Thousands visit Tombstone to see 1993 film's star - Tucson News Now

Thousands visit Tombstone to see 1993 film's star

Source: Tucson News Now Source: Tucson News Now
Source: Tucson News Now Source: Tucson News Now
TOMBSTONE, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

One of the biggest stars of "Tombstone" made a triumphant return on Saturday, Aug. 12. The 1993 film put the southern Arizona town on the pop culture national map. 

The inaugural Doc Holli-Days event and parade rolled through the historic town, with Val Kilmer as the Grand Marshal, and fans of the film did not miss out.

It's a town that has been living off tourist dollars, and this weekend event may be its biggest boon.

"This was a couple of years of planning," said Kevin Rudd, the owner Tombstone Mustachery and an organizer of Doc Holli-Days.

Rudd explained that he first met Kilmer at one of Kilmer's Mark Twain stage shows, and their relationship continued over the years as Rudd continued to sell Kilmer's various artwork in Tombstone.

20,000 people lined Allen Street for Saturday's parade, according to an estimate from a member of the Tombstone Marshal's Office.

When asked if the crowd size would be as large without Kilmer's appearance, Rudd said, "I really believe that we might not have had this showing, but we would've had a pretty good event, I'm sure." 

The event was centered in the infamous town of Tombstone, the site of the Gunfight at the OK Corral, and centered around the infamous Doc Holliday figure.

People from all over the country showed up to catch a glimpse of the famous actor who portrayed him.

"'Tombstone' is our favorite movie," said John Howell, who came down from Phoenix.

The festivities brought die-hard fans of the film, with many dressed in Western garb.

"I like seeing everybody dressing up. It's like adults dressing up for Halloween," Chris Duke said.

The two-day weekend event, starring Kilmer, was enough of a draw to warrant a cross-country trip for John and Maria Kelly from New Jersey. They came to Tombstone without hesitation.

"Once we found out the date and time I said to my wife, 'Babe, we're here.' And we came," John said.

It's his first time in Arizona, and he jumped at the chance to buy himself a cowboy hat. He was among fellow admirers.

"You sit here thinking, you know, it's a popular film. But you're not sure how popular it is until you see all these people lining the streets," he said.

According to Rudd, Kilmer's visit was a paid appearance. Kilmer is reportedly receiving a portion of the various dollars collected through VIP events and appearances scheduled over the weekend in Tombstone.

And organizers, like Rudd, know that the key to being bigger in Year 2 is making sure "your Huckleberry" has a triumphant return.

"It's going to be one of those things he's going to want to come back. I don't think we're going to have to beg," Rudd said. "And if he doesn't come back, we're still going to do this again. Maybe invite some other people from the movie, 'Tombstone,' or some other famous Western heritage people, and just keep it alive."

See more of the Doc Holli-Days events scheduled here.

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