Alamo Village movie set used by John Wayne fading away The weather and elements are taking a toll on the famous movie set, best known for the

 

 

Alamo Village movie set used by John Wayne fading away
The weather and elements are taking a toll on the famous movie set, best known for the Oscar-nominated 1960 movie ‘The Alamo.’
BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Friday, December 26, 2014, 9:30 AM A A A
63
6
SHARE THIS URL

A DEC. 4, 2014 PHOTO
ERIC GAY/AP
Alamo Village, a 400-acre plot of land about 120 miles west of San Antonio, was carved out of a large ranch in the late 1950s for John Wayne’s directorial debut.
BRACKETTVILLE, Texas — Time and Mother Nature are threatening to dismantle the Alamo. Not the original, but the replica 18th-century Spanish mission and Old West movie set John Wayne built for his Oscar-nominated 1960 movie and that for decades was a tourist mecca and film production site.

“It’s not just something that represents history to a movie set – it is now history for sure,” says Rich Curilla, the one-man curator and custodian of the now-closed Alamo Village.

Alamo Village, a 400-acre plot of land about 120 miles west of San Antonio, was carved out of a large ranch in the late 1950s for Wayne’s directorial debut. Starring Richard Widmark as Jim Bowie and Wayne as Davy Crockett, “The Alamo” had an estimated $12 million budget, huge for its time.

The 4-foot-thick Alamo facade was modeled off a 1936 map of the historic building – drawn up for the Texas centennial that year – and set construction took nearly two years. Unlike the real Alamo, which is dwarfed by taller buildings in the heart of San Antonio, the view from Wayne’s Alamo offered a panorama of iconic Texas and Western images.

“To Hollywood, a movie set is just a means to an end,” said Curilla, a film and Alamo historian who spent his summers in college during the late 1960s at the site and began working there full-time in 1988. “I think Wayne was cognizant of building a monument and not just a movie set.”

In its heyday, Wayne’s Alamo hosted Jimmy Stewart, Dean Martin, Raquel Welch and even Willie Nelson. It’s where James Arness reprised his famous Matt Dillon role in a “Gunsmoke” TV movie.

A DEC. 4, 2014 PHOTO
ERIC GAY/AP
A photo of actor John Wayne rests on a counter of a saloon, built for Wayne’s 1960 movie ‘The Alamo,’ in Brackettville, Texas.
In all, nearly 40 major film and TV productions, plus hundreds of commercials, documentaries and music videos were shot at Alamo Village. And musical shows, comedy skits and staged gunfights drew hundreds of tourists daily.

“It was magical,” said Penny Loewen, who was 18 in 1979 when she arrived from tiny St. Francisville, Illinois. She stayed for three years, getting paid $350 a month to sing and perform six days a week, 11 hours a day.

“We would do just about anything,” the 55-year-old retired Nashville songwriter who remained involved with movie productions for 20 years said. “That was the most fun I ever had in my life.”

Business at Alamo Village began to wane in the 1980s when traffic along the main east-west route through South Texas shifted north with completion of Interstate 10. It closed to the public after the last remaining owner died in 2009 and the property was divided among heirs. The land now primarily is used for cattle grazing and hunting.

In recent years, a large crack has developed on the front of the Alamo facade. A tree grows inside. Other walls and structures that have been replaced or redone are failing.

A DEC. 4, 2014 PHOTO
ERIC GAY/AP
A replica of the Alamo built for John Wayne’s 1960 movie ‘The Alamo’ is framed by arches at the movie set in Brackettville, Texas.
At the main entrance to the ranch, only an abandoned ticket booth and a weathered sign telling visitors they’re entering the world’s largest outdoor movie set hint at its storied past.

“The weather and elements are taking a toll on it,” Texas Film Commission Director Heather Page said. “I think it would be disappointing to lose something like that.”

Corpus Christi businessman David Jones, 74, envisions saving Alamo Village as a Texas version of Old Tucson, a thriving Old West theme park in southern Arizona.

Jones, who describes himself as a lifelong friend of the former owners, says he’s close to raising the $8 million he believes is necessary to buy the property and ready it for visitors. The remote location won’t be a deterrent, Jones says, noting that Big Bend National Park, some 200 miles to the west, typically draws more than 300,000 visitors a year.

“The place really needs to be more than preserved,” he said. “It needs to be rehabilitated. … It has two icons, John Wayne and the Alamo, known to everybody all over the world.”

TAGS: movies

PROMOTED STORIES
Why People are Switching to Flash Storage
Dell Power More

Celebrities You Don’t Want To See On The Beach
RantLifestyle

8 Starlets Rejected From Playboy Magazine
Suggest.com

10 Major Casting Fails That Ruined Entire Films
Answers.com

These Celebrities Are Not Aging Like Fine Wine
Buzzlie

Best Cities to Buy a Home for Retirees
The Weather Channel
Recommended by
MORE FROM NYDAILYNEWS
Caitlyn Jenner’s new $3.5M Malibu mansion has glam room
Caitlyn Jenner’s new $3.5M Malibu mansion has glam room
‘Entourage’ stars play ‘Never Have I Ever’ on ‘Ellen’
‘Entourage’ stars play ‘Never Have I Ever’ on ‘Ellen’
Recommended by
SPONSOR CONTENT ON NYDAILYNEWS
Opening Just in Time to Make Christmas Memories in Asheville
Opening Just in Time to Make Christmas Memories in Asheville
BY BILTMORE
New Village Hotel offers a modern take on Biltmore’s gracious hospitality.
COMMENTSPOST A COMMENT[ Discussion Guidelines]
SORT

EDITOR’SPICKS
‘Partridge Family’ star Suzanne Crough dies at 52
‘Partridge Family’ star Suzanne Crough dies at 52
Suzanne Crough, who portrayed Tracy Partridge on “The Partridge Family…
Will Smith gives Margot Robbie a lift on ‘Suicide Squad’
Will Smith gives Margot Robbie a lift on ‘Suicide Squad’
Will Smith’s Deadshot is showing his chivalrous side in new pics from the…
Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon stun on Rolling Stones cover
Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon stun on Rolling Stones cover
Being an inmate at Litchfield penitentiary has never looked so hot.
‘The Walking Dead’ creator drops teasers about Season 6
‘The Walking Dead’ creator drops teasers about Season 6
Six months before the Season 6 premiere, creator Robert Kirkman already…
Mary-Kate, Ashley Olsen react to ‘Full House’ sequel
Mary-Kate, Ashley Olsen react to ‘Full House’ sequel
When it comes to joining the “Full House” sequel, the Olsen twins need…
PROMOTED STORIES

9 Celebs Who Accidentally Flashed Some Flesh
9 Celebs Who Accidentally Flashed Some Flesh
(Buzz-Hut)
The No-Pain Heels Guide: 3 Stunning Heels That Don’t Hurt
The No-Pain Heels Guide: 3 Stunning Heels That Don’t Hurt
(Sole Society)
41 Famous People Who Are Secretly Filthy Rich
41 Famous People Who Are Secretly Filthy Rich
(SheFinds)
8 Musicians Who Are The Biggest Jerks In The Business
8 Musicians Who Are The Biggest Jerks In The Business
(Answers.com)
Recommended by


Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather