post Appaloosa Followup

April 25th, 2010

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By W. St. Germain

To the Readers:

AppaloosaI would like to thank you for your feedback about my Feb 2010 Appaloosa article and for pointing out that the horses ridden by James Arness and James Drury were not pure breed appaloosas. I was of two minds about this and everything I could find to try and confirm it either way said they both rode appaloosas. I could kick myself because I was going to invite readers to confirm this as I had a feeling they might be crosses. Lesson here, follow your hunches!

However, this has shown me what Penny has said all along; namely, what great people the newsletter readers are. I really do appreciate the feedback and the fact that people were so courteous in the way they pointed out that the horses were cross breeds and not pure.

By the way, the fact that James Drury rode an animal that was only 1/8 appaloosa shows how dominant the leopard gene can be. It is still recognisable yet only ‘distant’ as breeding goes. My sons would laugh and say, ‘There she goes again. Mum can’t help turning everything into a science lesson!’ (They’re right, I really must get out more).

It also illustrates another point. That the leopard gene’s expression in each appaloosa is unique means that each animal’s markings are unique. The possibilities that can appear as a result of carrying the gene are numerous and make it difficult in some cases, to do more than recognise its presence in a horse. This is part of the fun of the breed. They are all so very different in appearance yet so recognisable as a whole. This, and the fact that the appaloosa is the only breed I’ve ever owned, is why I chose to write about them first.

Nonetheless, I do apologise to everyonefor being inaccurate in suggesting the animals were purebreeds. As I said, every reference I could track down said they were even though I wondered if there might be some mix in them.

Next time, if I am unsure about something, I will be asking for your comments!

post Q&A

April 25th, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:11 pm

I heard about an old game called ‘Mumblypeg.’ How do you play it?


Mumblypeg! What a great word. I expect you also watched Gunsmoke this week since it was mentioned there. An astonished Festus Hagen was telling all who would listen, ‘Hey, did you know Doc Adams plays mumblypeg?!’ I wondered about it too.

Mumblypeg (also called mumbledepeg, mumblety-peg and mumble-the peg) is an old game of chance that was popular among boys many years ago. It was certainly popular in the Old West. The game was played using pocket knives, which explains its decline in popularity. With today’s child safety laws, schools would never permit it and neither would most parents. I understand a few people still play it but the children are taught to use sharpened pencils instead of knives. I’m not sure how well the point of a pencil measures up for this game.

Two players stood face to face with their feet about 18” apart. The aim of the game was to have each player throw his knife (called a peg) and have it land, point in the ground, as close as possible to… their own foot! Oh dear. Should the knife land anywhere in the foot, which did happen, the player won by default. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. I’m not sure I’d feel like much of a winner if that happened to me. The loser had to pull the knives from the ground using his teeth. Presumably, this led to his grumbling as he did it, hence the name Mumblypeg. Aside from the cuts, think of the tetanus risk this game presented!

And now a question for fans: Can you recall a scene where Buck and Blue play a form of mumblypeg?


What’s the difference between a bandito and a comanchero? They both seem like bandits to me.


A bandito, or bandit in English, is and always has been an armed thief or outlaw, usually belonging to a gang but can also travel alone. The word bandit comes from the word bandire meaning banned or to banish. Comancheros were originally nomadic traders of New Mexico. They adopted the name comanchero because the Comanche Indians were their best customers. In other words, the name came to represent those who traded with the Comanche. Their goods were not always the best quality and their sources sometimes questionable. This opened the door for the sales of stolen goods as well as those legitimately come by.

