little luxury never hurts either.

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Posted in: Travel - Utah