During the 1940's and 1950's Hollywood fell in love with the authentic Old West flavor of Kanab region. If you've ever seen an old western, chances are you've caught a glimpse of this area that is commonly referred to as "Little Hollywood,". More than 100 movies and TV shows have been filmed in this region. Movie buffs visiting Kanab will want to experience Little Hollywood Movie Museum on West Center Street in Kanab, as well as the nearby Paria, Johnson Canyon, and Kanab Canyon movie sets.
Kanab became Little Hollywood central when the Parry Brothers continued to expand their Parry Lodge to accommodate the tastes and desires of the Hollywood elite. William Wellman first called Kanab Little Hollywood and the name stuck.
While film and television production always brings money into a local economy, in a community as small as Kane County, filming became one of the major industries. With countywide population hovering around 2,500 from the 1930s through the 1960s, a major film often was the major employer in the economy. Once the most remote town in the continental United States, Kanab was a small ranching community subsisting in a barren landscape better suited to growing sagebrush than feeding cows. During the darkest days of the Great Depression, it was Hollywood film production that kept this little town alive.
With its conservative Mormon values, Kanab may seem an unlikely partner for the Hollywood high life but it turned out to be a good fit. While the Mormons didn't approve of drinking alcohol, they duly opened bars and restaurants to make sure their Hollywood benefactors were well entertained, reaping the financial rewards along the way. The strong work ethic of the farmers and ranchers in the area, helped assure that when locals worked on film crews, that productions came in on time and on budget.
Hollywood reciprocated, not only by bringing more and more production to the area but also by springing for local improvements. When Frank Sinatra came to town with his Rat Pack pals, he not only paid for the swimming pool at the Parry Lodge but he bought football uniforms for the Kanab High School team.