post Linda Cristal Birthday and Update

February 3rd, 2010

Filed under: Cast & Crew News,Interviews & Articles — admin @ 6:45 pm
Linda Cristalby Tina Sweet

Linda Cristal will be celebrating her birthday on Tuesday, February 23. If you would like to send best wishes to her on her birthday, please send these to me on or before Monday, February 15.

You can send email wishes to her to my personal email address at or if you would like to send her a card or write her note (or both), you can send to Linda at:

Linda Cristal
c/o Tina Sweet
368 Mary Gray Lane
Staunton, VA 24401

I will compile all email wishes and send them along with all cards on the 16th so she’ll receive them on time.

Linda has been doing very well and is currently working on a new project. When she is ready, I’ll share more details with you (I’d do it now, but try as I might, I can’t get her to give up any more information right now!! Even her daughter-in-laws have tried to no avail!!) Linda has been very amused at my efforts to extort information.

For those who wonder if Linda reads your cards and emails, yes she does. In fact, I will share with all of you something Linda shared with me recently. She told me not so long ago, that when she’s had a bad day or two, she takes out letters she’s received from High Chaparral fans and re-reads. They make her feel better and re-energize her. She has a very special place in her heart for High Chaparral fans.

post Cameron Mitchell Recording Born of a Simple Woman

February 3rd, 2010

Filed under: Interviews & Articles — admin @ 6:42 pm thanks to Rob Mitchell for sending along a rare recording by Cameron Mitchell. Thanks Rob!

Recorded in 1973 and written by Cameron, the reading with music is inspirational and interesting, and the record jacket cover has original artwork and a collage of photos.

Play Cameron Mitchell recording Born of a Simple Woman Click to Play Born of a Simple Woman by Cameron Mitchell

According to the jacket cover:

Cameron wrote ‘Born of a Simple Woman’ on a plane en route from Los Angeles to Nashville, for a charity benefit. He wanted to help. He helped! Later – others listened and were touched. Even His Holiness, Pope Paul heard it three times…and each time with tears in his heart and eyes. (His Holiness make three copies for the Vatican and himself.)

Born of a Simple Woman, Cameron Mitchell‘A classic. Should be immortalized.’ Thomas Curtis, Chairman of the Board, Corp. for Public Broadcasting.

‘The Legislature sat spellbound. The most moving recitation I have ever heard.’ Gov. John West

‘It truly reached us all deeply.’ Lt. Gov. Earle Morris

‘We were touched and blessed.’ Sen. James Waddell

‘A rare creation. Beautifully compelling.’ Orson Welles

‘It reaches the devout to the agnostic.’ Ray Spinks

‘A most noble, yet human happening talent. Love. Unique creativity. Cameron has said it all as he has it all.’ Sidney Poitier

‘Cameron Mitchell came to South Carolina to make a movie. he has done much more. He has left us with a part of himself that we are all grateful for.’ Henry Cauthen.

Born of a Simple Woman was recorded in 1973 by Cam Ray Productions, written by Cameron Mitchell, music by Charlie Spivak and Joe Huffman.

Born of a Simple Woman, Cameron Mitchell

post What happened to Blue?

August 25th, 2009

Filed under: Interviews & Articles,Question & Answer — admin @ 4:20 pm

From the Editor:

Nothing about High Chaparral creates more controversy than the unexpected absence of Blue Cannon in the 4th season. For whatever reason the writers and creative directors chose not to deal with The Case of the Missing Blue.

I’m in a unique position to comment on this, as I have what is likely to be the most extensive set of ephemera about High Chaparral in existence today. I also know quite a number of the cast and crew. After studying all of that, talking with many, many cast and crew members, the best I can say is – there is at this time no definitive answer, only a great number of rumors. Tabloid/newspaper articles of the time conflict wildly – “Mark asked for time off to complete a movie he was working on. Mark was fired, Mark wasn’t fired. David Dortort (creator of HC) says he felt Mark grew a bit old and needs to move on. Mark didn’t move on. Mark wanted more money. Mark didn’t want more money.’

Kent McCray (producer) and Rudy Ramos (Wind) both told me there were scripts with both Wind and Blue, and that David Dortort planned to bring Mark/Blue back for the 5th season. The McCrays insist Mark was not ‘off the show’.

I think you can’t believe all the newspaper/tabloid reports. Actually I KNOW you can’t believe what you read as practically everything I have in printed form conflicts in some way.  This includes published books. The true answer is probably lost in time. I also think if someone tells you they know ‘what really happened’ you should back away sloooowly and keep your hand on your wallet, they probably have a lovely bridge in Brooklyn they’ll sell you cheap.


