Don’t tell the top brass at Fox Film, but their 1933 Robbers’ Roost wasn’t the first adaption of Zane Grey’s novel for another medium; listeners in Detroit heard the story acted out on the radio almost two years before the movie hit theaters. Details of the Robbers’ Roost radio play have faded into the ether, but station WWJ aired the program in May 1931, shortly after the story was serialized in Collier’s magazine and a few months before it was published as a book by Harper & Brothers. What can be confirmed is that actor/director Wynn Wright and actress Florence Hedges (seen above in a publicity still for the show) originated the roles George O’Brien and Maureen O’Sullivan played in the Dudley Nichols-scripted B western, which Fox shot on location in Sedona during late 1932. Wright must have been keen on turning pre-sold literary properties into radio shows; in 1941 he created the NBC anthology program Author’s Playhouse, which dramatized the works of famous authors and playwrights.––Joe McNeill
Having played host to more than 60 Hollywood productions—from the early years of cinema through the 1970s—Sedona, Arizona’s unsung role in American film is the topic of this blog. Here, once and for all Sedona gets her due as a key location in movie history, a silent but stunning backdrop to all genres of movies including silent films, B westerns, World War II propaganda, and film noir.