post he Last Word…Merry Halloistmas

November 13th, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:07 pm

By WJ St.Germain

I recently watched an episode of High Chaparral (on DVD!) where the townsfolk were preparing for Thanksgiving. The holiday was a day or two away and only then was the decorating being done. I thought, boy have times changed.

I don’t know how things work where you live but around here, I am seeing lines blurring all over the place. Late in August, the local department stores started putting up their Christmas trees. The shoppers sure don’t put their decorations up that early (if you ignore my eccentric neighbor whose kangaroo pulled Santa sleigh is on display 365 days a year).

Nearby, the dreaded Halloween display was also coming to life. Given that in the 25 years I have lived here, only one child has ever knocked at my door, I wonder why stores continue trying to force this holiday on Aussies. Since I had nothing to give said child, I offered her a bunch of roses from my garden (she complimented them). The little girl looked positively scandalized, informing me that, – in case I didn’t know – ‘You’re meant to give lollies’. Reluctantly, she took them. Her compliments were clearly an attempt to increase her candy haul because I found them in the hedge the next morning.

It was this blurring of the lines that led me to meet a charming little cowboy at the store so I thought I’d tell you about him.  While browsing through summer clothes designed for tiny women who have clearly never had children, I noticed a beautiful little boy of about five standing in a trolley looking at the Christmas/Halloween decorations. He had big brown eyes with eyelashes women would kill for, brown hair and gorgeous little white teeth. He was dressed like a cowboy, complete with plastic pistol in holster which, given today’s obsession with not letting children have any fun that might be considered offensive to others, surprised me.

His mother was busy holding the tiny clothes up against her in front of a mirror. As she was present, I asked the child if he had a favorite cowboy.

‘All cowboys’ was the reply.

Then to my surprise and horror, his mother asked if he wanted to wait there (talking to a stranger!) or outside the nearby change rooms. He opted to stay with the decorations while she disappeared with what looked like half the stock from lady’s wear. I noticed she took her handbag with her yet the precious child was left unattended. I decided to hang around to be sure he was safe.

The decorations for both holidays were nearby and the trees were at the perfect height for the boy to reach. He started decorating one. Selecting several jack-o-lanterns, he hung them on the lower branches.

I pointed to some nearby baubles and said, ‘You’re meant to hang those. Do you want me to get you some?’

He shook his head. ‘They don’t have faces, these do.’

So onto the tree went the smiling pumpkins. I told him I loved his outfit.

‘When I grow up I’m going to be a cowboy,’ he informed me. ‘You can garn’tee that.’

‘Really? Where will you live?’ (As in the USA or here?)

He looked puzzled. ‘On a ranch of course. With heaps of cows. Daddy said cows are expensive so I will only buy six to start. All girls so I can get milk from them when they aren’t having babies. Boys don’t give milk, you know.’
‘But you need at least one boy cow to have babies.’

He considered the comment while hanging a few witches on the tree.

‘Then I’ll get six of those instead.’

He had much to learn about raising beef but it wasn’t my place to explain the flaw in his plan.

‘I’m going to learn to wrangle, too. You can garn’tee that.’

I don’t know if he’d seen High Chaparral but his repeated use of the word ‘garn’tee’ suggested he tuned in to the daily episodes of Gunsmoke and was a fan of Festus Hagen.

I handed him an angel but he shook his head and held up another witch. ‘These are better.’
‘Why? Angels are prettier.’

‘I know.’

‘Then why are you hanging witches on the tree?’

The budding display designer paused. ‘Because witches are smarter about flying.’

‘Smarter? How?’

He put a howling ghost down and explained.

‘Witches can put their brooms away when they’re finished. Angels are stuck carrying their wings everywhere. I reckon they’re pretty heavy and you can garn’tee they weigh heaps when they come out of the shower.’ He leaned over and whispered. ‘They can’t take them off you know.’

I couldn’t resist. ‘Have you ever seen an angel in the shower? They might prefer baths.’

He rolled his eyes. ‘The wings are too big to fit in a bath. Even you should know that.’

Even me?

