Actors Clint Walker, Edd “Kookie” Byrnes, Robert Horton, and Morgan Woodward were the guests of honor on Feb. 3 when Los Abrigados Resort and Spa hosted the second of the four planned “Hands Through History” evenings bringing some of the greats from Sedona’s western movie past back to town. Dwight Brooks, CEO of Sedona Movie Studio, and Sedona Main Street Program, with assistance from the Sedona International Film Festival & Workshop, initiated the event, which culminates in the honorees leaving their handprints in cement, eventually to be displayed as part of Sedona’s Uptown enhancement project.
Each guest shared memories with a room full of fans. Walker, who filmed Yellowstone Kelly here in 1959, joked, “It’s been 18 years [since my last visit]; most of this wasn’t here. I wondered, would I be able to find my way around?” His Kelly co-star, Byrnes, called that film “my favorite western that I’ve done.”
Movie tough guy Morgan Woodward showed he has a soft spot for our town. He noted he filmed Firecreek here in the late ‘60s and “I can see that both of us have changed a great deal. I’m delighted to be back to celebrate this marvelous historical event that you’re carrying forward. Sedona is an absolutely beautiful place and I’ve never been among friendlier people.”
Robert Horton said, “I first saw Sedona [when we filmed] Pony Soldier in 1952. My wife and I came back in 1989 and it had changed; but the red rocks didn’t change, and I think the city should be very proud.
“It’s wonderful to be a part of the legacy of western films, because western films stand by themselves; there are no other genres, whether musical theater or black drama, that in any way compares with the audience that western films possess all over the world. I’ve been on location in many places, from Tokyo to Australia; I can’t think of anyplace I’d rather come back to than Sedona.”
Want to learn more about Yellowstone Kelly, Pony Soldier and Firecreek? Read all about them in Arizona’s Little Hollywood: Sedona and Northern Arizona’s Forgotten Film History 1923-1973
MORE SEDONA MOVIE HISTORY: Johnny Depp in Dead Man, the last western film set, the making of Johnny Guitar, Sedona movie locations today, Oscar winner shooting spot, an interview with Tony Curtis, Sedona’s film legacy, an interview with Beatrice Welles