Thursday, March 4, 2010

More Tombstone Fun

Contrary to what you may think after reading yesterday's entry, a visit to Tombstone isn't all about graveyards and death. It was an interesting, informative, and fun adventure, especially for those of us fortunate enough to have cut our teeth on television shows of the old west in the 1950s and 60s.

What made the day more interesting for Lloyd and me was the fact that we had just watched the great movie called Tombstone, starring Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday and Kirk Russel was Wyatt Earp. I love it...and to actually go to Tombstone a couple days after watching it was an amazing experience. You must rent or buy the movie and watch it. I think it was made in 1994. Val Kilmer was perfect as Doc Holliday - funny and sarcastic and witty.

Tombstone is a 3.5 hr. drive from our home in Surprise, but it's well worth the drive. The old part of town (where the OK Corral is located) is still there, restored and cleaned , and the old newspaper office is still there with the original type-setting equipment and printing presses that were used to print the newspaper telling the story of the gunfight and other news of the town.

The best part of our visit there was watching a re-enactment of the Gunfight at OK Corral. The actors were very good and the one who played Doc Holliday was superb.

I wouldn't advise taking children to it though because it's a 40-minute play with just two or three minutes of gunplay at the end. Through actors representing the three Earp brothers, Doc Holliday and four of the cowboy gang, they told the story of how the gunfight came to happen. It helps to have seen the movie before.

There's also a diarama on the actual site of the gunfight, with life-size mechanical figures of the characters whose arms move and appear to shoot their guns.

The Bird Cage Theatre where Josephine (later called Sadie) acted is still standing - she later married Wyatt Earp. There are museum tours and at the Theatre they have a paranormal tour at night, for people 18 and over who are looking for an actual paranormal experience. The whole town is said to be haunted.

Stagecoach rides are available for those who wish to have a taste of old fashioned transportation.

Of course like all tourist sites, there were plenty of souvenirs, antiques, Tombstone movies and pictures to be had, but to me, that's all part of the charm of the old west towns down here in the American Southwest. I love it.