‘Don’t you have any shopping to do?’ he asked, considering whether to select a spider or another ghost.

‘I thought I’d hang around until you mother returns. Just to make sure you’re safe.’

He shrugged. ‘You’ll be hanging around for a while. She’ll try on a million things that won’t fit then come back really cranky, hang them all up on a rack where they don’t belong and say, ‘Here we go, back to the fat lady section.’
‘Does she leave you alone this way often?’ I asked.

‘Only when she tries on clothes that don’t fit. I’m usually left in the trolley outside the change rooms where the lady at the desk can see me. This is better. There’s nothing to look at over there except socks and panties. Socks are boring and ladies panties are gross.’

‘Does she often try on clothes that don’t fit?’

He selected a ghost.

‘Every time we come here. I think she keeps hoping that one day they will. When I asked her why she didn’t just go to the fat lady section first, she got mad. Daddy said never to say fat lady and mummy at the same time so now I just wait. I’ll scream if anyone tries to steal me.’ He gave me a warning look. ‘I’ll do it if you try, too. And I’ll bite you if you touch me.’

‘I don’t intend to steal or touch you,’ I said, aghast at the suggestion.

‘Good, because you seem like a nice old lady.’


He carefully hung the howling ghost onto a branch then pointed to the white tree nearby. ‘They need to make black ghosts so that people who buy white trees can hang ghosts on them.’

‘You don’t quite get how these holidays work, do you son?’ I asked, still recovering from the threat of being bitten.

He shrugged. ‘Sort of.  I hang cowboys on our tree.’

‘You have cowboy decorations?’ I handed him the cottony cobwebs since I knew a garland was clearly out of the question for this child.

He nodded. ‘I’ve got billions of them. Daddy buys me big bags of them. My brother gets army men but I prefer horses and cowboys. When you take the cowboys off the horses their legs have a big gap in them so they can’t stand up properly but they hang on trees okay.’

He giggled, flashing his little white pearls. ‘I put nooses around their necks.’

‘How festive.’

‘Do you know what a noose is?’ he asked.

I nodded. ‘Doesn’t it seem a bit creepy having men hanging on your tree?’

‘It doesn’t hurt them.’

‘Are you sure?’

Convinced he was speaking to someone of limited intelligence he slowly said, ‘They’re made of plastic.’

Satisfied he’d done all he could within his reach, the patient child took a small step back to admire his work.

‘I reckon every Christmas tree should have cowboy stuff on it?’

I nodded. ‘Horses would look pretty.’

‘I hang them, too.’

‘Using a noose?’

He shook his head. ‘If they aren’t hanging by a cowboy I stick branches between their legs.’

‘You could do that with the bowlegged cowboys, you know. That way they don’t have to hang.’

‘I tried that but mummy thought it looked disgusting so I hang them.’

I thought about it. Mummy had a point.

‘You should hang something cowboyish on your tree this year.’

‘Okay I will.’

Finally, Mummy returned looking extremely agitated. Jamming everything onto a nearby rack, the child gave me a knowing look.

‘It’s off to the fat lady section, AGAIN!’ she grumbled.

Oblivious to me, she hurled her handbag into the trolley with her son and they left at an alarming speed.

With a wave he called out, ‘Don’t forget!’

‘I won’t.’

I wonder what my family will think when they see a few horses on our tree this year. I know the patient little cowboy would like that. In fact, I can garn’tee it.



November 13th, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:05 pm


by Marianne Rittner-Holmes

That Executive Producer David Dortort created The High Chaparral and Bonanza? Both shows aired at the same time, with Bonanza running from 1959 to 1973, and The High Chaparral from 1967 to 1971.

The two shows often shared staff (Kent McCray, associate producer/production manager), stunt personnel (Henry Wills, who doubled for Pernell Roberts and was the stunt coordinator for THC), and music composers (Harry Sukman).

They also shared wardrobe, as you can see below in these saloon shots! Bonanza is on the left and The High Chaparral is on the right.

post Big Daddy, Honorary General and So Much More!

