post ‘Chaparral’ Is Here To Stay, Dortort Assures Old Pueblo

August 25th, 2009

Filed under: Vintage Reprint Articles — admin @ 4:21 pm

David DortortVintage Reprint from Wednesday, June 10, 1970, Tucson Daily Citizen

“The High Chaparral,” NBC’s dramatic western adventure series which makes its location home at Old Tucson, is staying in Arizona, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

That is the word from the shows’s executive producer and originator, David Dortort, who scouted locations yesterday and addressed a noon meeting of Rotary International at the Pioneer International Hotel today.

“We have gone to considerable trouble and expense to move the interior sets for the show to Old Tucson,” Dortort said in an interview. “They are being used now and will be used more and more in the future.”

Excutive Producer David Dortort, left, and Producer Kent McCray, right, on location at The High Chaparral set in Tucson

Dortort estimates that 65 percent of the series will be shot at Old Tucson and at other southern Arizona sites. The setting up of the interiors on Old Tucson’s sound stage makes “cover” shots possible there, whereas in the past the cast and crew has had to shoot interiors only in Hollywood. (The remaining 35 per cent of the show will be filmed in California).

Seeking to lay to rest once and for all the rumor that the show, which pumps an estimated $2 million a year directly into the local economy and has been credited by Chamber of Commerce officials with attracting five million tourist dollars annually, might move to New Mexico, Dortort said, “Some people in the industry thought I was crazy a few years ago when I predicted that Arizona would be the new Hollywood. Now more and more people are realizing this is coming true. I’m going to push with all my strength to make Arizona the new Hollywood.”

Mark Slade

According to David Dortort, Mark Slade was a good actor, but at 30 years old it was, “difficult to write convincing scripts that had him playing a teenager.” Dortort planned to keep the character alive because of the affection they had for Mark.

To support his argument, Dortort ticked off the names of five major film productions that have done location shooting in and around Tucson in recent months and pointed out that the old Hollywood has been sold off in huge chunks and does not really exist anymore.

It was Dortort’s assurance to Old Tucson’s management that “The High Chaparral” could give a sound stage enough business that prompted construction of the present facility. Although not a stockholder in Old Tucson Development Co., Dortort serves as a consultant on its advisory board, which is made up of celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and John Wayne.

Big news about the series, which finished its third season in the top 20 Nielsen-rated television shows nationally, is that Mark Slade, in the character of Blue Cannon, “simply grew out of the part” and will no longer appear regularly in the series after the last show of the reruns in early September, Dortort said.

“Mark Slade is a fine young man, a good actor, cooperative and hard working,” Dortort said. “But he’s 30 and it was getting increasingly difficult to write convincing scripts that had him playing a teenager.” Dortort said.

Dortort said Slade’s character, Blue, would be kept alive “because of the affection we have for Mark”, and that he may return to the series at a later date as a mature character. The script has Blue leaving the Cannon ranch to pursue art studies in the East.

A new character, Wind played by newcomer Rudy Ramos, 19, is being added to the series, and Dortort cautiously described his introduction.

“We’re going to try something novel: instead of the artificial stock characters on television, perhaps including some on our own show, we want to go back to the facts of history.

Rudy Ramos as Wind

Rudy Ramos as Wind was added to The High Chaparral cast to appeal to the teenage audience.

“After the Civil War, veterans of both sides of the conflict – men with their homes burned, their pasts destroyed – made their way west to the open land. They encountered Indian tribes where it was often a sign of hospitality to offer visitors a squaw.

“This shocked many of the men from the Eastern seaboard still locked in the Puritan ethic, which was no place as rigid as in its relationship between men and women. Half breeds were often the result of these casual relationships. “These children,” Dortort continued, “were brought up by the tribes as Indians, trained to hunt, fight, ride, be self-sufficient. Wind is one of these. He is obsessed with one terrible question: Who is his father?”

