Sunday, July 8, 2018

June 2018 - Mike and Magda Miley visit. Tombstone and Gammons Gulch, AZ

On June 8-11 we were able to visit with our friends Mike and Magda Miley (from Florida) who we originally met at the Southern Hills RV Park & Campground in Hermosa, SD last year (June 27 - July 26, 2017). They were driving through on their way to California, but stopped in at our Arizona Legends RV Park for 3 days to visit. We managed to get them a great rate for a lay-over visit... just $5/night with full hookup (a benefit for residents to be able to have their friends visit). They arrived on a Friday and left o Monday, and during that time we were able to visit, check out their new luxury 5th wheel (a new 40 ft. Keystone Montana High Country 381TH). Mike and Magda love to ride their big motorcycle so this fiver was perfect for them as it is a toy hauler without sacrificing the wasted space of traditional toy haulers occupying 25%-30% of the trailer for the cargo. This one, below the Queen bed (believe it or not) has a small (but large enough for a Golf Cart or a Gold Wing MC) garage. Inside, the bed lifts up to allow the driver to drive it in, secure it and then exit the 'garage'; then the bed goes back down to its regular position. In back a 59" wide ramp is a breeze to lower and raise, so much so that Magda did it all by herself. It's a beautiful rig, so anyone needing livability plus needing garage space to take a golf cart or large motorcycle the size of a Gold Wing and such, you will want to consider the 40 ft. Keystone Montana High Country 381TH.

On Friday we stayed at the campground visiting and catching up as, though we stay in touch via Facebook, texts and such, we had not seen each other since our stay at Southern Hills RV Park & Campground in Hermosa, SD at this same time last year. Mary had prepared a Shepherd's Pie for dinner so they wouldn't have to worry about cooking, while having to set their rig up when they got in, as we were not sure at what time they would arrive.

The next day, on Saturday, they said they wanted to go to Tombstone, which is about 25 miles from here, so we drove over there. There we walked through the town, took in the Gunfight at the OK Corral show, and had lunch at Big Nose Kate's Saloon.

Famous Big Nose Kate's Saloon

Magda, Mary and Mike in the background

Magda and Mike Miley
This was the men's bathroom with beer kegs converted to urinals.
You think they really recycle it?

Visiting Tombstone Consolidated Mines Company's Good Enough Silver Mine.
It is one of the 25 active working silver mines in the Tombstone Mining District.

One of the elevators to raise the rocks containing different metals, quartz, copper, sulfides and other metals. In the heyday of silver mining (founded 1877) rocks containing signs of silver content are exploded below ground and the rock chunks are placed in rail cars (as pictured below) rolled to the elevators and brought up to the surface that way.

Here is a "Crib" (not the baby kind) from 1880. It was popular to have buildings that looked like outhouses but were actually the place of business for the local prostitutes. All there was room for in it was a bed (see below), but considering what it was for, is anything else really needed? A hook perhaps to hang up one's clothes? Hey, maybe that's where "Hooker" comes from? LOL!!  During this period, Prostitution was legal in Arizona.

This was the tallest cavern in the mine, but in the late 1800's and early 1900's there was no lighting. The miners often worked by candlelight. And even today some tunnels from one room to another are barely 5' tall.

The mounted Arizona Rangers (usually retired volunteer
law enforcement officers, though mostly for tourism.)

Actors of the Tombstone famous show of Gunfight at the O. K. Corral.  The good guys in Black and the bad guys wearing traditional cowboy clothes. 

When she was young-ER (in childhood), Magda had lived in Bisbee AZ (23 miles South of Tombstone) and her father had been stationed at Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista (also about 23 miles SW of Tombstone), so on the way back we took them to Fort Huachuca to see how its changed. That evening we were all pretty tired from all our walking so we took the night off. On Sunday we opted to go check out the Gammons Gulch movie set, where many scenes of western movies have been filmed. This place is in a very remote part of the desert outside of the city limits of Benson, but it was worth the trip out there. It was founded by Jay and Joanne Gammons in the early 1970s, who got into the movie set and security business by means of his father.

