At a recent conference that my wife was attending at the Arizona Biltmore, I was the official chauffeur, driver, and layabout, with time on my hands until the sun was under the yardarm, signaling the first rum issue of the day. It was Wednesday. For most of the year I had been itching to shoot the historic downtown of Florence--waiting until the temps dipped below the 90s. Well, they never did.
Florence is on the northern periphery of what I consider to be Southern Arizona. You might get an argument from the Phoenix Film Office on that one, but we're all in this together, so on that particular 90 degree-plus Wednesday I spent a charming afternoon photographing old-town Florence--the Sonoran adobe houses, brick-fronted commercial buildings, Mission revival chapels, and one of the most beautiful American-Victorian courthouses in the Southwest. Pick up a copy of An Interpretive Audio Tour of Historic Florence at the Pinal County Historical Society Museum or McFarland State Historic Park and you can do the same.
Among the treasures: a great DRINK COCA-COLA sign painted on the side of the Keating Building in lovely, historic script. Only...it was actually painted for the 1985 movie Murphy's Romance with James Garner and Sally Field, filmed in Florence. As the tour guide notes, it was a clever, retro twist on product placement--"At the time, Coca-Cola owned the studio that made the film."