November 13th, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:05 pm
by Marianne Rittner-Holmes

Did You Know: That High Chaparral production manager Kent McCray, affectionately known on-set as “Big Daddy,” was associate producer of Bob Hope Christmas specials overseas for three years in the late 1950s? Kent was working as a unit manager in live TV when he met the famous comedian. Their association led to Hope asking Kent to join him on the project in 1956.
Kent would travel to each military base to lay out the shows in advance for the home-sick soldiers, seamen, airmen and Marines. When Hope arrived at Base 1, Kent produced 21 shows over 14 days, including travel, accommodations, ground transportation and logistics for a troupe of 70 people! The military bestowed the honorary rank of First Star General on Kent and also recognized him for his patriotic service to entertain the troops.
After his work on Outlaws (yes, Kent worked with Don Collier in 1960), THC and Bonanza, Kent and Michael Landon teamed up to bring the much-acclaimed Little House on the Prairie, Father Murphy and Highway to Heaven series to the TV screen. They produced some award-winning TV movies, as well.
Kent, shown below with a pipe in his mouth, and wife Susan, who was casting director for many productions, will be on hand at the March 2014 Reunion. (THC creator David Dortort is wearing glasses and looking at the script in the photo.)
They offer spell-binding stories from behind-the-scenes, like how the neighbor’s ranch house accidentally caught fire during the first episode! Ask him about it yourself. Come join General Big Daddy at the resort and ranch house in Tucson in March!

post Uncle Buck’s 95th Birthday!

November 13th, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:04 pm

by Marianne Rittner-Holmes

Cameron Mitchell was born in Pennsylvania on November 4th in 1918, the fourth of 7 children and the oldest son. In the photo, he is seen sitting on his mother’s lap, his father standing behind. Three older sisters are on the left. Just look at those famous curls!
Cameron, a multi-faceted entertainer, starred in hundreds of productions on radio, on Broadway, in films and television over his 49-year career. Before going to Hollywood, he even had his own radio show as a teenager in the York, PA, area, playing piano and singing, his sister joining him often.
After his service in World War II, Cam made his movie debut in “What’s Next, Corporal Hargrove” in 1945. Other movies followed both in the U.S. and in Europe until in 1967, he found himself cast as the colorful and highly-popular Buck Cannon, brother of Big John and uncle to his “blooded nephew,” Blue Boy. He worked up to the year of his death in 1994.
If you want to find out more about your beloved High Chaparral cast and characters, join us all at the High Chaparral Reunion in March. The memories you make will last a lifetime.

post Follow Your Heart

November 13th, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:02 pm

Follow Your Heart

Follow Your Heart is an episode of The High Chaparral that’s especially close to my heart because it’s such a wonderful script by Denne Petitclerc.  From the minute I saw the script I knew it was something special, then I was surrounded by the best people to work with like Miriam Colon and all the High Chaparralfolks – the bunkhouse, Cannons, Montoyas, and our director Bill Claxton.  I knew it couldn’t go wrong.

Bobby Hoy and I were like brothers in real life and that bond is evident in this episode.   Follow your Heart is important to me because it shows both the closeness of the Butler brothers Sam and Joe and the bond between the brothers Don and Bobby.
Once in a career, if you’re lucky, you get the chance to work on a show like TheHigh Chaparral.  Every day was a highlight in my career and we really were all like family.  Then to get an episode like Follow Your Heart is truly once in a lifetime.
~Don Collier

You can get a personally autographed DVD from Don Collier of Follow Your Heart, his special episode.

post Salem’s Lot

November 13th, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:01 pm

Music Composed and Conducted by HARRY SUKMAN
INTRADA Special Collection Vol. 256

Harry Sukman’s music for the 1979 miniseries Salem’s Lot is rooted in the decades-long conventions of traditional, gothic horror-transposing its sense of dread to Maine via stabbing percussion, church organ, creepy bell glissandos and shivering strings. Right from the Main Title, which stabs forth with full, orchestral fury before seguing into the raucous, rhythmically evil flourish of a danse macabre, listeners can tell they are in for a thrilling, fresh journey into terror.  Main baddie Kurt Barlow is not seductively handsome like Count Dracula, and so Sukman plays these trappings of classic horror music without the dark, romantic flourishes.

