post A Special Bunkhouse

November 17th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:22 am

A Special Bunkhouse

by Penny McQueen

As I work on the complex task of bringing our HC cast, crew and fans home to the High Chaparral I sometimes think about John Cannon.  These days juggling a to-do list that won’t end, managing Sam Butler’s appearances and Wind’s social media/website plus what seems like a thousand other Chaparral tasks….I understand Big John a lot more than I did 45 years ago!

Then there’s the financial responsibility.   After personally guaranteeing contracts and a budget for the Reunion that’s many times larger than my house mortgage I probably would have told Blue ‘no new boots’ too!  

Here’s something that would make Big John’s ledgers fail to balance: the per person registration fee everyone pays doesn’t cover the total cost of the Reunion.   That means without extra cash from somewhere each year we could be in the red…..and cause Big John’s blood to boil.
Why don’t we go belly up?   Sponsors.  Fans who think it’s important the High Chaparral comes home to Tucson.  Fans who believe there’s value in having Manolito Montoya, Sam Butler, Wind, and the man who kept them all together – Big Daddy Kent McCray – in the same room, re-living their HC days.   Fans who still, after almost 50 years, believe in John Cannon’s dream that all people can learn to live together in peace and harmony and who want to see that dream made real, on John Cannon’s ranch, with people from all over the world together as one family.

93% of fans who attend the Reunion are Sponsors.   That’s incredible, and humbling, and all kinds of amazing things.

But even more humbling and amazing is fans who CAN’T attend but still believe in the values of High Chaparral and love it enough to be Sponsors too.   They’ll never set foot on the ranch we get to celebrate, but they still send money.. Every time it happens I’m like Blue – tongue tied and in tears.  What do you say to loyalty, bravery and commitment like that?

When you watch High Chaparral, pay attention to all those bunkhouse boys.  They chose to stand with John Cannon, to make a stand with the ranch because it meant something important.   I think that’s what you say about fans who Sponsor even though they can’t attend.   You say they’re just as heroic as those ranch hands and bunkhouse boys.

I’ve always called these incredible people ‘Non-Attending Sponsors’.   But from now on they’re our Reunion Bunkhouse, and they’re with us every step of the way.

When Big John hired his bunkhouse he told them, “you get $30 a month and chuck.”      We’ve always had just one Sponsorship level of $100 that comes with a list of thank you gifts.  Now there’s a $30 one too, in memory of Big John’s $30 a month wage.  When you join up with the Reunion Bunkhouse you help bring The High Chaparral home to Tucson.

You can also use that $30 to honor someone like a High Chaparral cast member or a relative . Your name and the person you honor will be listed in the program at The High Chaparral Reunion, because I want you to be WITH us there in Tucson, on The High Chaparral.

Don Collier, High Chaparral ranch foreman Sam Butler, was one of the first in line to sign up in honor of Bobby Hoy, his brother Joe Butler.   I’ve got honors for Leif Erickson/Big John Cannon, Don Collier/Sam Butler, Bob Hoy/Joe Butler, and Rudy Ramos/Wind.  But in my book the REAL heroes are the fans who step up, just like the bunkhouse boys, and make sure we get the work done.  You can join the bunkhouseand be a part of The High Chaparral today.

I’ll see you in Tucson,

-Penny .

post Old Tucson 2014-2015 Season Opening

November 17th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:21 am

Old Tucson 2014-2015 Season Opening 

(Tucson, AZ)  Old Tucson is pleased to announce the opening of its 2014-2015 Season on Friday, October 3, 2014.  The new season will celebrate the history, heritage, and culture of southern Arizona with a refurbished Grand Palace Hotel & Saloon interior, its world-famous tours, shows, and attractions and a series of exciting events!

Over the summer, the Old Tucson team has been busy making improvements including: a total refurbishment of the Grand Palace interior, improvements to the set where the ground-breaking western series The High Chaparral was filmed, and facelifts throughout the park.

