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gulf coast special magazine

 

CINEMATIC WONDER

There’s a Reason Hollywood Keeps Returning to the Lone Star State
By Natalie de la Garza, Katricia Lang and Susie Tommaney

Saddle up and take a trip down one of the figurative roads of Texas film history. The Texas Film Trails recognize the communities that have opened their homes to film and television productions, says Taylor Hertsenberg, senior marketing specialist for the Texas Film Commission, the entity that curates these trails. Additionally it’s a way for the commission, which often focuses on the filmmaking community, to engage with the community at large.

The series also show the enduring benefit of hosting a film production. Increased spending by out-of-town film crews provides a short-term boost to the local economy, but there’s no time limit on tourism. While the Texas Film Commission has several film trails, this month we’re moseying down the Texas Westerns Trail. Chart your course at www.gov.texas.gov/film/trail/texas-westerns-trail
— KL

AUSTIN (Travis County)
The Son (Tv Series, 2017-2019)
In episode three of The Son, a business deal goes south at The Driskill. The hotel, opened in 1886, is located in Austin’s stately, yet booming, Sixth Street, where it’s surrounded by a host of historic sites (including the Paramount Theatre), bars, bazaars and entertainment venues. While in the area make plans to visit the Bullock Texas State History Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and — just to keep it weird — the bats under the Congress Avenue bridge. www.driskillhotel.com  aus www.tintexas.org  — KL

BEE CAVE (Travis County)
The Son (Tv Series, 2017-2019)
Structures from around Texas, relocated and renovated, make up Star Hill Ranch, seen in the first episode of the AMC drama The Son, starring Pierce Brosnan. Bee Cave also boasts 152 acres of shopping at Hill Country Galleria and seven acres of art at the Bee Cave Sculpture Park. www.beecavetexas.gov,  www.beecavechamberofcommerce.com, www.starhillranch.com  — NG

BLANCO (Blanco County)
True Grit (2010)
More than 140 examples of late 19th-century horse drawn transportation – wagons, buggies, and carriages – can be found at the Buggy Barn Museum in the “Lavender Capital of Texas.” The museum, which has its own movie studio, stood in for Fort Smith, Arkansas, in the Coen Brothers’ film True Grit; while the Old Blanco County Courthouse is where the courtroom, stairs and hallways were filmed. www.buggybarnmuseum.com, www.historicblanco.org, www.visitblancotexas.com, www.blancotx.net, www.blancochamber.com  — NG

BRACKETTVILLE (Kinney County)
Five Bold Women (1960), Two Rode Together (1961)
Since its decommission after World War II, the Fort Clark Springs commissary has become a private resort, campsite, and movie set for films like Two Rode Together, the first of three John Ford-James Stewart westerns. Like Kickapoo Cavern State Park and Kinney County Heritage Museum, Fort Clark is on Brackettville’s www.must-see list. www.kinneycounty.org, www.fortclark.com — NG

CANYON (Randall County)
The Sundowners (1950)
The Palo Duro Canyon stretches 120 feet across the Texas Panhandle and 800 feet deep. Its beauty is immortalized in the work of Georgia O'Keeffe, whose Red Landscape can be seen at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in Texas, and in the film The Sundowners. www.visitcanyontx.com , www.canyonchamber.org   www.tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/palo-duro-canyon  — NG

CLAUDE (Armstrong County)
Hud (1963)
For fans of the Paul Newman film Hud, Claude’s historic 1915 Gem Theatre is synonymous with “Oh My Darling, Clementine.” In 1992, the Armstrong County Museum added the theater to a complex that today includes an art gallery and the restored home of well-known Panhandle rancher Charles Goodnight. www.claudetx.org , www.armstrongcounty.ipage.com  — NG

DEL RIO, EAGLE PASS, LAREDO (Val Verde, Maverick and Webb Counties)
Lone Star (1996)
The three border towns of Eagle Pass, Del Rio, and Laredo shared the role of Frontera, the fictitious town in John Sayles's Lone Star, and their special geography creates unique opportunities for visitors. In Eagle Pass, an international bridge give sojourners the chance to visit its sister city, Piedras Negras, or they can try their hand at the biggest casino in Texas, the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel. In Del Rio to the north, travelers can find Texas’s oldest winery, Val Verde Winery; ancient pictographs on the walls of Seminole Canyon; and a collection of historic buildings that comprise the Whitehead Memorial Museum. And to Laredo in the south, one of the largest malls in Texas, Mall Del Norte, and the San Agustin de Laredo Historic District, home to the San Agustin Cathedral and the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum. www.luckyeagletexas.com, www.valverdewinery.com , www.malldelnorte.com, www.visitdelrio.com, www.drchamber.com, www.eaglepasstexas.com, www.visitlaredo.com  — NG

GALVESTON (Galveston County)
Gambler V: Playing For Keeps (Tv Movie, 1994)
Though known for 32 miles of beaches and attractions such as the Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark and Pleasure Pier, plenty of shops, restaurants, and museums also reside in Galveston’s historic district, The Strand, through which Scott Paulin and Brett Cullen were chased in television’s Gambler V: Playing for Keeps. www.downtowngalveston.org, www.galveston.com, www.galvestonhistory.org  — NG