In the first show of the series fourth season, Wind finds out – it’s Buck Cannon, played by Cameron Mitchell. (This story is Mitchell’s first notice of his television fatherhood, Dortort said). Ramos, whose father is a Mexican and mother a Cherokee Indian from Oklahoma, will thrash through his character’s anguish of hatred for his father for having left his mother, his need for paternal love, and other generation gap problems. Dortort thinks today’s youth will identify with the character’s problems, “hang ups that have lasted long enough.”

The only other major shift in the story line will be a more important role for Don Collier, who plays Sam, the ranch foreman.

Dortort, whose “Bonanza” finished No. 1 among television shows in its 11th year, said “Violence has been exaggerated out of all proportions” and has scuttled many good scripts – and a major new series, “Chinook,” about American Indians, that he has had to abandon.

post Young Kotto Learned About ‘Buffalo Soldiers’

June 29th, 2009

Filed under: Vintage Reprint Articles — admin @ 7:02 pm
Vintage reprint article, St. Petersburg Independent, 9/5/69

Yaphet Kotto has known about the Buffalo Soldiers since he was a youth.

“I saw an open album in my father’s bedroom with a clipping, yellow from age, like something out of a Sunday supplement,” he said. “It looked like a picture of a black U.S. Cavalry soldier. It struck me as funny. I laughed. I thought, ‘What is this?’ ”

Now he knows. What’s more, he portrays the leader of the Negro troopers in “The Buffalo Soldiers” on “The High Chaparral,” repeat colorcast on Channel 8 tonight at 7:30.

Recalling the incident, Kotto said, “May father came in. It was one of the first times that my father talked to me about this. He said it wasn’t funny. I’ll never forget his eyes. They were like wild. I had never seen blacks pictured this way in the history books. I didn’t believe him. I created a conflict between us. He kept telling me those soldiers were black. He was trying to educate me. He was quite a reader – he read all the time. He was always turning some profound thing over in his mind.”

Kotto found out, in time, that his father was right. The 10th Cavalry, an all-Negro unit, was first organized in July 1866. It patrolled the borders, participated in Indian campaigns, and helped tame and maintain the West. The term, “Buffalo Soldier,” was a nickname bestowed by the Apaches. One hundred years later, in 1966, an equestrian organization was formed, consisting of 35 members, modeled after the original outfit. They portray the historic unit in tonight’s “High Chaparral” episode.

“I was pleased about this role,” says Kotto, “Because I’ve never played a leader before. Also, this gave me an opportunity to play a historical character, a hero that was real.”

Of the kids today, Kotto said, “They’re in a different position than I was. They’re willing to accept any handle on history that they claim. They want to know who they are.”

He had dramatic evidence of this from the kids in Watts that he works with: “When they heard I was doing ‘The Buffalo Soldiers,’ I received about 50 phone calls from them. When I started rehearsing with the equestrian unit, 700 kids came across town to watch.”

Yaphet Kotto in Buffalo Soldiers on The High Chaparral

Yaphet Kotto as Sgt. Major Creason in
The Buffalo Soldiers

post Mark Slade Gave Up Fishing For Acting

June 7th, 2009

Filed under: Vintage Reprint Articles — admin @ 6:02 pm

Mark Slade as Blue Cannon in the Pilot for The High Chaparral

Mark Slade as Blue Cannon in the pilot episode

Vintage Reprint from Sunday, October 8, 1967

Reprint: Sunday, October 8, 1967
Mark Slade almost gave up show business, but then his ship came in. Actually, it wasn’t a ship; it was a horse.

Slade thought he was through as an actor when NBC-TV’s The Wackiest Ship in the Army, in which he played Seaman Pat Hollis, was not renewed last year
“I went to Europe for a vacation and when I came back I went to the see the producer,” said Slade. “I thought of quitting acting and going into production. Two weeks later through, my agent said he had an interview for me with David Dortort about a new Western. I didn’t think much of it. Besides, I wanted to go fishing that day. I said I wasn’t interested, but my agent insisted that I keep the date.”

Slade went for his interview with Dortort, the creator and executive producer of NBC Television Network’s Bonanza and The High Chaparral.

