I lived in Kanab Utah as a boy and remember seeing James Arness
walking around town when shooting was going on..the public was not
allowed at the nearby Johnsons Creek set and last March I drove
out to it and found it was (at the time ) closed but repairs were
being made with hopes of re-opening it....can you tell me anything
about the set ..as far as what parts of the series were actually
shot there and where the cast stayed while shooting or similar information?
This answer comes to us from Ann Stover:
That movie set is now open to the public and tours are available.
The last time I was there they were in the process of restoring
it and were also trying to get movie companies interested in using
it again. It was used in a few "Gunsmoke" episodes. The one I
remember best was an episode guest starring Buddy Ebsen and Ben
Johnson. I believe it was entitled "Drago". The set was also used
when James Arness was filming "How The West Was Won".
The hotel where the cast and crew stayed in Kanab is a large
white hotel in the center of town (can't remember the name) but
they have pictures in the restaurant of every star who worked
in the area including James Arness. Their hotel rooms are also
named after the actors who stayed in them. For example there is
a John Wayne room.
The people who own the Johnson Canyon set will tell you that
the set was used as Dodge City but I've seen nearly every episode
of Gunsmoke and don't believe the Johnson Canyon set was used
for that purpose. The buildings don't match and are in the wrong
location. I think it was only used as other locations.
Here is some more info about that hotel in Kanab (this comes from
The hotel that Ann Stover mentioned was (I am almost certain)
called the Parry Lodge. It fits the description perfectly of the
place that we will be staying when vacationing in Kanab next month.
Thought you might be interested in knowing this!
You can visit the Johnson Canyon set online at http://www.so-utah.com/gunsmoke/
Several Monthes ago I got some e-mails from a couple of people
who said that they remembered an opening scene used on Gunsmoke
during the first season. Since I wasn't alive then, I can't confirm
their memories. Can you? Read the following descriptions and let
me know if you remember anything like this as a beginning to Gunsmoke.
Do these beginnings belong with another show? If you think so, let
me know that, too. For more information on what I do know
about the Gunsmoke opening scene, visit my Tidbits
It featured a close-up of a Colt Single-Action Army (the Peacemaker)
being fired six times at different angles. The last shot, of course,
was with the muzzle pointed directly at the camera. There was no
shooter - the firearm appeared suspended in air.
The original opening scene would show a rear view of a holster belt
with cartridges in the loops and a gun in the holster on a man standing
at a bar in a saloon. The man would turn and draw the gun and aim
in the direction of the camera firing the gun showing gunsmoke when
fired. The next immediate scenes were of sixguns being fired at
various angles to show more gunsmoke when fired.
Please let me know if you can help figure out this mystery.