GONZALES (Gonzales County)
The Son (Tv Series, 2017-2019), The Ballad Of Gregorio Cortez (1982)
The state’s first Texas History Museum District is in Gonzales. The consortium includes the Gonzales Memorial Museum, where you can find the cannon that sparked the Texas Revolution, and the Gonzales County Jail Museum, which housed the falsely imprisoned Edward James Olmos in The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez. www.gonzalestx.travel, www.gonzalestexas.com  — NG

HELOTES (Bexar County)
All The Pretty Horses (2000)
Helotes has hosted music legends at the John T. Floore Country Store, nature enthusiasts at the 12,000-acre Government Canyon Gonzales State Natural Area, and film crews at the Gallagher Headquarters Ranch, which doubled as the fictional La Purisima in the Matt Damon-Penélope Cruz film All the Pretty Horses. www.visithelotes.com , www.liveatfloores.com  — NG

HUNTSVILLE (Walker County)
Urban Cowboy (1980)
Don’t pick up any hitchhikers while in the area, but a stop at the Texas Prison Museum is worth the trip and features several interesting artifacts including the decommissioned electric chair “Old Sparky,” as well as real artifacts used in the capture of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. When it comes to the silver screen, Scott Glenn’s character in Urban Cowboy is a bull-riding convict, while the opening scenes of The Getaway and A Perfect World show the Texas State Penitentiary. While there, sign up for historic ghost tours, scuba diving in the Blue Lagoon, or camping in Huntsville State Park. www.huntsvilletexas.com , www.txprisonmuseum.org  — ST

LAJITAS (Brewster County)
Barbarosa (1982), All The Pretty Horses (2000), Three Burials (2005), No Country For Old Men (2007)
Josh Brolin was chased through Big Bend in the Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men, but adventurers can take their time experiencing countless opportunities for canoeing, hiking, ziplining and more in both Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State, just to the west. www.visitbigbend.com , www.bigbendchamberofcommerce.com  — NG

MARFA (Presidio County)
Giant (1956)
Come for the mysterious lights but then really get to exploring once the sun comes up. From art museums and galleries (Chinati and Judd Foundations) to museums (Marfa and Presidio County, Marfa Holocaust and Historic Model Ship), there’s plenty to see and do, including the soaring Marfa Municipal Golf Course (highest in Texas) and glider flights over Davis Mountain. Consider ovenighting at Hotel Paisano where Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean gathered after a long day of filming. www.visitmarfa.com  — ST

PALESTINE (Anderson County) and RUSK (Rusk County)
The Long Riders (1980), Gambler V: Playing For Keeps (Tv Movie, 1994), Streets Of Laredo (Tv Mini-Series, 1995), Rough Riders (1997), American Outlaws (2001)
The official railroad of Texas, the Texas State Railroad, has been seen on the big and small screens more than 30 times. Steam and diesel-powered locomotives today offer passengers a four-hour, 50-mile roundtrip between Palestine and Rusk along the Piney Woods route. Each city offers its own unique attractions, such as the historic Anderson County Jail or the Museum for East Texas Culture, which hosts the Old Time Music and Dulcimer Festival every March in Palestine, and the 546 foot long footbridge and the Heritage Center of Cherokee County Museum in Rusk. visitpalestine.com, www.palestinechamber.org , www.ruskchamber.com , www.rusktx.org , www.texasstaterailroad.net  — NG

SAN MARCOS (Hays County)
Lonesome Dove (Tv Mini-Series, 1989)
A visit to Texas State University - San Marcos is critical for anybody who enjoyed Lonesome Dove, the star-studded mini series with Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Diane Lane and so many more. A large portion of the production archive is housed in The Wittliff Collections of the Alkek Library, and making an appointment is recommended to view other props, costumes, screenplay drafts and Bill Wittliff’s photographs. While in San Marcos be sure to check out the glass bottom boats at The Meadows Center, do some snorkeling in the San Marcos River, and explore the Balcones Fault Line cave. www.thewittliffcollections.txstate.edu , www.toursanmarcos.com  — ST

TERLINGUA (Brewster County)
Gambler V: Playing For Keeps (Tv Movie, 1994), Streets Of Laredo (Tv Mini-Series, 1995)
Named the “Chili Capital of the World” by the Chili Appreciation Society in 1967, Terlingua is today home to the Terlingua International Chili Championship and is one of the state's most visited ghost towns. The former mining district was also the filming site of television’s Streets of Laredo; in Gambler V it’s where the Wild Bunch made their last stand as outlaws. www.visitbigbend.com/terlingua , www.ghosttowntexas.com  
— NG

VAN HORN (Culberson County)
Three Burials (2005)
Before the completion of I-10, the Sands Motel and Restaurant was a welcome sight to travelers. Visitors can still stop at the restaurant, now Lindsay’s Café and featured in Three Burials, before going to the Culberson County Historical Museum or nearby Guadalupe Mountains National Park. www.vanhorntexas.org , www.vanhorntexas.us , www.nps.gov/gumo   
— NG

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