What happened to Blue in the 4th season? I’ve heard if there had been a 5th season they were bringing him back – is that true?


Mark SladeBecause the character of Blue disappeared in the 4th season with no real explanation, fans continue to speculate on his fate. The June 10, 1970 edition of the Tucson Daily Citizen published an interview with David Dortort. In it, Dortort is quoted explaining why Blue was no longer regularly featured and indicating he would return.

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 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.

Read the entire Tucson Daily Citizen article contained in this edition of the newsletter.

High Chaparral wasn’t the only Dortort show changing in 1970, and Dortort was quoted again in the Arizona Sun on July 24 in an article titled ‘New TV Faces Start To Appear’ – David Canary departs the cast of “Bonanza” and will be replaced by 15-year-old Mitch Vogel, who was in “The Reivers.” On “High Chaparral,” Mark Slade leaves the nest and the new young male interest is Rudy Ramos. Both were victims of “aging.”

“There were so many stories we couldn’t tell because we didn’t have young people,” said David Dortort, who is executive producer for both shows.

post Tucson Tourist at the Reunion

August 25th, 2009

Filed under: High Chaparral Reunion 2009,Interviews & Articles — admin @ 4:19 pm

San Xavier

The beautiful San Xavier del Bac mission, where Hacienda Montoya was filmed

Location Tours — As Close As You Can Get

By Rusty LaGrange

It’s a good thing I traveled to Tucson with my family nearly ten years ago. It was the first of our HCDG get-togethers in Tucson. There were only six of us then. While we basked under the same sun that The High Chaparral had blistered in 30 years earlier, it gave me a good feeling. I could still share the limelight of outdoor production location shots. I could walk down Old Tucson’s main street and hear the director bark “cut”. I could still smell the black powder hanging in the still air after the stuntmen had blasted each other off the hotel roof.

People, many people, go on vacations to visit movie and TV location sites. Monument Valley is one of the most over-populated pilgrimages for tourists checking out the grandeur of John Wayne’s epic films, thanks to the vision of John Ford and other great producers who chose that specific spot to enhance the film’s image. You can purchase books written on just the outdoor locations across the US of movies and TV series.

Every October, hundreds of fans enjoy the memories of old Westerns filmed all around Lone Pine, CA. It’s where Audie Murphy and Randolph Scott  flew their private planes to do location shots, while the regular actors and staff rode in cars without air conditioning. Several of our HC fans traveled to Melody Ranch and Vasquez Rocks in Southern California to visit locations where numerous TV series gained fame while their actors captured bad guys and sunburns.

Ft Lowell

Visit the Ft. Lowell outdoor museum, just one stop on the Tucson Tour

So, I was eager to take on the assignment this year to design the ultimate tour for The High Chaparral Reunion. This 3-hour event will take us to a few select places that are near and very dear to our passionate  HC hearts. Although I wish we could roam the desert forever, I can show you where the actual filming of Don Sebastian’s great Lion Gate entry is, where the grand fountain and tiled courtyard introduced the opulence of the Montoya Hacienda, where the original downtown of Tucson has been restored to echo the lifeblood of Old Tucson, and, where the isolated lives of cavalry soldiers drummed on in a secluded and protected part of the city most don’t even know exist.

My bus tour plans originally started with me as your tour guide. I coulda done it. But then I came across the character that every tour bus ride should have, a guide that loves the West and is very familiar with The High Chaparral. In fact, he could be a reunion participant if it hadn’t been for me roping him down and hauling him away for the tour. His name is Brent Martin. He’s a lot of fun. He’ll fit right in.

So be sure you get ready for your tour during The High Chaparral Reunion on Sunday, Oct 18th from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm. We’ll meet at LaPosada. Take a hat, your bottled water, solid shoes, extra batteries for the camera, and any tip money you might want to toss to Brent, the perfect guide for The High Chaparral Reunion 09. I believe we have room for a few more riders if you wish to add yourself to the tour. There’s limited seating so contact Penny by mail or email to verify. Riders comin’.

post Perfectly Frank on KSAV

August 25th, 2009

Filed under: Interviews & Articles — admin @ 4:19 pm

High Chaparral Newsletter editor Penny McQueen will be a guest on Perfectly Frank Tuesday, August 4 at 7 pm PST/10 EST on

Produced by Susan McCray, the program continues an ongoing list of guests on Perfectly Frank who pick their top 10 Frank Sinatra songs.

You can hear the promo currently running on the KSAV home page – there are three promos cycling so be patient, and listen in for Penny on Tuesday.

