"In my research, I have not found any other state to rival Utah for its close connections to Hollywood and so many motion pictures and television shows made here," says James D’Arc, Curator of the BYU Motion Picture Archive.
D'Arc says it was the Perry brothers who really created the Utah-Hollywood connection. They founded the Perry lodge in Kanab and attracted the Tom Mix western, Deadwood Coach, in 1924.
"Once they came and they not only saw the beautiful landscapes, the varied landscapes of Utah, but had a chance to work with Utah people, they came back and back and back," says D’Arc.
To the tune of more than 800 projects filmed in the state of Utah dating back to 1913, providing a much needed source of income in the early days.
"Millions of dollars coming into the state and in terms of Utah’s history, this kind of money came at a time it was crucial, especially for Southern Utah in the 1920's and 30's," says D’Arc.
Movies pumped more than money into the state though. A centennial sized controversy was brewing in 1947 when Governor Herbert Maw named Ramrod, photographed entirely in Zion National Park and Grafton, as Utah’s official centennial movie.
"Some of the state legislators got a hold of it, saw that it was quite a brutal, frank, stark western by the standards of the day," says D’Arc.
Those lawmakers demanded the movie be sent to some other state to celebrate its centennial. Creating a back and forth fight, settled by the governor sticking to his guns.
Governor Maw was vindicated by a star studded premier in February, 1947.
"A giant parade down Main Street, the box office rang with profit like they had never seen before," says D’Arc.
Setting the stage for what has grown to a billion dollar industry and has changed the way we see our state.
"How can I look at Lake Powell again without thinking of Charlton Heston crashing there in Planet of the Apes," asks D’Arc.