post Focus on FanFiction

January 13th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:35 pm
Fan Fiction has a long history – it dates at least as far back as the tales of Chaucer. Charlotte Bronte wrote it, as did fans of Alice in Wonderland and Sherlock Holmes   The High Chaparral has many fan writers and stories.  

Southern Cross

by Penny McQueen

That were a real bad year, don’t care what nobody says. Big John scared the life outa all ‘a us. Total ee-ex-austion, Doc Plant said. Plain as anything, almost three years worryin’ this ranch nearly worried him to death.

Mano was set to go live with his Daddy and marry that Mercedes girl, ‘cept comancheros done killed her. He didn’t laugh so much after that, seemed like.

Trece Burnette took a bite outa Blue, she’s one woulda been em-proved by the caboose of a train. Onliest thing she done was show Blue Boy they’s some women you best trust like a Chinese faro deck. She were her Daddy’s daughter, and the good Lord knows Gar Burnette was a low-down rattlesnake.

But Blue weren’t hisself even before her. When a boy don’t eat good food, sumpin’ ain’t right. I tole my brother, but did he listen?

“Brother John, you best ease up on that boy a mite.” It makes him mad as fire when I bother him in his office, but I don’t care worth owl spit.

“Buck, will you and Victoria stop worrying?” John Boy tossed his brand new Eagle pencil plumb off his desk. You’d think he’d learnone ‘a these days when he throws things, they don’t walk back to him, don’t matter how hard he gives ‘em the evil eye. We both stared at his pencil a-laying on the floor until he shoved back them ledger books and grumped, “Why is it when a boy grows up and shows some gumption, everyone on this ranch thinks he’s running a fever?”

“Fever?” Why I try with that hard-headed, mule-stubborn, bone-stupid brother of mine beats me. “He ain’t got no fever. What he got is a real bad case of Big John Cannon.” Like usual, I headed out the door and didn’t stop ‘til I hit the saloon in Tucson. Which jist goes to show you, my brother ain’t the only bone-stupid Cannon in the family.
Dead meat turns rancid fast under a hot sun. The bloated bodies of three reddish Hereford-Angus heifers lay at the lip of an arroyo, blowflies swarming their coyote-torn flesh. Nose wrinkled against the stench, Blue knelt, examining a carcass. He nudged the head with a boot toe, stepped back as flies poured out. “Looks to me like they died of thirst.”

“Yep, makes six this month.” Reed Carey, hands on hips and banty legs planted firmly in the rocky sand, spit tobacco juice and cocked a head westward. “Sixteen all told. I told Missus Campbell we gotta buy more. You reckon your Pa’ll sell?” Wiping away brown from his mouth he continued, “South waterhole’s getting’ kinda greasy, but it oughta hold out until end of summer.”

Leaving the decaying cattle, Blue walked upwind and faced the stocky foreman. “Reed, this ranch’s always been short on water. You can’t keep this many head, you either gotta lease water or sell off stock in the summer.” If he’s foreman, no wonder the place is losing money. Pointing at the carcasses, he said firmly, “You bring in more, they’ll wind up coyote food.”

“Missus put me in charge, I kin buy all the beef I want.” Jaw thrust forward and hands on hips, Carey stepped close and snapped, “How you supposed to have a ranch with no cows?” He hitched his pants along his expansive waistline and spat a brown stream of juice.

“Be reasonable, dead beef don’t help nobody,” Blue spoke through clenched teeth. He sure ain’t too dumb to feed himself, but that’s all I can say for him. “You buy all you want, I’m going to Jeff Patterson, see if we can lease summer water.”

“That’s my job!” Stepping closer, he edged Blue with a meaty hand.

“Then why ain’t you doing it?” Blue shoved back quickly, held up a gloved palm in warning. Anger surged through him but he answered slowly and precisely, “You deal with them dead heifers. I’m going for water.” Back straight as a poker, he marched to his horse and galloped off.
Victoria set an elegant table and served food a man would pay to eat. After a day overseeing his men pull heifers out of mud holes, chase cows through brush, fight barb-wire onto fence posts, dig ditches and muck stalls, sitting down to white linen, slim candles, polished silver and good china was a gift from heaven. John expected the entire family at the supper table, ready to appreciate the meal and discuss the day.