Penny McQueen

High Chaparral Newsletter Editor Penny McQueen guests on Perfectly Frank, Tuesday, August 4 at 7pm PST, on

post Memories of Cameron Mitchell

August 25th, 2009

Filed under: Interviews & Articles — admin @ 4:16 pm
By Debbie Carlson

Cameron Mitchell as Buck CannonEditor’s Note: Fan Debbie Carlson knew the Cameron Mitchell family during The High Chaparral years, and graciously shared her memories with us in an article in the January 2009 Newsletter. In this follow-up, Debbie shares further memories of Mr. Mitchell and The High Chaparral.

I am so glad people are enjoying the article in your newsletter.  It was good to read that his line continues with the birth of the new baby.  I forwarded the newsletter to my sisters and best friend who all met Mr. Mitchell and knew how important he was in my life.  My sisters were older and into their own lives at that time so they didn’t really get the opportunity to know him but I know they will enjoy reading it.   Ironically my best friend was the babysitter for the Mark Leonard children.  He played Sarek, the father of Spock in Star Trek

Speaking of Star Trek, if only I knew then that it would be such a phenomenon, maybe we would have tried to get on the set!  One of the times I was on the High Chaparral set, Mr. Mitchell’s son Jake (Buck) and I were nosing around in the back of the studio, walking through an area where big tall boards were stored.  It was rather remote, dark and empty…we thought.  All of a sudden, we came around a corner and ran across a reptilian creature which scared the heck out of us.  It turned out this person was in costume and working on Star Trek.  He must have known Mark Slade because they were talking.  We didn’t go back into that area again!

Mr. Mitchell was shooting a scene on the interior High Chaparral set at Paramount.  I remember another actor who was portraying an indian being tied to a chair.  I was watching the scene when I found myself in Mr. Mitchell’s line of sight.  It was a very serious scene.  I then realized that he was staring straight at me.  I was riveted to the spot, unable to  move or even look away.  I remember thinking that I should move because I probably was in his way but I couldn’t budge.  There was a very long close to the scene, I’m guessing maybe they were moving in on his face for a close up although I don’t remember the camera moving.  He was perfectly still with the same facial expression for what seemed like an eternity.  Never in my life before or since have I been fixed to a spot like that by anyone, not able to move or even turn my eyes away.  I mention that experience because to me it’s a perfect example of what a powerful actor he was.

I haven’t seen any of the High Chaparral episodes in many years but my sister bought a complete set for me for Christmas, although I gather they’re from China or somewhere and not the best quality.  I remember that episode and it was a really good one.  One of these days I need to figure out which one it was and watch it again. (Ed. note: the episode was most likely The Assassins)

I think you were right about The Andersonville Trial.  Boy, I didn’t realize there were so many big names in that show but I do remember how anxious (in a good way) he was about working with George C. Scott, which I found odd considering his stature and all the big names he worked with over the years.  Maybe it was because of the Patton movie and what an incredible presence Mr. Scott was in that role.

Thanks again for sharing the newsletter with me.  It was a lot of fun to read.  I loved all of it.

post A Special Message from Henry Darrow

August 25th, 2009

Henry Darrow is making his plans to be at Tucson for the 2009 High Chaparral Reunion!

He sent a very special message to ALL High Chaparral fans, thanking you for your support of the show.

Here’s your message from Manolito Montoya – the incomparable Henry Darrow. He’s hoping to meet you in Tucson.

Play a special message from Henry Darrow

post Indian Contributions to Modern Day Culture

June 29th, 2009

Filed under: Interviews & Articles — admin @ 7:05 pm

by W. St. Germain

You can’t watch a western like The High Chaparral without encountering an Indian sooner or later. This proud and free people had their lifestyles changed dramatically with the settlement of the West. Having said that it wouldn’t’t have been easy for the white settlers either, they certainly paved a path to the present. However this article will focus on the Indians and their contribution to modern society. While I agree that their lives changed, often for the worse, and their culture was affected all was not lost. Hardly a day passes that we don’t say at least one word that originated from an Indian language. We’d certainly have different diets without them.

John Cannon Learns Apache in The High Chaparral

John Cannon learns to speak Apache in this scene from Last 100 Miles

Okay, so what are some examples? Well, the word okay for a start! It is a casual term of approval or agreement. We often spell it as OK or O. K. but the proper spelling is Okay which, when you think about it, does have an Indian look to it. I was surprised to learn that over half of the states in America, 27 to be precise, have names directly associated with Indian tribes.  There are numerous Indian groups and all have fascinating stories.  The next passage briefly describes and names four Indian tribes which have American states named after them. After reading it, see if you can guess which states are named after which group.