In 1961 the classic John Wayne movie, The Comancheros featured a band of criminals of mixed races; Indian, Mexican and white, all joined together to sell firearms and liquor to the Indians. They were called comancheros. It is probably this movie that led to the comancheros losing their identity as peddlers. Other movies followed, also presenting comancheros as gangs of bandits who either attacked towns and villages and/or sold stolen goods. Over time, what was originally a group of nomadic peddlers evolved into another form of bandit. The only difference between these ‘new’ bandits and the original banditos seems to be that while banditos tended to be the same race, the comancheros were a motley bunch of marauders that allowed for a mix of races to band together.

post Photos from Fans

April 25th, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:10 pm

Fans Plinio Romero and Woody Irvin send along vintage photos of Leif Erickson (Big John Cannon) and Linda Cristal (Victoria Montoya Cannon) for all to enjoy:

Leif Erickson John and Victoria Cannon

post In Memory, Bill Wistrom and Vincent Gutierrez

April 25th, 2010

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Producer Kent McCray at the 2009 High Chaparral Reunion

Bill Wistrom (left) with Kent and Susan McCray at the 2005 High Chaparral Reunion

Bill Wistrom

Veteran sound editor Bill Wistrom died on March 10, 2010 at the age of 74. He was the Supervising Sound Editor on The High Chaparral.

In the business for over fifty years, he edited sound sound effects on such classic films as To Catch a Thief, The Court Jester, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Ten Commandments, Funny Face, Vertigo, Hatari!, The Nutty Professor, and El Dorado. He was supervising sound editor on Bonanza during the entire run of that show (1959-1973). He also supervised the sound editing on shows like The Waltons, Kojak, and Falcon Crest. Most recently, he served as the supervising sound editor on all of the Star Trek spin-off series: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise.

Winstrom received 17 Emmy Award nominations throughout his entire career; he won six of them, four of which were for his work on Next Generation. He also won Emmys for the 1979 TV movie Friendly Fire and the 1982 TV movie Inside the Third Reich. Additional film credits include The Wind and the Lion, The Muppet Movie, ‘Raise the Titanic, and Silent Night, Deadly Night. In 2008, the was award the Career Achievement Award by the Motion Picture Sound Editors.

Vincent Gutierrez

Vince Gutierrez, a Primetime Emmy-winning sound editor and longtime governor of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, died in his sleep on Saturday, March 6, 2010 at his home in Indio, California.

Gutierrez, whose career spanned more than 40 years, earned credits on over 700 hours of network primetime programming as a sound editor. He also logged a number of writing credits.

Gutierrez began his career at Paramount Pictures in 1964 as a member of the Motion Picture Film Editors Guild. He later joined the NBC Productions editorial staff, working on The High Chaparral and Bonanza.

In 1974, he became a postproduction supervisor for Michael Landon Productions. During his years with Landon, he also wrote numerous episodes of the series Little House on the Prairie, Father Murphy and Highway to Heaven.

post News from our Readers

April 25th, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:09 pm

Reader Woody Irvine passes along the tributes at for Bob Hoy, Leif Erickson, Cameron Mitchell, Rudolfo Acosta, Frank Silvera, Nino Cochise, and guest star Alex Montoya.

post Lauren Levian: Defining Herself

April 25th, 2010

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Lauren Levian and Henry Darrow

Lauren Levian and husband Henry Darrow

One day in 1977, actress Lauren Levian rolled out of bed, threw on a sweatsuit, chugged a cup of coffee and went to audition for the part of Lizzie in The Rainmaker. “Lizzie is always complaining about being plain and people are always calling her plain. I looked quite right for the part because I looked awful!”

She knew that the star of the show, the man playing Starbuck, was a “name” actor and that he would decide who played opposite him as Lizzie, but that was all she knew. When she walked in, the play’s director introduced her to the star, a tall man in a black outfit, saying, “Lauren, I want you to meet Henry Darrow.”

Levian – not a big television-watcher to begin with – was attending college in the sixties and early seventies and too busy to watch TV. She had never seen The High Chaparral or heard of Darrow, but says, “I didn’t know who he was, but I knew he was really something! He walked up and gave me this big double-dimple smile. That perked me up and I thought, ‘Whoa! I’m the only woman in the play and I’m going to be with this hottie!’”

Part of her audition included a scene with a kiss between Lizzie and Starbuck. At that time, Levian’s teeth crossed in the front, reminding Darrow of screen legend Gene Tierney’s cute overbite. Unfortunately, when they kissed Darrow’s lip got caught in Levian’s cute overbite. When he pulled away, blood spurted everywhere. “How could he resist me after that?” she jokes.