Blue split a biscuit in half, buttered it, and watched his father. Big John tackled food like he tackled life, determined to wrestle it to a draw. He sawed a thick slab of beef until the knife rasped against porcelain, then chewed rapidly, his teeth jarring with each bite. Nodding briskly, he smiled toward his wife and said, “Excellent dinner, Victoria.”

“Thank you, John.” Pleased, Victoria looked across the table, a small frown puckering her forehead. “Buck, would you prefer a clean napkin?”

“No ma’am.” Chewing noisily, he smiled around a mouthful of food and exclaimed, “Yore cooking gets better ‘n better, Victoria. Ever time I eat it I think it cain’t get no better, then it do.” His napkin, tucked in at the chin, was soaked with gravy; he swiped it across his face, leaving a trail of brown grease behind. Shaking his head, he upended a bowl of potatoes, added corn, and mixed them together with enthusiasm.

“I am glad you are enjoying the meal,” Victoria said weakly, returning to her food.

Grinning to himself, Blue nibbled the biscuit and pushed potatoes around on his plate. Coughing, he patted his mouth with a napkin and said, “Pa? Uh, I been thinking about Red Rock. Could be you oughta buy it.” Resting his forearms on the table and ducking his head, he peered across the table.

“Blue Boy, that ain’t a bad idea.” Pointing at his brother with a fork, Buck gestured wildly. Beef quivered on the end of the utensil, drippings scattering like rain. “Ain’t bad land, John. You could aye-void neighbors.”

“Yeah Uncle Buck. You worked it once, you know it, right?” Gesturing toward his father, he continued, “Then Collee..uh, Mrs. Campbell could go back east.”

“Buck, you know I don’t have cash for land deals right now.” John buttered a biscuit so hard it broke in two.

“Pa, you said yourself this’s the best year we ever had. Biggest round up ever, and you closed your best deal with the army, too.”

“That’s right, son, I did. And I turned right around and reinvested it in the best breeding stock I could get my hands on.” Sighing heavily, John frowned as he picked up his knife and fork. “Maybe two years from now I’ll be ready to think about more land. Not now.”

Blue toyed with the food on his plate, cast a sour glance at his uncle. Stuffing mashed potatoes and corn into his mouth, Buck grinned, cheeks puffed like a squirrel storing nuts. Random chunks of food fell off his plate; he scooped up leavings from the tablecloth with his fingers and pushed them in his mouth. Tossing down the fork, Blue argued, “Well, what if I went to the bank, got money on my own?”

“What?” Eyes popping, hands flat on the table, voice raising with every word, his father barked, “Absolutely not! What’s got into you, boy? You know better. It’s not how much a man owns, it’s how much he can control. We’ve got our hands full with Chaparral land.”

“Yessir.” Stiffly, Blue tossed his napkin, nodded to Victoria, “Excuse me,” grabbing his hat on the way outside.

Chewing thoughtfully, Buck watched his nephew leave, then turned to the table. “John, you cain’t tell me ain’t nothin’ wrong with that boy, not when he don’t eat.” He shrugged, reached for Blue’s plate and upended the contents on his own.   click to read the rest

post The Last Word: More Remedies to Ponder

January 13th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:34 pm

By WJ St.Germain
As promised, we will have a peek at a few more remedies of the Old West, starting with warts; specifically the unsightly little bumps found on hands, arms, feet and a mandatory feature of witches noses. The other wart related conditions won’t be discussed here.

Warts seemed to be quite a problem. This isn’t surprising given that they are caused by a virus that, left untreated, easily spreads. Hygiene wasn’t all it could have been back then – recall that urine was used as a disinfectant – so the wart virus (human papilloma virus or HPV) would have been in its element. Warts are most commonly found among children. By the time we reach adulthood, the body’s immune system can usually deal with the virus when exposed to it. Since we now have umpteen hand sanitizers available, I wonder if statistics would reveal a reduction in their frequency among today’s children as compared to the Old West. There’s something to investigate for someone who has far too much time on their hands.

So how were warts treated? Very simply. Never mind things like liquid nitrogen, which looks very impressive when used and would have left people of the Old West speechless, or the other chemicals you can buy from your local pharmacy, all you needed back then was butter and a cat. You covered the wart with butter then had a cat lick the butter off. This way the cat could get warts on its tongue and you wouldn’t feel like such an outcast. Failing that, your wart would at least feel loved.