There are several subdivisions of Sioux Indians; the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota though all consider themselves of the same culture. The different first letters are only a pronunciation modification. Sioux is the name they use when talking to non-Indian people. What we call Illini are in fact called the Illiniwek Indians of the American Midwest. One of five South-Western Siouan tribes, the Kaw Indians are another group whose name has been altered to Kansa for English speaking people.

Which state do you think is named after the Dakota tribe? What about the Illini, Kansa and Massachuset Indians?

Some states are not named after Indian tribes but after the ways in which Indians described the landscape. Can you match the names below with the descriptions given?

Indiana                        Alaska             Mississippi                   Wyoming

  • The Great Land
  • Father of Water
  • Land of the Indian
  • The Great Plain

John Cannon Learns speaks with Cochise in The High Chaparral

John Cannon speaks with Cochise in Apache in The Last 100 Miles

But what about other words? Not all English speaking people live in the US and yet they use Indian terms too. Numerous food and animal names are of Indian origin, far too many to cite here but I’d like to share a few. For example, I recently helped my son research cashews for a school assignment. We learned all kinds of interesting facts about this delicious nut. We discovered that in 2007 Vietnam was the world’s largest cashew exporter. In 2009 The Ivory Coast (Africa) was the world’s second largest but guess who the world’s FIRST cashew producers were? You’ve got it, the Indians (who also named them for us). One wonders what Vietnam and The Ivory Coast would have as their major exports were it not for the Indians.

Other yummies like strawberries, blueberries and of course maple syrup are often associated with North America so it might be less of a surprise to learn that we have the Indians to thank for cultivating those too. However, fruits like the persimmon, guava and pawpaw are often considered exotic imports – because these days, they are usually imported. But guess who we have to thank for naming and cultivating those items? Yes, you’re seeing a pattern here aren’t you? Persimmon was a particular surprise. For some reason, I always associated them with Jerusalem in Israel, largely because every time I watch a movie about Jesus he, or people around him, seem to be eating them. Funny how we make up our minds about things isn’t it?

Scene from The Hanging Offense, The High Chaparral

Buck and Mano go to the Apache camp to speak with Cochise in the scene from Hanging Offense

We often associate the humble potato with the Irish but… you’ve got it! The many varieties, which could make up an article in themselves, are all with us thanks to the Indians. I have a great weakness for pecan pie and owe them a huge thank you for bringing the pecan to our attention – and into my life. Avocado, tapioca and even tomatoes – you wouldn’t think it would you? I bet every reader has more than one of the very few foodstuffs I’ve mentioned here, in your homes as you read. Everything I have described has an Indian name for which there is no English translation.

Kayaks, hammocks, toboggans and – a great love of both Americans and Aussies – the barbecue are all Indian creations, again with names for which there is no English translation. What about animals? One would expect a people so closely connected to the land would have names for the animals they’ve encountered. I was aware that some animals had Indian names. When I questioned people if they knew of any, the names moose, caribou and squirrel seemed well known but did you know that the mighty jaguar and cougar were also Indian names? So are coyote and skunk.

Naturally, I wanted to know which fashions could also be credited to this wonderful people (I was positive there would be something!) The first one isn’t exactly fashion but imitations are now for sale everywhere in the western world. I’m talking about the Indian Dream Catcher. I see them in windows of houses and dangling from rear view mirrors of vehicles. The original models are traced back to the Ojibway (Chippewa) Indian.

Traditionally, Dream Catchers were small round, or tear shaped, rings of willow with a loose webbing of sinew or later, wools. They were decorated with feathers, beads or other small objects of importance. These dream ‘filters’ were hung over a sleeping child’s bed with the belief that only good dreams could pass through and into the child’s mind. Nightmares were trapped like a fly in a spider web. What a beautiful idea.

Obviously, if they’re hanging in vehicles dream catchers are looked upon by many as merely decorative since one would hope the driver didn’t intend to sleep behind the wheel. Nightmares would certainly be the last thing they’d have to worry about. New Age stores are a popular place to buy them and I’ve seen some huge and elaborate ones. I often wonder what the Indians must think of those.

Buck and Manolito trade horses with Cochise in The High Chaparral

Manolito and Cochise converse in Apache in this scene from Hanging Offense

Indian tribes were usually recognized by the ornamentation they wore. This includes the fringed leatherwear. Moccasins, mukluks and parkas are also of Indian design.

Beading techniques, ribbon work and Seminole patchwork are admired and copied by fashion designers worldwide. The Seminole patchwork bears a striking resemblance to much of the distinctive Mexican clothing we are familiar with. This isn’t surprising since Indians were found along the borders of Mexico’s Northern state of Coahuila.

