90 years of TV and moviemaking in Washington County

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ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University’s “Dixie Forum” lecture Tuesday brings film enthusiasts and entertainment professionals to share insights into how movies and TV programs have been filmed in Washington County over the last 90 years.

This photo shows a movie being made in Snow Canyon, Washington County, Utah, circa 1950s | Photo contributed by Clark Nelson on March 29, 2012 to the Washington County Historical Society, St. George News

Dixie Forum lectures begin at noon in the Dunford Auditorium of the Browning Resource Center on Dixie State campus. They are free and the public is encouraged to attend.

Tuesday’s panel will be led by Dixie State associate professor of English Stephen Armstrong and filmmaker Tobijah Tyler on the topic, “Making Movies in Washington County: An Oral History.”

Of all the movies filmed against Washington County’s iconic red rock backdrops, perhaps the most notable is George Roy Hill’s popular comic western “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman, the movie was filmed in St. George, Springdale and Grafton.

Redford returned to Southern Utah to collaborate with director Sydney Pollack on two separate films, “Jeremiah Johnson” and “The Electric Horseman.”

This 2010 file photo shows an original gallows still standing at the “Gunsmoke” TV set, Kanab, Utah, Aug. 27, 2010 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News

Additionally, director Howard Hawks featured the county’s exceptional landscape in “Only Angels Have Wings,” and the revered B-movie director Sam Fuller came to the southwest corner of Utah to make “Run of the Arrow.”

Raoul Walsh gave John Wayne his first starring role in “In Old Arizona,” which was shot just outside of Zion National Park. Wayne came back two more times to Southern Utah to film parts of “Hondo” and “The Conqueror.”


Read more: Film treasures abound in Utah’s ‘Little Hollywood’ – by Stephen Armstrong


More recently, productions such as the horror thriller “The Car,” the comedy “The Flintstones” and Disney’s “High School Musical 2” have taken advantage of the county’s gorgeous red rock vistas.

The Dixie Forum audience will learn more about all of these productions as members of the panel share their recollections of the movie-making process.

About Dixie Forum

Dixie Forum is a weekly lecture series designed to introduce the St. George community to diverse ideas and personalities while widening their worldviews via a 50-minute presentation.

The forum will continue March 28, when Jason Johnstone-Yellin, vice president and COO of Single Cask Nation, presents “Philosophy in the Age of Science and Capitalism.”

For more information about Dixie State University’s Dixie Forum series, contact DSU Forum coordinator John Burns at 435-879-4712 or burns@dixie.edu or go to the Dixie Forum website.

Event details

  • What: Dixie Forum presents “Making Movies in Washington County: An Oral History.”
  • When: Tuesday, March 21, at noon.
  • Where: Dunford Auditorium of the Browning Resource Center at Dixie State University, 225 S. 700 East, St. George.
  • Cost: Free.

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