To be honest, there is a feline strain of the virus but the two species don’t tend to cross transmit which is lucky for the cats that were offered buttered warts. (The feline strain usually affects older animals or those with compromised immune systems).  If no cats were handy you were advised to rub the wart good and hard with a rock. Presumably, it would hurt so much you’d stop caring about the fact that you had an unsightly wart which, I can assure you, would look a great deal more unsightly after you’d finished.

Embarrassed and irritated by unsightly nettle rash? No worries. Simply urinate on it. Apparently the urine removed the pain caused by the rash – no doubt by creating a whole new burning sensation. People would also be less likely to notice your rash because you would smell so bad they wouldn’t stand too close to you. Should you wish to try this remedy (in which case, maybe you need to get out of the sun and have a little lie down) if the rash is in a hard to reach place ask a trusted friend if they’d be so good as to wee on you. It would certainly provide a unique bonding moment while also proving to you whether or not they are only fair-weather friends.

Ladies! You would never have to worry about facial skin issues again thanks to Dr. MacKenzie’s Improved Harmless Arsenic Complexion Wafers. This miracle breakthrough was guaranteed to produce, ‘The most lovely complexion the imagination can desire.’ No more blemishes, marks, blotches, freckles or wrinkles. The wafers came with a warning to BEWARE OF IMITATIONS!  Imitations may not do the job whereas Dr Mackenzie’s beauty wafers removed any unattractive flaws. Heck, with regular use they might even have eliminate a lady’s whole face if she preferred to live without it.

If I really extend my imagination, I can see a grain of truth in the good doctor’s remedy. I don’t know about the blemishes, marks and blotches but you can rest assured that he offered the best anti-ageing remedy in the world.  After all, anyone who regularly soaked their face in arsenic would end up sufficiently poisoned not to live long enough to ever see a wrinkle form.

Men, do you suffer from irritability? Ladies, are your husbands ill tempered? Well one of my favorite solutions for ‘irritability, pessimism and crossness’ among men comes from a 1918 advertisement in the Casper Tribune. Yes, technically it’s a teensy bit after the Old West period but it was too good not to share. Besides, William F. ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody died in 1917 while Wyatt Earp died 12 years later so Old West guys were still around then.

The advertisement shows a calm doctor advising a rather cross looking patient that the cause of his crankiness may be due to his underwear, ‘scratching, bunching, slipping up and falling down.’ I don’t know about you but that would do it for me. Bunched undies would be most annoying, not to mention unflattering due to the bumpy bottom look they would create. The solution was to ditch those picky, woolen underwear in favor of the patented Munsingwear, menswear that promise to make one want to sing.

Given that the average salary could be .50- $1.50 a week (Gunsmoke’s Doc Adams once mentioned earning $3 a week and he was considered fairly well off), I imagine that after learning that the prices ranged from $2.25-$10.00 a pair, rather than sing with joy, Munsingers reduced more than a few men to tears when they saw what they cost. For those who coughed up the money, we can only hope that their moods changed for the better while they wore them. You’ve got to wonder if some of Boot Hill’s most hardened villains might not have avoided falling into a life of crime had they worn Munsingers.

I puzzled over why they didn’t create a line of Womunsingwear and came to the conclusion that women had the good sense to make their undies out of cotton rather than the more macho wool. Sorry guys, but women take this sort of thing very seriously.

post New Life for Old Tucson

January 13th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:33 pm

The company that runs the Old Tucson theme park is setting up a nonprofit foundation to take over the lease, and eventually the operations, of the park.

The newly established Arizona Sonora Western Heritage Foundation is in discussions with Pima County to take over the lease for the park within the next six months, said Old Tucson Co. CEO Pete Mangelsdorf.

The foundation will help the park move toward an educational mission, a move the park hopes will make it more financially sustainable.

Moving to a nonprofit-foundation model also lets the park pay a lower rate to lease the county property, and it lets the park apply for federal grants and solicit private donations. The nonprofit status of the group is pending IRS approval.

This week Old Tucson announced plans to “expand Old Tucson into a multicultural Western heritage center.”

