In 1965 Carlo Simi built the town of El Paso in the desert of Tabernas for Sergio Leone's For a Few Dollars More. The town would be used again in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. After this, it became one of three western towns in Tabernas used consistently for Spaghetti Westerns into the mid 1970's. LVC would also return here for The Stranger and The Gunfighter.
Monco rides into town
Indio's gang arrives
After the genre died out, the town fell into disrepair, until it was made into the theme park it is today. Yes. A theme park.
this is what is looks like now - a tourist trap!
Mini Hollywood, was one of the more disappointing locations I visited, as if you cannot tell, I am not a fan of theme parks. One of the most magical things about going to the locations is that I would say 90% of the time, you are the only person there. You can experience the place very organically, where as at Mini Hollywood, it's more about witnessing mothers trying to figure how to get a stroller down a sand street.
With that being said, it's quite possible that if this location never became a theme park, it would be in ruin, similar to the town of Flagstone from Once Upon a Time in The West (more on that in a later post).
Within the park you can expect to see a "western show" a few times a day, where actors stage a mock gunfight etc. Many of the familiar sets are now functioning restaurants. You can even dress up in western gear for photos (but not a damn poncho in the whole place!!! WTF?). At least this gave us the LVC dressing room!
LVC themed dressing room
The best part of the day was during the can-can show in the saloon. Literally everyone who was visiting the town went into the saloon, leaving the town streets empty!
Sheriff's Office in For a Few Dollars More
The steps Clint hid under are now gone (replaced by steps on the opposite wall)
This building was Monco's hotel in For a Few Dollars More (at least maybe a small part of it... aside from being in the same location and being roughly the same shape, both the outside and inside have been completly refinished.
Below are some additional random pictures of the town-
In the coming weeks I will do a spotlight on The Bank of El Paso, and Mortimer's Hotel/Saloon. Stay tuned!