Mark Slade as Hollis in Wackiest Ship in the Navy

Slade in Wackiest Ship in the Army
as Seaman Pat Hollis

“I waited 45 minutes in the office. I was going to stay only five more minutes and then go fishing, when I was called in. At first Dortort thought I was a real wise guy, until I read for the part. I was told not to go anywhere that day. My agent called at 7:30 p.m. and said I had the part.”

That’s how Slade landed the co-starring role of young Billy Blue Cannon, in The High Chaparral dealing, among other things, with the generation gap between father and son. The series follows Bonanza at 10 p.m. on Channel 8.

“This kid is growing up fast,” said Slade of the character. “He wants to get out on his own but he’s not yet ready to handle it. When he blows up he goes all the way. He has a stepmother. He can’t communicate with his father, Big John (Leif Erickson), but he wants to be like him. Right now, however, he likes his Uncle Buck (Cameron Mitchell) better because he is more colorful. Billy Blue is a character with whom the younger generation can identify.”

Slade is no stranger to rural life: “I lived in Putnamville, Mass. until I was 15 years old. I worked for Pearly Clark’s chicken farm in Danvers. I was out in the coops three days a week. I went to a one-room school house where I had the same teacher for three years.”

Slade, who is single, has two younger sisters and a brother. He had planned on a career as a ventriloquist or cartoonist (he’s a good one) until he substituted for a sick cast member in “The Male Animal,” at Worcester Academy of Dramatic Arts, which he attended to study acting but which he left 18 months later to appear on Broadway in “There Was a Little Girl,” starring Jane Fonda.

Eliza Kazan brought him to Hollywood in 1960 for the feature film, “Splendor in the Grass.” Slade also appeared in the feature “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.” On TV, he played in 14 “Gomer Pyle” episodes, “Rawhide,” Perry Mason,” and “Mr Novak.” In the latter he played a baby-faced narcotics pusher which led to his regular role in “The Wackiest Ship in the Army.”

Slade likes horses better than ships. “It’s every young actor’s dream to be in a Western. Since coming here in 1960 I only did one western episode. I had two lines to say. I never thought I’d be given a Western series.”

post Marie Gomez ‘Not Skinny Enough’ For Modeling

March 15th, 2009

Filed under: Vintage Reprint Articles — admin @ 2:52 pm
Marie Gomez

Marie Gomez

Vintage article reprinted from 1966

Put two glamour girls together and you can have big trouble. But Marie Gomez says that she and Claudia Cardinale got along beautifully during the shooting of The Professionals. That’s Richard Brooks’ big new adventure film, and it may make Marie a big star.

She’s an exotically beautiful creature, half-Friench, half-Spanish. “The Marie is French,” she says, “so be sure to put down Marie and not Maria.”

She used to be a model in New York, but had some problems. She couldn’t do high fashion layouts – she wasn’t skinny enough. “The photographers used to tease me,” she says, in her delicious French accent. “They said I had a face for Vogue but a body for Playboy.”

As for her realtionship with Cardinale, Marie shrugs and that’s an exciting gesure, because she has a lot to shrug with. “Why should we not get along? There were two girls in the script and she cannot play them both. She is nice – different from Gina Lollobrigida. Once, in Italy, I met Lollobrigida and she gave me a very funny look. I wonder why? I only just met her.”

post Linda Cristal reprint article

October 28th, 2008

Filed under: Vintage Reprint Articles — admin @ 8:22 am

Linda Cristal, TV Guide Diamonds are a girl’s best friend…but not always.

For example, diamonds are not a girls best friend if the girl (such as Linda Cristal of NBC’s The High Chaparral) happens to have an extensive collection of American Indian jewelry at a time (such as right now) when American Indian artifacts are skyrocketing in value and popularity. Linda bought her first piece several years ago, when the pilot for Chaparral was being filmed near Tucson. Since then she has built up a wide array of Navaho and Zuni jwewlry, which she models here. Her bracelets and necklaces, all hand-made (of silver and coral), left: silver and turquosie, at right), go well with her fresh and feminine Mexican dresses. Collections, of course, tend to expand, and Linda’s now includes the pre-Columbian figures and necklaces seen below. Linda’s collection, worth $5000 today, is steadily increasing in value, but she keeps it for decorative rather than financial purposes. And decorate is someting that it does extremely well.