The main attractions will be interactive living-history programs, the announcement states.

The park began offering living-history programs three years ago and has expanded to seven programs, five of which are available each day, Mangelsdorf said.

The programs mix lessons and laughs about life in 1880s Arizona and feature characters including a rough-and-rowdy sheriff, a gold prospector and a schoolmarm.

“The response was overwhelmingly positive from our guests,” Mangelsdorf said.

The park would feature interactive exhibits, entertainment, food and crafts from the various cultures, including Native American, Mexican, Spanish, Anglo, African, Asian, Mormon and Jewish, the park’s announcement said.

It’s an exciting concept because Western heritage and culture always has been a part of the park, Moulton said, but the new plan would create a visitor experience in true history rather than in Hollywood movies.

Attendance at Old Tucson Studios fell sharply after an arson fire in 1995 destroyed about 60 percent of its buildings, wardrobes and movie memorabilia.

The park was rebuilt and reopened in 1997, but attendance dropped again in the nationwide tourism decline after 2001.

Park attendance was about 190,000 last year, but it is expected to increase by up to 70,000 visitors at the end of a five- to 10-year plan to expand the park, Mangelsdorf said.

The foundation is using the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum as a model for its business side and Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg as a model for its programming, he said.

The foundation, which plans to hire a development director in the next few months, also is establishing relationships with the University of Arizona and the Arizona Historical Society.

Historical re-enactment groups said they are excited about the possibility of a new venue and said demand for such programming is healthy.

“The public is thirsty for reaching back in time and connecting and learning about the past,” saidRandy Madsen, a member of the Pima County Historical Commission and an organizer of the Tucson Mormon Heritage Festival.

Re-enactments help people appreciate and understand different cultural histories, he said. He became interested in 1840s history because an ancestor served in Kearny’s Army of the West, Mormon Battalion, which marched through Tucson on its way from Iowa to California. Madsen now participates in re-enactments.



January 13th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:32 pm

Every year loyal fans decide to help bring The High Chaparral back home to Tucson by sponsoring The High Chaparral Reunion.  Without YOUR help none of the cast, crew and fans would be able to represent fans from all over the world at the Cannon ranch house, or celebrate the best TV western ever made.

This year every non-attending sponsor who contributes $100 will receive a full Reunion goody bag.  You can participate right along with everyone else and know you’ve made a real difference to fans everywhere.   Sponsor The High Chaparral Reunion at and you’ll get:

• Keepsake 2014 invitation with Buck and Blue artwork
• 2014 Reunion coffee mug
• Arbuckle coffee pack, sample of Chaparral blend
• Penny for Your Thoughts coaster
• Letter from INSP
• Tucson Visitor’s guide
• HC pens
• Cast photo
lots of other surprises. And LOTS OF THANKS for being a big part of bringing The High Chaparral family home to Tucson. 



January 13th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:31 pm

Did You Know: 
That Henry Darrow, Bob Hoy and Jerry Summers all have ties to Star Trek?

Henry Darrow, who played Manolito Montoya on The High Chaparral, guest starred in one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (Conspiracy 1988), and two episodes of Star Trek Voyager (Tattoo 1995 and Basics Part 1 1996).

Bob Hoy, who portrayed Joe Butler, played Sam the miner in the original Star Trek series episode, “The Devil in the Dark,” from 1967. He also played the uncredited role of the Horta in that same episode. (Star Trek fans will know what that is!)

Jerry Summers, Bunkhouse Boy Ira Bean on THC, was also a renowned stunt man. He performed stunts on the original Star Trek series. He also doubled for Walter Koenig (Chekov) in the episode “The Trouble with Tribbles,” which aired in December 1967.

From Red-Eye to Romulan Ale, from six-shooters to phasers, from the untamed wilderness of the Arizona territory to the uncertainty of the Mutara Nebula—these three caballeros have truly gone where no hombres have gone before!

Beam yourself over to Tucson for The High Chaparral Reunion in March 2014.


January 13th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:30 pm


DID YOU KNOW…That Harry Sukman, who composed the music for The HighChaparral, was born on December 2, 1912?