In the coming season, guests will enjoy:

·         A variety of Grand Palace shows featuring Miss Vivian and her girls – Lady Vivian’s Dance Hall Casting Call and theGrand Palace Musical Revue.  Plus, A Musical History of the Silver Screen recounting songs featured in movies filmed right here at Old Tucson.

·         Action-packed stunt shows like Heaven with A Gun based on the 1969 movie starring Glen Ford, The Bank Robbery, andRage Along the Railway, based on one of the last great gunfights of the Old West – a 1907 incident in Benson, AZ involving an Arizona Ranger.

·         Comic relief with Sir William Wiley’s Elixir Show.

·         Living History presentations on a variety of topics such as Lawmen of the Old WestThe Court of Law, and the General Mercantile. These third-person presentations discuss actual life in the Old West versus Hollywood movie portrayals.

The event calendar is packed with a diverse selection of fun and interesting offerings. Keep an eye out for future updates or visit

§  Nightfall
§  Native American Arts Festival
§  Heritage & Harvest Festival
§  CCOBRA Barrel Racing
§  Civil War Re-Enactments
§  75¢ Kids Weekend
§  Shoot Out at the Chaparral
§  Wild Wild West Con4 & Steampunk Festival
§  Wild West Days
§  Gunfighters Resurrection
§  Cowboy Arts & Music Festival
§  And more!

Old Tucson is Southern Arizona’s premier film location and Hollywood’s most famous Western movie location recognized in over 300 feature films and TV Westerns.  For more information about Old Tucson, visit or call (520) 883-0100. Old Tucson is located in Tucson Mountain Park at 201 S. Kinney Road, Tucson, AZ.

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post The High Chaparral: Keep the Ranch Going

November 17th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:21 am

The High Chaparral: Keep the Ranch Going
by Jane Rodgers

I thought my obsession was singular—what the UK’s Vicki Smith calls “Manomania.”

 “Not hardly,” as the Duke would put it. After navigating the High Chaparral website and Facebook pages for over a year, I must admit: I am not the only woman in Manolito’s life. I think my husband, Mike, is probably glad about this. But hey, I knew Mano long before I met Mike.

I was an awkward 10-year-old fifth grader freshly arrived in San Antonio, Texas, when The High Chaparral premiered in 1967. My older brother and sister had long since left home for college and marriage; I was the proverbial surprise baby over a decade younger than my siblings. My parents seemed ancient compared to the thirty-something moms and dads of my friends. No matter. We all loved westerns.

Mother never missed an episode of Gunsmoke or Bonanza; consequently, neither did I. We eagerly anticipated David Dortort’s long awaited second series, but none of us expected the gritty, realistic, culturally-mixed western featuring Cannons, Montoyas, and bunkhouse boys. And I certainly never expected to fall hard for Manolito, my first crush, so elegantly and charmingly portrayed by Mr. Henry Darrow.

I read his interviews, clipped his photos, and pasted them on my bulletin board. It did not matter that I was the age of Darrow’s daughter.

Those first fall shows hooked me for life. I winced when Victoria slapped Mano in “The Ghost of Chaparral,” laughed when Perlita flounced down the street in Victoria’s stylish Parisian hat in “Champion of the Western World,” peeked through my eyes when the Apaches whipped my hero in “Ride the Savage Land.” And even at the ripe old age of 11, I wondered why Mano fell for that cute little nun-to-be in “A Joyful Noise,” and why in the world she ever refused him. Only the Lord could beat out Mano, I guessed

We tuned in the first three seasons faithfully…and stuck with season four as much as we could. By then I was a worldly 13-year-old becoming interested in the real boys who were discovering girls did not have cooties. And NBC kept pre-empting the show inexplicably.  I remember being saddened by the death of Frank Silvera, Don Sebastian, and intrigued by the addition of Gilbert Roland in “The New Lion of Sonora,” arguably the best episode of the fourth season and certainly Mano’s finest hour.

Then NBC dropped the axe. Cancellation.

I wrote the network twice, only to receive the standard postcards thanking me for my interest. Fans had resurrected Star Trek; perhaps we could do the same for Chaparral. But it was not to be. We were left with reruns…and those aplenty in San Antonio, where the Montoyas were fan favorites with the city’s Hispanic majority. In that I was lucky. It seems “Ride the Savage Land” was on every other Saturday…although I am sure it simply assumed its slot in the rotation.

