A Celebration of FILM, MUSIC, POETRY, AND WESTERN HERITAGE!
DEATH VALLEY DAYS
Each year the Western Legends Round-Up selects a classic Western film or television program to feature during the Round-Up. The 2016 Western Legends Round-Up going to pay tribute to a true American Classic, Death Valley Days. Death Valley Days holds a place in Western and entertainment history as it was the first Western-themed radio program. Death Valley Days first begun airing in 1930 and it was a window into the western pioneer life. Each week through their radios men, women and children were transported to the Wild West, which was filled with action and adventure. It was said to present true stories of the old West, with “CBS [asserting] that because of its reputation for accuracy in broadcasting the dramatic history of the development of the West, Death Valley Days was recommended by teachers to their students wherever it was heard to supplement their studies at school.” Death Valley Days as a radio program continued to be broadcast until 1945. But as time marched on, people were looking at a new source of entertainment: television.
Beginning in 1952 Death Valley Days was adapted to be a television series. Each episode was introduced by a host and featured a variety of actors. There were several hosts throughout the run of the series with one of the most notable being Ronald Reagan. Hosting the series was Reagan’s final work as an actor before entering politics and eventually becoming president of the United States. The radio and TV versions of Death Valley Days combined to make the show one of the longest-running western programs in broadcast history. Death Valley Days also plays a part in Utah film history. Even though its namesake, Death Valley, is in California, many episodes were filmed in Utah. There were filming locations in and around Kanab including Johnson Canyon and Angel Canyon. At the 2016 Western Legends Round-Up you will have an opportunity to see first-hand how the Death Valley Days continues to be a part of our Western legacy.
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