He couldn’t and calls her “the best thing that ever happened to me”. They married in 1982. After years of living and performing in California, they moved to Wilmington, North Carolina in 2002. They share their lives with a number of friends and enjoy being part of the vibrant local arts community. Darrow keeps his hand in acting while Levian devotes her energies to their real-estate business. Their marriage has had its ups and downs, but the love, appreciation, devotion and sense of humor in their relationship is obvious and profound. Says Darrow, “Without her, I would be devastated.” And by the end of 2008, the possibility of an unhappy future without her weighed on his mind.

A routine mammogram showed suspicious cells in her left breast and this was confirmed by a follow-up mammogram. Levian scheduled a tissue biopsy to be certain. “I had it done on New Years’ Eve, December 31st, just to show you how exciting my social life is,” she recalls with a laugh.

Lauren Levian and Henry Darrow

Lauren Levian and husband Henry Darrow

The biopsy turned up mostly pre-cancerous cells, however there were a few cancerous cells. She says, “I couldn’t help but feel lucky and positive. If they hadn’t seen something on the mammogram, it could have just stayed there and developed. It was what is called ‘ductile’. It was not invasive and was basically at Stage Zero.”

Next, she had to choose the treatment — chemotherapy, radiation or mastectomy. To be on the safe side, she chose to have a mastectomy. Nearly a year after her initial mammogram, Levian is cancer-free. Throughout it all, including five surgeries, Darrow marveled at her upbeat attitude.

“It was harder on Henry than on me,” she says. “He couldn’t fix it and for men, fixing things is a way to show love. I wasn’t scared because I could feel what was going on inside me and I just knew I would be okay. I could feel some control. But Henry didn’t have any control and it’s difficult for men when they feel helpless.”

Still, her cancer brought them closer together. “We’ve always been close and had a lot of fun together, but it made me realize how important our relationship was for him and for me. It made us focus on how much we love each other and really appreciate each other.” She has also become much more conscious of her friends and making time to get together socially. “I’ve always been a work-oriented person and the cancer made me realize maybe that shouldn’t be the priority. The same things that made me grumpy before still make me grumpy, but I feel particularly lucky. I just look forward to things – to the holidays, to spending time with Henry and with my friends.”

Feeling lucky and accentuating the positive contribute to an optimistic attitude that Lauren Levian believes is a foremost weapon in the cancer survivor’s arsenal. “Having a good mental attitude is absolutely key! I’m probably this oblivious Pollyanna, but I just knew I would be fine,” she says. Although she wasn’t pleased with the way she looked in the mirror, it didn’t get her down. “It seems weird to say, but I thought of the way I looked with no breast and a messed-up left side as temporary. I thought okay, I’ll fix this eventually.” Although infections initially delayed reconstruction, Levian is satisfied with the results.

She isn’t satisfied that unlike her, low-income women in the Wilmington area don’t have access to mammograms. That lack of early screening is deadly. She notes, “If you catch breast cancer early enough, it’s very, very survivable. It’s so important to get mammograms, but the mammogram program for poor women was discontinued due to lack of funding.” Levian wondered how to help, then her husband brought a valuable new friend into her life.

While filming the western legends installment for the PBS series “Pioneers in Television”, Henry Darrow mentioned to producer Gail Calloway that his wife had breast cancer. It turned out that Calloway also had breast cancer and was then going through treatment. In no time, Levian and Calloway were fast friends discussing how to make educational materials and cancer screening available to low-income women.

One day, Levian joked that they should do a fundraising calendar. To her surprise, Calloway seriously thought it was a good idea. The two women set up a non-profit organization, The TaTa’s Sisterhood of the Cape Fear (Wilmington is in the Cape Fear region) for networking and breast cancer support. Then they recruited Alison Breiner, one of the premier photographers in the area, to shoot photos for the calendar.

