Tag: Zane Grey

Flagstaff : City of Wonders

Flagstaff, also known as the City of Wonders, was on our list of places to explore during our travels along Route 66 in Arizona last summer. The town is located in the heart of Coconino National Forest, the Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon, Walnut Canyon, Wupatki National Monument, Sunset Crater National Monument and the Sab Francisco Peaks.

Western author Zane Grey loved Arizona, working on many of his books in a cabin near Tonto Creek and when he visited Flagstaff, he stayed in room 210 at the historic Monte Vista Hotel on San Francisco Street.

Photo Credit

The Monte Vista was the longest publicly held commercial hotel in the history of America until it sold to a private individual in the early 1960’s. In its first year of operation the hotel hosted Mary Costigan’s daily three-hour radio show from room 105. Mary was the first American woman to be granted a radio-broadcasting license.

Photo Credit

The Monte Vista was a favorite gathering place among the locals who coined the phrase “Meet me at the Monte V”. During prohibition the Monte Vista was Flagstaff’s most popular speakeasy. Then in the 1940’s and 50’s western movies became popular and over 100 movies were filmed in nearby Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon and a scene from Casablanca was filmed in one of the rooms. Many movie stars stayed at the Monte Vista during filming and the hotel began naming rooms after the actors.

As with many historic buildings, the Monte Vista is believed to be haunted. Zane Grey’s room was said to be haunted by the infamous phantom bellboy. John Wayne reported seeing a friendly spirit in his room in the hotel in late 1950’s.

My husband and I stayed the night in the Anthony Hopkins Suite. As you can see by the photo of our room it wasn’t much of a suite. The shower was so narrow that your elbows hit the walls when you tried to wash your hair. Sadly we did not encounter any ghosts in our room. See more stories about the ghosts who haunt the Monte Vista Hotel HERE.

I should mention the other historical hotel in Flagstaff—the Weatherford Hotel, which is said to be one of Wyatt Earp’s favorite hangouts while in Flagstaff. Hubby and I stopped at the hotel for a drink after dinner and learned from the bartender that Zane Grey would frequently work on his books in the Weatherford Ballroom attached to the bar on the second floor.

    

If you ever have the chance to visit Flagstaff be sure to take a peek inside both hotels and if you’re the adventurous type you may want to try one of these barcycles or pedal pubs!

I’d love to know if you’ve ever stayed the night in a famous hotel and where it was.

Until Next Time…Happy Trails!

1870’s with a 30’s Twist

I love early western movies—those made in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s. These movies were made close enough to the times they portrayed—the 1860s-1890’s—that the sets, the clothing, the horse gear, have a fighting chance of being fairly accurate. And if they’re not accurate, at least they’re interesting.

This weekend I watched Zane Grey’s To the Last Man, which was filmed in 1933. It wasn’t the most accurate western I’ve ever seen clothing-wise…but it was interesting.

The story was one of young love redeeming feuding families. The Colby and Hayden families have feuded in Kentucky for generations. After the Civil War, Jed Colby (Noah Beery Sr.) goes to prison for murdering a Hayden, and the Hayden family heads to Nevada, leaving Lynn Hayden (Randolph Scott) behind to take care of the homestead. When Jed gets out of prison, he goes to Nevada, to seek revenge against the Haydens. Lynn is hot on his heels, hoping to stop the violence. Matters are further complicated by the fact that Lynn’s in love with Ellen Colby (Esther Ralston) and the two hope to marry.  I loved the final shootout, where people were actually reloading weapons, and the reloading took some time, just like it does in real life. The women are shooting as much as the men.

So, back to the clothing… no matter how bad an old movie might be, I can entertain myself looking at the fashions. Men’s. Women’s. Horse’s.

In this movie Randolph Scott wore buckskin. So did the heroine—and she
showed a fair amount of leg, even though the movie took place after the Civil War, probably in the very late 1860’s or early 1870’s. Was this accurate? Probably not–the leg part anyway. Nor were her 1930’s pencil thin eyebrows and semi-marceled hairdo accurate. But, since I love the 1930s, it was fun to see the 30’s influence on the 1870s fashions.

As you can see in the photo, Shirley Temple is in the film, as is a very young John Carradine.

If you want to catch To the Last Man, it’s available on YouTube.

 

MK McClintock’s First Annual Western Roundup Giveaway Hop

The under-appreciated western genre peaked around the early 1960s, but readership began to drop off in the mid-to-late 1970s and has reached a new low in the 2000’s. Outside of a few west American states, most bookstores only carry a small number of Western fiction books. From the first dime novel published in June 1860 to the works of Zane Gray and Louis L’Amour to more contemporary authors, the western genre has experienced a variety of changes in an attempt to hold reader’s interest.

During a time when people sought stories of adventure, fictional tales or real-life heroes began to surface, painting a vivid picture of frontier life. With the growth of imagination and special effects, it often seems this beloved genre is buried under the supernatural. I myself am guilty of not picking up a western book until after I watched Lonesome Dove. Old west or new west, this genre has proved time and again that it can stand up to any genre, but it still lacks the following it once had. Though we can’t change that perception overnight, we can share our love of the west.

The western genre is now more than just dirty cowboys and dusty trails and we’d like to celebrate the changes, pay honor to the traditions, and perhaps give a new audience reason to try something new.

This year, a new kind of giveaway hop will be introduced–the Western Roundup Giveaway Hop. Multiple bloggers, authors, and readers are coming together to share books only from the western genre and we invite everyone and anyone to take part.

We’re introducing the First Annual Western Roundup Giveaway Hop

Hosted by MK McClintock, Kimberly Lewis & Cait Lavender

July 20th – 26th

Cowboys are sexy and deserve a hop of their own. The western genre has exploded beyond old west and romance to include werewolves, wizards and other magical beings. Want to meet a charming cowboy or tough as nails cowgirl? Want to follow a mountain man through the wilderness? Want to know what magic has to do with the old west? Want an old-fashioned historical western romance? Well then, hop on and enjoy the ride!

There’s a prize for participating blogs too! 

At the end of the hop, we’ll have a drawing where one participating blog will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card and a western ebook of their choice ($5 value).

To sign up to host a giveaway, go here!

Want to know more about giveaway hops? Visit here and find outwhat’s involved. Can’t host a giveaway? No problem, just tell your friends and share the adventure!

MK will give away two print copies and two ebooks of her latest release. Just leave a comment! The drawing won’t be held until August 1st though.

 

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