Originally from Woonsocket RI. His parents owned a Guest Ranch there, but due to the ill health of his mother, they were forced to relocate West and settled in Tombstone, Arizona. There his father did odd jobs until he was hired as the Chief of Police in Tombstone (1954-56). Then moved to Tucson where we served as a Range Deputy of Pima County, and as a consequence of that job he would also do Security for the actors and sets when many movies (not all westerns) were filmed at the then popular (now famous and also a theme park) 'Old Tucson Studios' originally built in 1939 and later restored in 1959-60. Many classic movies were filmed there (not all Westerns) such as:
  • 1940: Arizona
  • 1945: The Bells of St. Mary's
  • 1947: The Last Round-up
  • 1950: Winchester '73
  • 1950: Broken Arrow
  • 1951: The Last Outpost
  • 1955: Strange Lady in Town
  • 1955: Ten Wanted Men
  • 1955: The Violent Men
  • 1956: The Broken Star
  • 1956: Walk the Proud Land
  • 1957: 3:10 to Yuma
  • 1957: Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
  • 1957: The Guns of Fort Petticoat
  • 1957: Carbine Webb and the Four Sisters
  • 1957: Tale of Consequence
  • 1958: Buchanan Rides Alone
  • 1958: The Badlanders
  • 1958: Gunsmoke in Tucson
  • 1958: The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold
  • 1959: Last Train from Gun Hill
  • 1959: Rio Bravo
  • 1959: The Hangman
  • 1960: Cimarron
  • 1960: Heller in Pink Tights
  • 1961: The Deadly Companions
  • 1961: Sounds of Arizona
  • 1961: A Thunder of Drums
  • 1962: Young Guns of Texas
  • 1963: McLintock!
  • 1963: Lilies of the Field
  • 1964: The Outrage
  • 1965: Arizona Raiders
  • 1965: The Great Sioux Massacre
  • 1965: The Reward
  • 1966: El Dorado
  • 1966: Johnny Tiger
  • 1966: Pistolero
  • 1967: Hombre
  • 1967: Return of the Gunfighter
  • 1967: The Last Challenge
  • 1967: The Way West
  • 1967: A Time for Killing
  • 1967: The Long Ride Home
  • 1967: Rango
  • 1968: The Mini-Skirt Mob
  • 1969: Heaven with a Gun
  • 1969: Lonesome Cowboys
  • 1969: Young Billy Young
  • 1969: Again a Love Story
  • 1969: The Mountain Men
  • 1969: Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice
  • 1970: Dirty Dingus Magee
  • 1970: C.C. & Company
  • 1970: Monte Walsh
  • 1970: Rio Lobo
  • 1971: Wild Rovers
  • 1971: The Animals
  • 1971: Ballad of the Old West
  • 1971: Bearcats
  • 1971: Dirty Little Billy
  • 1971: Forgotten Man
  • 1971: Gunfight at the OK Corral
  • 1971: Moments of Destiny - The OK Corral
  • 1971: Scandalous John
  • 1971: Showdown at the O.K Corral
  • 1971: A Ton of Grass Goes to Pot
  • 1971: The Wild Rovers
  • 1971: Yuma
  • 1971: Death of a Gunfighter
  • 1972: Joe Kidd
  • 1972: Moonfire
  • 1972: Rage
  • 1972: Night of the Lepus
  • 1972: Pocket Money
  • 1972: The Legend of Nigger Charley
  • 1972: The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
  • 1973: Guns of a Stranger
  • 1973: Boomtown Band and Cattle Company
  • 1973: The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing
  • 1973: Outlaw Legacy
  • 1974: Death Wish
  • 1974: A Knife for the Ladies
  • 1974: The Trial of Billy Jack
  • 1974: Abduction of St. Anne
  • 1974: Backtrack
  • 1974: The Gun and the Pulpit
  • 1974: The Hanged Man
  • 1974: Mark of Zorro
  • 1974: Pray for the Wildcats
  • 1974: Wish You Were Here
  • 1975: Posse
  • 1975: Go USA
  • 1975: Katherine
  • 1976: Hawmps!
  • 1976: The Last Hard Men
  • 1976: The Lizard
  • 1976: The Quest
  • 1976: Royce
  • 1976: A Star is Born
  • 1976: Tales of Nunundaga
  • 1976: Wanted: The Sundance Woman
  • 1976: The Outlaw Josey Wales
  • 1977: Another Man, Another Woman
  • 1977: Harlem Globetrotters
  • 1977: The Incredible Rocky Mountain Race
  • 1977: Stones
  • 1978: The American Cowboy
  • 1978: Wild and Wooly
  • 1978: Go West Young Girl
  • 1978: The Sacketts
  • 1979: The Villain
  • 1979: Authentic Life of Billy the Kid
  • 1979: Buffalo Soldiers
  • 1979: The Dooley Brothers
  • 1979: Frisco Kid
  • 1979: Hunter's Moon
  • 1979: Japanese Quiz Show
  • 1979: Wild Wild West Revisited
  • 1980: Tom Horn
  • 1980: Death Valley
  • 1980: High Noon part II: The Return of Will Kane
  • 1980: More Wild, Wild West
  • 1980: That's Incredible: Lost Dog
  • 1981: Father Murphy
  • 1981: The Cannonball Run
  • 1980: American Frontier
  • 1980: Ransom of Red Chief
  • 1983: Calamity Jane
  • 1983: Cannon Ball Run Part II
  • 1983: I Married Wyatt Earp
  • 1983: September Gun
  • 1983: The Reflection Natas
  • 1984: The Assumption
  • 1984: Flashpoint
  • 1984: Little Arliss
  • 1984: Revenge of the Nerds
  • 1985: The Ascension
  • 1985: Centurion Odyssey
  • 1985: Cowboy Up
  • 1985: Dream West
  • 1985: Go West-Sing West
  • 1985: Jackals
  • 1985: Le Grand Rallye
  • 1986: Buckeye and Blue
  • 1986: Here a Thief, There a Thief
  • 1986: It's the Girl in the Red Truck
  • 1986: Three Amigos
  • 1986: Stagecoach (TV movie)
  • 1987: Desperado #1
  • 1987: Desperado #2
  • 1987: Nobody Likes It Hot
  • 1987: Poker Alice
  • 1987: Walker
  • 1987: The Quick and the Dead (TV movie)
  • 1988: Ghost Town
  • 1988: Once Upon a Texas Train
  • 1988: Red River
  • 1988: Return of the Desperado
  • 1988: South of Reno
  • 1988: Stones for Ibarra
  • 1989: Desperado Badland Justice
  • 1989: El Diablo
  • 1989: Laughing Dead
  • 1989: Law at Randado
  • 1989: Third Degree Burn
  • 1989: Gore Vidal's Billy the Kid
  • 1990: Young Guns II
  • 1990: The Highwaymen
  • 1990: Two Fisted Tales
  • 1990: The Legend of Grizzly Adams
  • 1991: Four Eyes and Six Guns
  • 1991: Gunsmoke III: To the Last Man
  • 1991: Kid
  • 1992: California Dreaming
  • 1992: Ghosts of Ruby
  • 1992: Legends of the West
  • 1992: Newton's Apple
  • 1992: Showdown
  • 1992: Stay Tuned
  • 1993: Nemesis (filmed scenes in 1992)
  • 1993: Tombstone
  • 1993: Geronimo
  • 1993: Gunsmoke V: One Man's Justice
  • 1993: Horse Opera
  • 1993: Marshal Charley
  • 1993: Music of the West
  • 1993: Posse
  • 1994: The Last Bounty Hunter
  • 1994: The West
  • 1994: Terminal Velocity
  • 1994: Lightning Jack
  • 1995: Hard Bounty
  • 1995: The Quick and the Dead
  • 1995: Legend
  • 1995: Timemaster
  • 1995: Under the Hula Moon
  • 1997: Buffalo Soldiers
  • 1997: Los Locos
  • 2000: South of Heaven, West of Hell
  • 2002: Legend of the Phantom Rider
  • 2003: Ghost Rock
  • 2003: Gunfight at the OK Corral
  • 2004: Treasure of the Seven Mummies
  • 2005: Miracle at Sage Creek
  • 2005: Cutoff
  • 2005: Dual
  • 2005: Ghost Town
  • 2005: Wild West Tech - Gang Technology
  • 2006: The Dead Evil Seven Mummies
  • 2006: Wild and the West
  • 2007: Legend of Pearl Hart
  • 2007: The Wild West
  • 2008: Mad, Mad Wagon Party
  • 2011: To Kill a Memory
  • 2013: Hot Bath an’ a Stiff Drink