Ready in the fall 2010, the calendar will be artistically rendered semi-nude photos of breast cancer survivors and will celebrate the beauty of women of all ages and shapes. Proceeds from calendar sales will be donated to Cape Fear area charities providing direct care to people with cancer, such as education materials, cancer screening and medical transportation for low-income people.

Lauren Levian stresses, “It’s important not to become your disease. My illness doesn’t define who I am.” Instead, her upbeat personality and big heart defined her illness, turning it into something constructive for herself, those who love her and her community.

For more information about the TaTa’s Sisterhood, to see an example of Alison Breiner’s photographs for the calendar or to order a calendar, please visit the TaTa’s Facebook page.

© 2010 Jan Pippins

Editor’s note: The Wilmington Star News carried this article about Lauren and the TaTa’s Sisterhood.

post Bob Hoy Memories from BarBara Luna

April 25th, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:08 pm

BarBara LunaDear Penny & High Chaparral Family:

It’s difficult to imagine that Bobby Hoy, the toughest Stunt guy in the businesss will no longer be with us. Remember in Arizona a couple of years ago when water on the steps caused him to slip and fall down the stairs coming out of the trailer? He was just so cool about it despite the fact he was dripping blood….even joking with the paramedics while they were bandaging his arm and leg…..”C’mon” he said…”this is kid stuff”…..I remember thinking…..he’s gonna outlive us all.

I’m sure glad to have had the opportunity to work with him on HC….Bobby was certainly dedicated to his portrayal of Joe Butler, the stunt world, and the Western World….but, beyond that….he was a dedicated human being….. an extremely caring person and great fun to be around…..obviously his loyalty to The High Chaparral family and their loyalty to him says it all.

My sadness is with his devoted wife Kiva, son Christoper and family for the loss of such a fabulous guy….. however, their’s so much about Bobby’s life to celebrate! Whenever anyone thinks of Bobby, they will always feel their heart smile…..I know I will.

With great respect and much love,

BarBara Luna

post Don Collier Radio Spot

April 25th, 2010

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Don Collier

Don Collier (High Chaparral’s ranch foreman Sam Butler) can be heard providing his one of a kind voice on a radio spot for conservative candidate J.D. Hayworth.

Hayworth is a U.S. Senate candidate in Arizona.

You can hear Don’s voice-over here and visit Don on Facebook, too.

post Henry Darrow East Coast Appearance

April 25th, 2010

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Henry Darrow, High Chaparral’s Manolito Montoya, will meet and greet fans on May 16th in New York, NY – a perfect opportunity for east coast fans to meet a favorite Chaparral star, get his autograph and a favorite photo or two.

Meet Henry at Your Second Childhood Memorabilia Show,
Sunday, May 16, 2010 – 10 am to 7 pm, at the Holiday Inn, 440 W. 57th St. New York, NY

SPECIAL FOR NEWSLETTER READERS!!! Take a printed copy of The High Chaparral Newsletter with you to Your Second Childhood Memorabilia Show and get a $5.00 discount off admission! Just print off the first page so the letterhead/logo shows and take it with you to the show.

Remember to visit

post The High Chaparral Reunion 2011 Survey

April 25th, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:07 pm

It’s hard to believe, but it’s time to begin thinking about the 2011 High Chaparral Reunion! And YOU can give us your input on how that Reunion should happen. Please take a few minutes to take The 2011 Reunion Survey, and tell us what you think. Click here to take survey.

One of the biggest questions to be decided is LOCATION – either Tucson or Los Angeles. Tucson remains a favorite with both fans and many cast members, and if we return there we can gather at the original Cannon ranch house while enjoying the authentic desert scenery and southwestern atmosphere. Overall costs tend to be lower as well.

However in Tucson we do have fewer guest stars and crew members attend because of travel expenses, so by having a 2011 Reunion in Los Angeles we will likely have a larger guest list. Individual fan costs may be higher in order to support having those guests and hotel and food costs might be higher in L.A.

Either way, consider carefully and let your opinion be known on location and other things like activities and time of year by taking the survey.

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