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CANCELED-Historical Society of Dayton Valley Haunted Hay Rides
October 27, 2021
Our Haunted Hayride is back! On Thursday, October 28 – the night before the Nevada Day holiday – the Historical Society of Dayton Valley’s annual (except when it isn’t) Haunted Hayride will be back. This year our theme will be, “Dayton Goes to the Movies!”
Most of you probably know that much of The Misfits (1961) was filmed in and around Dayton (although Reno likes to take the credit), but did you know that several other movies were filmed here? Feature-length movies include:
Charley Varrick (1973)
Honkytonk Man (1982)
A Howling In The Woods (1971)
The Misfits (1961)
The Wizard (1989)
In addition, the feature-length student film, Secrets of the Desert Nymph, was filmed here in 2012 and several shorts have been filmed in and around Dayton.
Charley Varrick (1973) is a “neo noir crime film” starring Walter Matthau, Andrew Robinson, Joe Don Baker, and John Vernon. Charley Varrick (Matthau) is a crop-duster by trade but by inclination prefers armed robbery. Unfortunately for him, he is better at crop dusting. Varrick and three others rob a small bank but unexpectedly net big bucks. During the robbery two policeman and two of the robbers are killed or mortally wounded. Soon Varrick and the one surviving robber realize they’ve robbed a Mob money-laundering operation and are now running from both the police and the Mob. And, of course, the two robbers also turn on one another.
Trailer park scenes were filmed in Dayton, as were scenes at the Carson River.
Honkeytonk Man (1982) stars Clint Eastwood and includes filmed in Old Town Dayton. Eastwood plays a Depression-era country musician, Red Stoval, who’s dying of tuberculosis. He and his nephew, Whit (played by Eastwood’s son, Kyle), embark on one last road trip to Nashville, Tenn., where Eastwood’s character has a shot at appearing on the Grand Ole Opry. In Nashville a slide guitarist is played by Marty Robbins in his last appearance before he died.
Dayton scenes include one where Eastwood is arrested for stealing chickens and another where Whit / Kyle breaks him out of jail (made for the movie) and they race away down Pike Street.
A Howling in the Woods (1971) is a made-for-TV thriller that reunited Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman shortly after their TV series ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ was cancelled. It follows a woman (Eden) planning to leave her photographer husband (Hagman) and who returns to her childhood home for time with her father and step-mother. In Stainesville (Dayton) Eden’s character experiences mysterious hostility from old friends and in the woods (Lake Tahoe) finds her archaeologist father away on a dig. There is much being hidden here (though not Old Town Dayton!) and the film’s tension is increased by ongoing howling in the woods.
This is a well written and well acted mystery/thriller that has wonderful scenes of Dayton in the early 1970s. I’ve been unable to find it as a DVD but it can be watched on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuN7qhBhSIM.
The Misfits (1961) is a modern Western drama written by Arthur Miller for his wife Marilyn Monroe, starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Montgomery Clift and was the last completed film for both Gable and Monroe. In it a divorcee (Monroe) falls for an over-the-hill cowboy (Gable) who is struggling to maintain his romantically independent lifestyle.
The Misfits was a commercial failure at the time of its release but received critical acclaim for its script and performances. Its reputation has shifted over the years, and many now consider it to be a masterpiece and one of the best films of the 1960s.
Much of the movie was filmed in Dayton, including scenes in Old Town on Main and Pike Streets and at a rodeo grounds built for the film located in the lot on Pike Street across from today’s community center and Compadres Restaurant. The mustanging scenes were filmed at “Misfit Flat” near Stagecoach. (I wonder where they got the name? LOL)
Showdown (1993) is a violent biker/Mob movie set in Sanctuary, a Mafia retirement village exempt from all federal and state laws. (Of course, everyone knows that EVERYHTING is legal in Nevada!) Unfortunately for the old dons, a scruffy biker gang conquers the community. The showcased action in this movie is kung-fu. (I haven’t seen it so I can’t begin to explain that.)
However, this movie may have one redeeming value – at the time it was being made Laura Tennant interviewed the director who indicated that 60% of the extras came from the local community. So it could be worth watching … and some folks have enjoyed the action scenes.
The Wizard (1989) is about Corey (Fred Savage) and Jimmy (Luke Edwards) Woods, two brothers who are being separated because their parents are divorcing. Jimmy is autistic but his brother discovers he is a video game wizard. The brother run away and hitch across the country to LA to compete in the ultimate video game championship. Along the way they meet a girl named Haley (Jenny Lewis) who helps them avoid the adults who will try to take Jimmy away.
In one scene the brothers’ father, Sam (Beau Bridges), and older brother Nick (Christian Slater) get in a fight with another guy. The backdrop for this scene is Old Town Dayton. In one scene you’ll see the VW beetle “black widow” of Mound House.