MY home town of Moab, Utah, is my passion and my niche.
When I was growing up, Moab was a small Mormon town of 920. I remember the population sign along the way into town, well.
Moab has since been discovered by the tourists and the mountain bikers, and it has more than trippled in size of population; with the population during the tourist season being much larger.
My grandparents on both sides were pioneers into Moab Valley. No, they were not LDS pioneers, but they were diligent, hard working people who saw opportunities in the town.
The Clark family came to Moab from Colorado, originally to mine gold in Miner’s Basin. Grandfather Clark eventually became an owner of the Ides Theater and a part owner of Moab Transportation. He was also a large property owner.
And the Kirks??? The Kirks were always cowboys, cowboys. And where else better to be a cowboy than Grand and San Juan Counties in Utah.? They did it well. A little rustling may have been done by the older generation, but who knows for sure?
My Father, Buck Kirk, was a cowboy in the best sense of the word. He was never seen without his boots and his Stetson hat. He only listened to classic country music, and he was an active member of the National Cattlemen’s Association.
Hand in hand with his chosen profession as a Cattleman, he became a landowner. At one time he owned extensive property along the Colorado River, and this land became a favorite with the moviemakers of Hollywood.
We were quite often guests on the movie location, and at the same table were seen, John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Victor Maclagen, and famous musicians like The Sons of the Pioneers, and Stan Jones, the writer of “Ghost Riders in the Sky”.
It was the practice of the movie makers fo use locals for extras.We local residents also rented our horses to the movies, and my Dad’s pinto was usually seen being ridden by the Indian Chief.
The movie I best remember being filmed in Moab, is “Rio Grande”. It is the most beautiful, sensual movie that I believe has ever been made. The feelings between John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara are so erotic and full of passion, it must be seen to be believed. And this was made while they were fully clothed and without touching. If you are into movies, this one is a masterpiece. The director was, of course, John Ford.
Rio Grande was one of the first movies made in Moab, but it was not the FIRST. “Wagonmaster” starring Ward Bond was the first. Wagonmaster was also a great movie, and it depicted the trials of a Mormon caravan on its way out West.
There were many more movies made in Moab through the years, and they are still being made there. One of the most notable was “Thelma and Louise”. The suicide scene at the end of the movie, was not filmed at the Grand Canyon. It was filmed at Dead Horse Point, near Moab. Of course, dummies were used, and I understand they did 2 takes. Most of the moviemaking scene in Moab, has now given way more to commercials and videos.
How many of you over 30 remember the Chevrolet on top of Castle Rock? It was a stripped down Chevrolet, in order for a helicopter to place it up there. It was a beautiful and unforgettable comercial, and I have been a Chevrolet buyer and driver ever since.
The following is a list of movies made or partially made in Moab: This list is taken from a You Tube playlist montage and I found it on a Moab Adventure Center site:
MOAB MOVIE HISTORY
1989 Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade
1990 Thelma and Louise
1993 City Slickers II
1996 Con Air
1998 Galaxy Quest
1999 Mission Impossible II
2002 Austen Powers, Goldmember
2009 Star Trek
2010 127 Hours
2013 The Lone Ranger (Johnny Depp)
Popular activities in/around Moab: River Rafting,
Paddle Boarding, Jet Boat Tours, Hummer Tours, Jeep Rentals, Arches National Park and Canyonlands Tours.
see you there !!!