Clearly, while we changed their world permanently, they too, changed ours. Imagine a world without the things I have described. When I think that this is only a drop in the bucket… Well, there’s no question we have much to thank them for.  Okay (couldn’t resist using it) I’ll close and wish you good health and fine weather. If you get any blizzards or hurricanes, thank the Indians for giving the names of those events to the weather forecaster.  I’m going now, to make a salad for my lunch. It’s a variation on the potato salad where I add cherry tomatoes and chunks of avocado. For dessert I will have a fruit salad; strawberries, blueberries, apple, and persimmon. Being a pecan lover, I might even sprinkle a few of those over it. Pity there’s no time to bake a pecan pie.

I really must thank the Indians for my lunch. Without them, I’d be looking at a bowl of lettuce.

post Don Collier Interview

June 29th, 2009

Filed under: Cast & Crew News,Interviews & Articles — admin @ 6:59 pm

Don Collier as Sam Butler, The High Chaparral

In 2006 Don Collier chatted with Susan McCray’s Getting To Know You, and the result is available in this archived interview. They talked about The High Chaparral, how much they enjoy Reunions, Cameron Mitchell, shooting in Tucson, and the friendship and enjoyment the cast had together.

Susan Sukman McCray message

Listen to many more High Chaparral interviews and audio clips on The High Chaparral Newsletter website Audio Archives page.

Thank you to Susan McCray for providing this great interview clip. Listen to Susan every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Pacific and 9:30 p.m. Eastern on

post About Our Authors

June 7th, 2009

Filed under: Interviews & Articles — admin @ 6:07 pm
About Our Writers

Penny McQueen headshotarrow Penny McQueen is the editor, publisher, webmaster and main contributor to The High Chaparral Newsletter and website. She is an experienced Information Technology executive working at a major medical manufacturing firm. With a background in technology, department, vendor and project management, large systems purchases, budgeting, analysis, marketing, and an ability to work across all levels of an organization, her writing includes design and technical documentation as well as executive and client presentations.

Penny is the webmaster for Susan McCray, provides web editing for Don Grady, and is the web designer for Share-A-Vision Productions. She serves as the business and project manager for The High Chaparral Reunion 2009.

When not gathering Chaparral related news or working on the next High Chaparral Reunion, she occasionally writes fiction, scuba dives, travels, and fights off Apache in her back yard.

Jan Pippins, authorarrowIf Jan Pippins didn’t write, she’d have spare time.

If she didn’t have horses, she’d have more money.

In spite of being short on time and horse-poor, she’s a pretty happy person.

Jan is currently working with Henry Darrow on his biography, Lightning in a Bottle.

Rusty LaGrangearrowRusty LaGrange is a freelance writer specializing in concept and sales writing for small businesses.

She’s a member of the R Bar Regulators, an award winning Western reenactment group.  In her character as Rusty Rose of the Rusty Bucket Ranch, new school marm and museum curator, she shoots everything from black powder single shot rifles (just like the one Manolito shot in the first HC episode) to ladies’ derringers, Colt 45s, Marlin rifles, Winchester double actions, shot guns of many calibers, and the fast draw. She’s been known to hit every one of her targets.  She writes western novels as a hobby and is one of the original Yahoo High Chaparral Discussion Group members.

arrowTanja Konstantaki is our Foreign Correspondent – she makes her home in Crete, and is a steadfast fan of Blue Cannon and Mark Slade.  She enjoys the visual arts, playing with photography and computer videos for her friends, and occasionally writing.

arrowWendy St. Germain is an experienced writer and co-author of many titles.  A Science graduate from Sydney’s prestigious Macquarie University, she specializes in Zoology & Genetics with a particular interest in the rehabilitation of large, captive carnivores. She has written nearly three dozen non-fiction books, most of which are science texts, independently or co-authoring with highly respected biochemist, Peter Gribben.

Her works are popular and are gaining an international audience due to her unique ability to explain complicated science topics in ways that are clearly understandable. The relaxed approach she brings to her writing explains much of Wendy’s appeal. Published science works include several titles written in conjunction with the notable Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, numerous other educational resources including CDs, teaching programs, practical activities and testing materials. Wendy has also written several children’s books.

When not writing or co-authoring her own material, Wendy works as a free-lance Science Consultant, Project Manager, Reviewer, ghost writer and tutor to her home schooled children.  She is also studying screen writing with a view to expanding her writing skills. An author with a vivid imagination, who has also studied the art of writing for children and teens, Wendy continues to write, promising to keep her readers happy for many years to come.

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