Sukman composed and conducted some two hours of music for Salem’s Lot, including roughly 90 individual cues. Many of them were short, others were intended to be edited together during postproduction. He also wrote three source cues (only one of which was used) and arranged a Vivaldi work for source material as well.  Intrada had access to the complete three-channel stereo scoring session masters, vaulted by Warner Bros and in pristine condition. Since these elements included the January 1980 scoring sessions for the later edited-down version of the miniseries, Intrada is also able to present the additional three cues recorded specially for the edited versions of the movie, including the exciting End Credits cue Sukman composed.

The story of Salem’s Lot originates from Stephen King’s own nightmares, leading him to wonder what would happen if a European master vampire set up home “in a sleepy little country town.” That creature became Kurt Barlow, who takes up residence in the Marsten house, a death-filled dwelling long regarded as evil by the residents of Jerusalem’s Lot-especially by famous writer Ben Mears. The author has been drawn back to his old haunt to write about the “inherently evil” mansion now occupied by Richard Straker, who’s opening an antique shop for his absentee landlord and business partner, Barlow. But Straker’s real mission is to pave the way for Barlow to suck the life out of the town by unleashing a wave of vampire slaves — monsters that only Ben and his small band of believers can stop.

INTRADA Special Collection Vol. 256
Retail Price: $29.99
Available Now
For track listing and sound samples, please visit


post What I Learned From High Chaparral

November 13th, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:09 am

by Ginny Shook

Guess I learned a thing or two from watching The HighChaparral. Wasn’t every person who lived on the ranch a multi-tasker? Able to fulfill any sort of job asked of them by Foreman Sam Butler or Big John himself…whether they thought they were capable or not? After a while, they didn’t even need orders. They could see what needed to be done and they stepped up and did it. Their amazing fortitude and pro-activeness (whether that word existed back in the 1800s or even in the late 1960s when the show first aired) helps me today to face the challenges of modern life.

Once upon a time I was just a High Chaparral fan. As a big Joe Butler supporter, I decided that Bob Hoy deserved to have a website. I didn’t know a single thing about building websites but I couldn’t let that stop me. Didn’t John Cannon build the High Chaparral on a dream? When something is meant to be, everything just sort of falls into place. I contacted the webmaster for Don Collier’s website, asking for advice. Wouldn’t you know, she was looking for someone to take over Don’s site. And not only did she know about websites, she had even taught several courses on the subject for newbies like me. How perfect could it be? The training couldn’t have been easier. After I learned the ins and outs I started on Bob’s site. Long story short, in a year I was a webmaster of not one but two High Chaparral cast member’s websites. My two favorite cast members, I might add.

Before too long we had started selling their autograph photos. Bobby got Henry Darrow, Linda Cristal, Ted Markland (who also wanted a website) and Rudy Ramos involved. And then I was booking them into festivals and fan events. I met Susan and Kent McCray and did a website for Susan’s new internet radio show. All because there was a need for these things and I decided, even though it was all new to me, that I could do it. When Don and Bobby tell you that you can do something, you believe it!

Of course, times change. Penny McQueen’s incredible talent has created a whole newHigh Chaparral Universe. She even has her own production company, aptly named A Penny For Your Thoughts Productions, from which she will take good care of Big John’s legacy.

Me? I am going through another learning process, just like the Boss requires. Like so many others, the company I’ve worked for (that paid the bills so I could have my HighChaparral fun) is closing its doors. I’ve started my own business, working with the Avon Company, which is fun and exciting…and hopefully lucrative. Okay, I also feel like the Apaches and Comancheros are constantly waiting just outside the door in an attack to rival the one in The Arrangement, but like the Cannons and the ranch hands, there is also a feeling that I can do this! If I’ve learned anything from The High Chaparral, it’s that learning and the hard work, and a little bit of fear, never end.  But the rewards can be great.

(If you’re interested in checking out Avon, either for their great, low-cost products or because you’d like to start your own business, too, check out my Avon website: . There is a Contact Me link right at the top of the page.)