Mr Sukman, who won an Oscar in 1960 for best scoring of the film, Song Without End, was nominated for a prime time Emmy for his work on The High Chaparral. He also received two other Oscar nominations. Mr Sukman is the father of Susan McCray, wife of Kent, who was The High Chaparral’s Production Manager.

A special performance this year by the Vinnie Falcone Trio highlights The HighChaparral Reunion Sponsor’s Dinner on Friday evening with An Evening with Harry Sukman.   Vinnie Falcone is a noted musician, Frank Sinatra’s musical director for many years, and a protégé of Harry Sukman.


post High Chaparral Stuntmen Seek Renown and Security 

January 13th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:29 pm
Vintage article reprint from 1968

The motion picture adage that stuntmen’s obscurity is their security may be true. Two stuntmen are taking their chances that exposure on “The High Chaparral” will bring both recognition and security for them — as actors.

After years of falling on their faces to make a living. Jerry Summers and Robert Hoy are lifting their faces toward NBC cameras and unlike stunt men, speaking lines. “I do my own stunt work in the series,”  Summers said. “It makes for better shots and it saves a lot of production time.” An all-around stunt man, Summers does falls, leaps, rolls and fights — everything except surfing. For the feature “Surf Party,” he had a double. On the western adventure series, he is portraying Ira, whom he describes as “a happy go lucky son-of-a-gun who can be a gentleman when he has to be; fight, drink, and shave if he feels like it, but always respects his fellow man.”

It was Richard Boone who convinced Summers he should quit the rodeo circuit and try acting. Two years of studying with Boone and two more at New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse found Summers prepared but few producers ready to hire him as an actor. He turned to stunting, getting his first big chance as Tony Curtis’ double in “Spartacus” in 1959. Summers, who says he once made $3,000 for a day’s stunt work, is 36. He has a wife, Melodie, and two children, Shawn, 6, and Stagg, 2. It is for them as much as for himself that he is scrambling for a new career — one that could last long after his best falls are all behind him.

Hoy, like Summers, was born in New York City. Summers moved to Los Angeles as a youngster and Hoy stuck with the Big City until his senior year in high school when he joined the Marines in World War II. Upon discharge in 1946, he completed highschool, enrolled in UCLA’s theater arts department, studied two years with Estelle Harmon and toiled in local theater groups and acting workshops. It was in Gallup, N. M., in 1948 that he got a chance to act as well as stunt in the Robert Taylor flick, “Ambush.” In the following 10 years, he worked as a stunt man-actor on “Bonanza,” Hoy was hired for “The High Chaparral” on his acting ability alone.

“I play Joe, Sam Butler’s brother. He’s a man who. Is lucky; he’s involved in adventure,” Hoy said. “There are few challenges left today for men. It’s underneath the water’s surface and in interplanetary space travel that that quality of adventure lies that is answered by a comparable pioneer spirit — one like John F. Kennedy had. “These men are more at ease with adventure, where courage is required, than other men,” Hoy added.

The father of a son, Christopher Martin, age 2, Hoy agrees with Summers that he could make more money as a stunt man — now. However, he is not concerned only for his own financial security. He has an almost idealistic philosophy about his character, the show and their combined effect on the television audience. “We are trying to relive the early settlers’ experiences, not make them look like play acting. I like to think we are broadening the minds of viewers. “David Dortort (series producer- creator) is a serious student of history and has seen to it that this series has a bigger scope and more authenticity that other series don’t have.”

post New Reunion Guest Stan Ivar

January 13th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:29 pm

New Reunion Guest Stan IvaIn addition to our wonderful Chaparral stars Don Collier, Rudy Ramos, Kent & Susan McCray, Kiva Hoy, Neil Summers, and guest Boyd Magers, fans get to meet Stan Ivar in March at theHigh Chaparral Reunion.

Stan is known for many rolls but especially for Little House on the Prairie: A New Beginning, where he became a regular cast member with Pamela Roylance as John and Sarah Carter, the couple who moved into the Ingalls’ now-vacant family farm. He’s also well known for roles on General Hospital, Creature, Ed, Star Trek: Voyager and many more. As most of you know HighChaparral‘s  Kent and Susan McCray were essential to the production of Little House on the Prairie in addition to their work onHigh Chaparral.

Be sure to ask Stan about the original Little House on the Prairie“house” which is dismantled and housed on his property.