Linda Cristal TV Guide article

Vintage TV Guide article on Linda Cristal

Thank you to HC fan and newsletter reader
Sandy Oster for generously sharing this vintage TV Guide article.

Sandy also sent scans from Linda’s appearance on Hollywood Squares, as well as a favorite book many will remember.

Linda Cristal TV Guide

High Chaparral BookHigh Chaparral Book

Thanks Sandy!

post Location:Desert

August 17th, 2008

Filed under: Vintage Reprint Articles — admin @ 3:34 pm

Vintage Article Reprint. This article is a reprint from around the time of the 3rd season. The photo quality is poor, since the original images were not in color and have deteriorated over time.

Location Desert

Mark Slade, High Chaparral vintage reprint article

Tucson, Arizona.

Mad dogs and Englishmen stay out in the midday sun. Not true! For ‘Englishmen’ read N.B.C. film stars, here making High Chaparral, and myself – for Mark Slade had invited me to watch the action in this beautiful, but hot, cowboy film resort.

Mark was not doing a lot in this episode so he was able to take me to see Old Tucson on my arrival. It should be here explained that Tucson is a thriving, but strictly twentieth-century city. Old Tucson is a village twelve miles into the desert which has been restored very authentically by the movie industry.
Mark just loves the old West and he told me as we drove through rocky hills and cacti of how he’d just visited Tombstone.

“My wife had to drag me away from the old diaries and expense accounts of Wyatt Earp that were all there in the museum. I was really fascinated.”

We walked around the village, which is also a tourist attraction, and finished up on the threshold of High Chaparral. I remarked how hot it was.

“Man,” said Mark. “Man, this is a real nice cool day. It’s only eighty-five!”
The next day I was to learn what he meant.

Henry Darrow as Manolito MontoyaI arose at 6 am, just like Henry Darrow. This was the day I realized that being a movie actor is 75 per cent UNGLAMOROUS AND VERY HARD WORK!

The conditions worked in were worse than anything I’ve experienced. As the heat bore up, the action moved from the desert into Old Tucson to the High Chaparral Home, but it’s only exterior shots of course.

It was a hundred and twenty in the shade.

Nearl all the menfolk of High Chaparral were there, Leif Erickson was soon joined by Cameron Mitchell, and the heat got hotter. So beat if in mind, Henry Darrow is the principal in this episode, and has been before the cameras more than anyone. Every day for two weeks he has risen at 6 am, and finished at 6 pm.

What’s so glam about that then?

The crowds visiting Old Tucson are held back some distance but still they stand and watch until some of them start to faint.

Cameron Mitchell told me: “They are not used to this sun. They are so keen to see us that they forget. They’re not even dressed properly. Every weekend during the summer season there’s an average of twenty-five people who collapse as they watch” Cameron told me how they fought the heat. They have tablets with salt and vitamins, ice water and tea are always on hand, one must stay out of the sun at all times until necessary and always wear a hat.

I felt giddy. Mark Slade soaked a cloth in ice water and put it around my neck and I recovered.

High Chaparral Henry Darrow Mark SladeLuckily this was the last day of shooting so we finished in the afternoon. We all headed back to the Hilton Hotel and dived into drinks and the beautiful pool there.

As we flew back Henry Darrow told me: No one knows the conditions that the actors and crews work under here. If you thought this was hot today it was nothing. The hot season is in July just when we are into the height of the series. Last year on one day it was one hundred and thirty in the shade. One of the crew stuck a thermometer in the soil and it read ONE HUNDRED AND SITY NINE! Many of us went under that day.”

All I could say was PHEW!

High Chaparral Leif Erickson, Mark Slade, Cameron Mitchell

post Mark Slade: Remember When?

August 7th, 2008

Filed under: Vintage Reprint Articles — admin @ 7:23 pm

Mark Slade from 16 magazine

Mark Slade:

Remember When?

