August 2nd, 2008
Sept 2, 2007
The incredible 40th Anniversary High Chaparral Reunion was a huge success, and with guests like Kent McCray, Henry Darrow, Bob Hoy, and Don Collier, it was truly a once in a lifetime event. Many newsletter articles will follow based on the generous stories and behind-the-scenes tales provided by the guests, but this special post-reunion edition focuses on:
* A recap of a few of the guest stars, production crew, and family members who joined loyal fans in L.A. to celebrate The High Chaparral
Malachi Throne guest starred on Chaparral three times: as Matar in Bad Day for a Bad Man , and in Part One and Two of New Lion of Sonora as Julio Armendaris. Though we know him as a bandido, Malachi has played every type of character imaginable. Did you know he turned down the role of Dr. McCoy on the orginial Star Trek? Visit his official website here.
Still dashing 40 years after his HC role, Mr. Throne made a point of socializing with all the fans at the reunion.
Greg Walcott had 2 performances on The High Chaparral – Truscott in No Bugles, No Drums , and Captain Winslow in Auld Lang Syne. Greg appeared on Bonanza 7 times! Rawhide fans saw him 5 times, and Laramie episodes numbered 4. The work on Rawhide must have established a bond with Clint Eastwood, because Greg appeared in 4 Eastwood movies. Greg is as handsome as ever, with silver white hair, and a lovely smile. His smooth, southern drawl is enchanting, especially when he says every Chaparral fan is a, “beautiful, lovely woman.” His wife beamed and encouraged hugs, saying her husband gave great ones – and he did indeed!
Morgan Woodward’s official website is here. He was a guest on Chaparral on seasons 2, 3 and 4 in the episodes Buffalo Soldiers, The Journal of Death and The Badge. But Gunsmoke wins the prize for having Morgan appear 19 times! He rode the Wagon Train for 12 episodes and visited the Ponderosa on 8 occasions. Morgan and Don Collier both appeared in the made for TV movie Gunsmoke: To the Last Man. They each played sheriffs. Joining the reunion halfway through because of fires near his home, Morgan was so impressed by the brunch and arrangements he tried to insist on paying. “I’ve never seen anything like this party,” he said. “No other fan group puts on anything like this, and I go to all of them. I can’t believe the following High Chaparral has, and I appreciate so much being included.”
Jack Lilley was the stunt double for Leif Erickson on The High Chaparral. In this photo from April 2007, Jack (right) inducts Phil Rawlins (also a guest at the High Chaparral Reunion) in City of Santa Clarita’s 2007 Walk of Western Stars. Check out the website for Jack’s company, Movin’ On Livestock. Jack and his son Clay supply horses, mules and wagons for movies and TV.
Milt Hamerman did casting for Bonanza before before he went to work for The High Chaparral. In between he did casting for the TV series Hogan’s Heroes.
Susan McCray worked in the casting office of The High Chaparral. Today we know her as the host of the internet radio show Getting to Know You with Susan McCray and the author of the children’s book about her father, Harry’s Piano. Susan’s father, Harry Sukman, composed the music for The High Chaparral.
Kent McCray (right, with David Dortort center) began his work in television in 1951 on the Colgate Comedy Hour – when everything was live! He worked with such legends as Red Skelton, Bob Hope, and Dinah Shore. Kent was the associate producer for Outlaws (starring Don Collier) and then for Bonanza before joining The High Chaparral. He was associate producer, and then producer for Little House on the Prairie as well as two other Michael Landon show, Father Murphy and Highway to Heaven.
Kent said about working on High Chaparral, “It would get so hot in Tucson, I’d see ten people all lined up in the shade of one saguaro cactus!”
Anne Erickson, wife of Leif Erickson (Big John), attended with her grandson, BJ McDonald. (photo by Donna Bush)
David Dorort attended with his daughter Wendy Czarnecki.
Rob Mitchell, grandson of Cameron Mitchell, was present, along with many other family members.
Camille Mitchell, daughter of Cameron Mitchell (Buck), planned to attend the reunion, but injured her back and had to cancel at the last minute, saying, “I thank you so very very much for your invitation and kind words about my Father. It gives me great joy to know he lives on so lovingly in others people’s hearts as well as ours. I wish you and all at the High Chapparal a fantastic reunion! I have such fond memories of all the wonderful talented folks involved with the show and I applaud the hard work involved on your part in orchestrating such a great event – I hope we can get there next year!” An accomplished actress, Camille played Sheriff Nancy Adams on the TV series Smallville.
MANY OTHER guests attended the reunion – all were appreciated and honored for their role in creating The High Chaparral. Watch for more photos and stories in future newsletters!