And then there were none.

No High Chaparral. Anywhere. Still, I never forgot. How could I?  Our brother and sister chihuahuas were named Manolito and Victoria. And although I discarded the pin-up photos of Henry as Manolito, I never forgot.

I knew I’d never die of thirst in the desert. I’d find a barrel cactus as John and Blue do in “Survival.” I knew I’d try to be as good an aunt to my nieces as Uncle Buck is to Blue. And I knew that my brother and I would always be as close as Victoria and Mano, even if he could occasionally pull a few Manolito-esque fast ones.

And I knew I’d never forget my first crush. Besides, Henry kept popping up in guest spots, series, and soaps…somehow his presence was comforting, a reminder of times gone by and a testament to the fact that you can’t keep a good man or actor down.

In 2011, I finally found the High Chaparral website online. Henry and Jan Pippins’s Lightning in the Bottlecame out in 2012. I downloaded it to my Kindle, devouring it on a Texas to Florida flight and rereading it on the return. The section on the end of Chaparral is painful. I skipped that on the way back. But the rest is a testimony to Henry’s resilience and desire to just keep working. We need more like Henry.

And then, wonder of wonders, INSP actually brought the series back to TV…at least most of the episodes. Yep, the cable network folks cut some parts we’d prefer they didn’t…but mostly the episodes are intact…and since decades had passed with High Chaparral inaccessible, I didn’t mind. Much. Then Penny McQueen and the reunion made the DVDs available…four Paypal purchases later, and like Scarlet O’Hara, I will never be hungry for High Chaparral again.   (ed. note: DVDs of The High Chaparral are available at

One thing remains: to attend a reunion. I don’t know if I’ll make it this year, but I know time’s a wasting and I better hop a flight to Arizona sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, the least I can do is to be a sponsor, so I’ve sent in my hundred bucks and am awaiting that coffee cup…unless I am able to pick it up in person.
(ed note: become a Reunion sponsor at: or join the Reunion Buckhouse at )

Back at the ranch, the High Chaparral Facebook pages and fan pages remain a joy to peruse…with the making of virtual and even real friends an added benefit. Not surprisingly, many fans are writers. And we’ve realized that what we loved as 10-year-olds has more than stood the test of time. Other western reruns now look phony, the stunt doubles obvious and the backgrounds staged.

High Chaparral remains gritty, realistic, and just plain great…even in high definition. Actually, Mano looks even better in high definition on a big screen TV rather than on our old 19-inch RCA, my family’s first color set. Not that I was complaining….

I’d like to think that David Dortort is pleased that his creation still evokes such emotion and interest around the world. His gift to us was The High Chaparral. Our gift is to keep the ranch going for all the Cannon, Montoya, and bunkhouse lovers to come. We should all consider coming home to the High Chaparral

post High Chaparral Christmas List

November 17th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:20 am

post Leif Erickson: For Money He’ll Even Get Tough

November 17th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:19 am

Leif Erickson: For Money He’ll Even Get Tough

Vintage article translated from foreign fan magazine

He is now 57 years old and has done in that time almost everything that can keep an actor in Hollywood afloat. He did unskilled labour, sang in a choir, sang solo, was a bouncer, made films, worked as a war photographer and was an actor again.

He has played in more than 100 films – he does not remember how many exactly. His marriage with an actress fell apart, and despite being handsome, the “blond Adonis” Leif Erickson still had not become a star.

He says: “I remember I was always aware of my situation. Non-stars do not matter. This has been gnawing at me, and I have repeatedly asked myself Why? Why? The ugly ones got roles and were successful: Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable. I got roles and had no success. Why?”

The only explanation: He was too handsome.

Three years ago, Leif Erickson had worked as a boat salesman in Marina del Rey, close to Los Angeles.

There, “Bonanza” producer David Dortort contacted him and then hired him. He was looking for a father-type for his new show “The High Chaparral”.Vintage article translated from foreign fan magazine

There, “Bonanza” producer David Dortort contacted him and then hired him. He was looking for a father-type for his new show “The High Chaparral”.

