Late movie star Gene Wilder filmed movies in Tucson - Tucson News Now

Late movie star Gene Wilder filmed movies in Tucson

The Frisco Kid, filmed at Old Tucson's Mescal location in 1979. (Source: Old Tucson) The Frisco Kid, filmed at Old Tucson's Mescal location in 1979. (Source: Old Tucson)
The Frisco Kid, filmed at Old Tucson's Mescal location in 1979. (Source: Old Tucson) The Frisco Kid, filmed at Old Tucson's Mescal location in 1979. (Source: Old Tucson)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Late actor/comedian Gene Wilder famously known for his role in the family movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) filmed at least two movies in the Tucson area.

Parts of downtown Tucson and the rodeo grounds were featured in scenes from his crime comedy Stir Crazy (1980) where Wilder played a writer who is fired from his job and framed for robbing a bank. 

Old Tucson Studios Mescal location near Benson was featured in his western comedy,The Frisco Kid (1979) where Wilder played a Polish rabbi who runs into trouble on his way to San Francisco. 
 
Bob Shelton ran Old Tucson Studios at the time Wilder was filming The Frisco Kid and recalled the film company being in the Tucson area about two weeks. He told Tucson News Now they started filming around Nogales and then moved to the Mescal location.  
 
Shelton who is now 95 years old said his interaction with Wilder at the time was limited. Shelton mainly worked with the film company. However, he explained over the phone that he remembers seeing Wilder on set where he was friendly and the two would “exchange greetings on a daily basis.”
 
Old Tucson Studios marketing manager, Marie Demarais sent Tucson News Now two photos of Wilder on the set of The Frisco Kid. She said the pictures were taken while he was filming at the studio’s Mescal location.

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