Little Hollywood in Kanab, Utah

Updated on August 31, 2017

Kanab and Surroundings

Kanab is just an Indian word, which means the place of the willows. In this picture, Kanab is viewed from the red rock cliffs that border the north side of town.
Kanab is just an Indian word, which means the place of the willows. In this picture, Kanab is viewed from the red rock cliffs that border the north side of town.

Kanab

Before Hollywood arrived, Kanab, Utah was a sleepy little ranching community, located in the high deserts of southern Utah. The town got its big break when Hollywood decided to film part of the 20s classic Deadwood Gulch in the vicinity. The movie starred Tom Mix along with Tony the Wonder Horse. The success of this movie helped lay the groundwork for a long list of classic movies and TV shows that lasted through the sixties. Over the years, Kanab was host to such popular television productions such as Gunsmoke, Death Valley Days, Lassie, and The Lone Ranger. And as far as the silver screen goes, Wagon Train, Drums Along the Mohawk, Planet of the Apes (both versions), Arabian Nights, and My Friend Flicka were all filmed in or around Kanab, along with many other movies.

Parry's Lodge

During the movie heydays, Parry's was place to stay, photo by author
During the movie heydays, Parry's was place to stay, photo by author

Parry's Lodge

Since the heyday of western film making, Parry's Lodge, which is centrally located in the western town of Kanab, has often been the center of activity, for all those involved in the industry. The number one claim to fame has been its stellar reputation as the place to stay, whenever a film crew was in town.

Parry's Lodge was built in 1931 by the Parry brothers to specifically accommodate Hollywood personnel, when they were staying in Kanab for a film shoot. Since the place opened its doors it's list of guests reads like a Who's Who of major performers on the silver screen. Ronald Reagan, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Lana Turner, Jane Russell and Olivia de Havilland are just a few of the big names who have slept under the Parry Lodge roof. Without the promotional activities of the Parry brothers, the small Utah community of Kanab, would only be a tiny footnote in the history of American cinema.

But Parry Lodge was important in another way; in that it was occasionally used as a shooting location for scenes that required an indoor setting. Of particular note is the film, Girl In Black Stockings, which was a 50s Who-dunnit, where much of the movie action took place right in the lodge.


Dale Evans Remembered

The town of Kanab is filled with memorable plaques like this one about Dale Evans
The town of Kanab is filled with memorable plaques like this one about Dale Evans

A Free Walking Tour

One of the most interesting things about Kanab is all the plaques that are on permanent display along the main street. For the most part these information boards provide the interested viewer with a picture of the actor or actress, along with a list of Kanab films that he or she starred in. The list of movie stars that came to Kanab is quite impressive for it includes the likes of John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Dale Evans (pictured above), Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood, Ronald Reagan and much more. Even a few of the animal celebrities such as Rin Tin Tin, Lassie and Tony the Wonder Horse receive a brief mention.

The Rat Pack Once filmed a Western in Kanab

This adobe building sits right in the heart of Kanab, photo by author
This adobe building sits right in the heart of Kanab, photo by author

A Few things To Do

Movie buffs will definitely enjoy a visit to the Little Hollywood Museum, where there is an actual Hollywood set, located out back that is kept in pretty good order. Several adobe buildings that were used in the Rat Pack western, No Time For Sargeants, are also there for the viewing, along with a few buildings from the popular 70s movie, The Outlaw Josey Wales.

However, for people who like to get outdoors, the exploration does not stop here, for throughout Kane County, there are many sites that once hosted a movie shoot. Of special interest are Johnson and Paria Canyons. These places can be found by driving south on highway 89 towards Page, AZ. They are located east of the highway, and for someone with a good eye that might recognized the red rock hills from various movies and TV shows.

The Duke

John Wayne is immortalized on the exterior of the Kane County Visitors Center
John Wayne is immortalized on the exterior of the Kane County Visitors Center

Little Hollywood Shootout

Every spring since 2011, Kanab has sponsored an unusual film competition for independent filmmakers, film buffs and moviemaking students. The event is called The Little Hollywood Shootout. Contestants can compete in two categories, Indy Pro and Excel. Contestants are given just over two days to write, cast, shoot and edit a five minute film using Kanab, Utah as the backdrop. After viewing all submissions, awards are given to the top entries.

Little Hollywood History

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