Which magazine was your absolute ‘must’ back when High Chaparral was on the air? Do you recall this vintage photo from 16 Magazine of the current pin-up idol, Mark Slade?

Years have passed, we’ve all put away our go-go boots and fishnet stockings, but we still love High Chaparral. And the pin-up poster of the fresh-faced, sensitive Blue Cannon remains. The article that went with it is available too, so read it by clicking here.

Thanks to Ginny for sending along this great trip down memory lane for all to enjoy. Click on the photo to read the article.

New Posting at RedactedRedux

The Mark Slade Studio section RedactedRedux contains a new posting – In The Glow – 2007.This section of the Mark Slade website features a growing list of work by the artist, including a collection of witty cartoons.

post 1968 Hollywood Stars of Tomorrow Award Video

August 7th, 2008

Filed under: Vintage Reprint Articles — admin @ 7:11 pm

1968 Hollywood Stars of Tomorrow Award Video

In 1968, Linda Cristal received the Hollywood Stars of Tomorrow award for her work in High Chaparral. In a glimpse from the past, this vintage video shows Barbara Bain and Martin Landau, who were currently starring in Mission:Impossible, making two presentations at those awards, including Linda’s. Linda appears at the end of the clip, so be patient as the video runs.

(Can’t see or play the video? Open the newsletter in a web browser.)

post Linda Cristal’s NBC Biography

August 7th, 2008

Filed under: Vintage Reprint Articles — admin @ 7:04 pm

March 10, 2008

From NBC – The Full Color Network
Biography for Linda Cristal, Co-star, The High Chaparral, Sundays, NBC Television Network

Mechanical trouble on a ship sailing to Europe started Linda Cristal on her way to becoming Victoria Cannon, co-star of the NBC Television Network’s The High Chaparral.

Born Victoria Moya, Feb. 24 in Buenos Aires, Aergentina, daughter of a French magazine publisher and his Italian wife, she was raised by brothers Miguel and Antonio following the death of her parents at 13.

When she was 16, older brother Miguel sent her to Europe for further education but the ship put into Vera Cruz for repairs. Mexican producer-director Miguelito Aleman, son of the then president Miguel Aleman, spotted the raven-haired brown-eyed beauty. She was an immediate success in her first film, When the Fog Lifts. She starred in nine Aleman films in four years.

After three more Spanish-speaking films she noticed an ad in a Mexican paper for an actress who spoke English (she can speak English, Italian, French and Spanish) and obtained a co-starring role with Dana Andres in Comanche. She then worked opposite Gilbert Roland and Lorne Greene in Last of the Fast Guns.

Before coming to Hollywood under contract to Universal (1958-1963) she made a series of films for European producers in France, Italy and Yugoslavia. Linda’s Hollywood films include The Perfect Furlough, for which she won a Golden Globe Award, The Fiend That Walked the West, the feminine lead in The Alamo, and co-star in Two Rode Together. Linda has 30 films to her credit including American, Italian, French, Spanish and South American. Linda is the mother of two boys, Jordan, 3 and Gregory, 5 by her past marriage to producer-business man Yale Wexler.
NBC-New York, 8/1/67

post Cataclysmic Cameron Mitchell

August 7th, 2008

Filed under: Vintage Reprint Articles — admin @ 6:52 pm

January 7, 2008

Cataclysmic Cameron Mitchell

When he was in his 70’s, Cameron Mitchell sat down to talk with Tom
Weaver, the author of Double Feature Creature Attack.

By that point in his career, Mitchell was the reigning horror and slasher flick king, had appeared in over 300 films and uncounted television episodes, and was still working. In this interview, he talks about his globe-trotting lifestyle (“I feel like Willie Lowman, because I’m always packing my suitcases. I don’t think anybody’s traveled more than I have.”) , taste in films (“Many years ago, I liked every picture – and today, I don’t like any!”), famous role in Carousel (“I’m no singer.”), and encounters with out of the ordinary experiences (“I saw a flying saucer years ago, and I do believe in those things.”).

Click here to read Double Feature Creature Attack: The Cameron Mitchell Interview.

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