  • Anyway, as a consequence of being a Range Deputy and doing security work for the Old Tucson Studios, Jay's father got to know many of the actors and became friends with them, and even did personal security for them while there filming. Jay was a young guy still in school at the time, but as a consequence of his father's work and association with these famous movie actors and stars, he also got to know and become friends with them
    and the movie directors and producers, and in some movies, like "Rio Bravo", "McClintock", "El Dorado" and others young Jay even got a part (as an extra). Later in his late teens, he would assist his father as a body guard for stars, including Ava Gardner. So over the years of his growing up he has amassed a wealth of knowledge of the movie business and built a personal knowledge of the different actors and stars of the silver screen.

    These experiences, coupled with his love for the Old West, stirred Jay's interest in film production and prompted him to dream of owning and operating his own movie location set. In mid 1970s while exploring the high desert country of Cochise County (near where Cochise himself had his stronghold) Jay found a 10-acre parcel of land  which seemed perfect to develop a movie set that would give the directors what they seemed to be missing in the then growing Tucson... a wild landscape synonymous of the Old West. So he purchased it and began to build the set one building at a time. He spent many years constructing it and traveling all over the country collecting old items for the buildings and 'ghost' town he was building. By 1992, when he met his wife Joanne, with the help of friends and donations of old western artifacts, Jay had built quite an impressive town which started to be used occasionally for movie productions, sometimes entirely on location and sometimes for isolated scenes for other movies being filmed at the Old Tucson Studios, requiring a more unspoiled location.

    Today, Gammons' Gulch is also a museum of the Old West, and given its remote location is available to visit by appointments only. However, it is well worth the visit. Jay Gammons is a wealth of information and has countless stories about the Old West and moviemaking in Arizona, plus first hand experiences with dozens of actors and actresses, to tell you what  they are like when a film camera is not pointed at them (i.e. when they are not 'working'). And then there are all his jokes and sense of humor.  All in all it was a fantastic day outing close to home, which we may not have gotten to see had it not been to take our friends Mike and Magda. Now it is on our list of favorite places to take friends to.


    That evening we had dinner with Mike and Magda in their new fiver and the next morning they continued their travels westbound.


    Since they left we have been shopping for floor and shower tiles, appliances, lamps, fans, etc. for the casita, and waiting for the plans to be finished by the draftsman; then getting the plans approved by the City of Benson.

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