Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio

Best Old-time Movie-set Experience, August 2008

Many of the major studio tours focus on TV series or recent theatrical successes, while their ever-changing sets and soundstages leave few traces of cinematic antiquity. But at the Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio , the ghosts of Gary Cooper, Gene Autry, and the Duke walk tall. A sprawling townscape composed of functioning 3-D sets (not mere facades) straddles a dusty thoroughfare, a setting you might recognize from the feature films Stagecoach and Wyatt Earp or the TV shows Gunsmoke and The Lone Ranger. Despite re-creating a bustling South Dakota town for the HBO series Deadwood, the place still evokes the showdown in High Noon (another Melody picture).