12 Oct Quiet on the Set: Fade to Black at Old Tucson - June 2003
There wasn't much that Greg DiBenedetti wasn't willing to do for Don Diamond and Donald Pitt at their Old Tucson theme park.
DiBenedetti is one of several stuntmen who have spoken to The Weekly about their jobs at Old Tucson. He is the only one who's unafraid to have his name included.
Diamond and Pitt, two of Arizona's richest men, are in default on Old Tucson's lease with Pima County and have failed to pay $172,000 in back rent. They ordered Mangelsdorf to drop the hammer on DiBenedetti and most of the park's 270 employees on May 29 with layoff notices.
Only a skeleton crew was necessary because Mangelsdorf quickly followed another Diamond-Pitt directive to shutter the once-famous movie set--and top tourist attraction--to all but a tiny schedule to include guided tours for which almost no one is willing to pay the nearly $15 admission.
But these are hardly the days of Bob Shelton, when half a dozen movies were simultaneously in various stages of production at Old Tucson.
Mangelsdorf and Terry Pollock, an Old Tucson mouthpiece, tried to reverse a stampede of bad press by recently hyping a movie that purported to feature Sam Elliot and Pam Grier. It was, the claims went, based on the storyline that Jesse James had an illegitimate African-American daughter who rode with her own bad-ass gang. Despite a casting call that generated words and photos in Tucson's daily media, the project was illusory--the fruit of someone with a flash roll of cash.