The aged Adonis of the past seemed to be the right man. Dortort had noticed the actor for the first time in a bit part in “Bonanza”.

The actor Leif Erickson had suddenly become what he had not been all his previous life: a star. He says: “I enjoy being famous. It’s fun to finally have success.” He enjoys his money: “’The High Chaparral’ is a gold mine I want to protect.” And he therefore plays what David Dortort wants: the stern father, the rough husband and the brutal enemy. For money and success he turned into the rancher John Cannon.

But a little fear stays with him despite what he has accomplished. “We have a big thing going with “The High Chaparral”. It grows and grows. Hopefully, it will not end all of a sudden. “Then the gold mine would be empty for Leif Erickson.

He is afraid that the young stars of the show, Linda Cristal and Mark Slade, will suddenly leave. The reason for this suspicion: Mark Slade has his own band. Now Henry Darrow, too, has an aside job as drummer. With the end of the show, the golden days would be over for Erickson as well: stern fathers are not much in demand these days, not even in Hollywood.

Top left: Leif Erickson’s children: Bill (22) and Susan (18). Sue has been married to a childhood friend for two months now.
Top right:
Leif Erickson as a leisure-time captain – three years ago his work clothes looked like this.
He became a star because he was old

Top left:
Studying nautical charts on the yacht “Pagan”: Leif and his children Susan and Bill
Top middle:
“I love sailing boats – and finally I can afford one”
top right:
Leif Erickson with children and wife Ann, with whom he has been married for 24 years
Below left:
The family takes Leif Erickson’s sailor’s yarn seriously: On his yacht Leif is captain and commander
Below right:
“I have to check everything. The children never pay enough attention when it comes to shortening the sails.”

post Tucson and HC on Television

November 17th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:18 am

This is an excerpt from an article on  For the entire article visit

Just as the filming of “Arizona” will forever define Southern Arizona’s movie scene, “The High Chaparral” stands as the most important Tucson-made TV show. The production proved that a series filmed largely in Tucson could be successful, and it was a financial boon to the area because NBC spent as much as $300,000 filming each episode, the Star reported in 1967.

And the gift would keep on giving. “The High Chaparral” production manager, Kent McCray, persuaded his close associate Michael Landon to shoot episodes of “Little House on the Prairie,” “Father Murphy” and “Highway to Heaven” in Tucson.
“I think ‘The High Chaparral’ did more for the motion picture business and prosperity here than any one thing ever did,” said Bob Shelton, who ran Old Tucson from 1959 to 1985.

The series followed the adventures of Leif Erickson’s character, Arizona Territory rancher Big John Cannon, as he built his cattle business and fended off attacks from Indians.

“It was a fantastic series we were blessed with that was really kind of our afterburner kick,” Shelton said. “When they came here, they were great to work with. I had known some of the guys from NBC. The producer was the one who did ‘Bonanza’ — David Dortort. They came here and built a ranch house on the east side of Old Tucson.”

Don Collier, an actor who played ranch foreman Sam Butler, would later transplant to Tucson and recalled his enjoyable days shooting the series.

“It was 12- or 13-hour days, but they were fun days,” said Collier, who is recognizable more recently for work on the local show “The Desert Speaks.” “I had a lot of fun with it. We tried to film it like a real working cattle ranch and did roundups, branding and everything you do on a ranch.”

Collier said he and the rest of the cast were tight and “did our share of drinking.” They passed the off hours playing cards and dominoes and would visit Nogales. The cast and crew stayed at local hotels including the Ramada Inn and Desert Inn.

post Come Home To The High Chaparral

November 17th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:17 am
Come Home To The High Chaparral

High Chaparral Reunion

March 19-22. 2015

TIME IS GETTING SHORT – 78 fans are registered for the big family reunion in Tucson.  Will you be left behind?

Register TODAY and have your pick of activities before they sell out.

Is this your first Reunion or you’re traveling alone? We have a special program to make it easy for you.  If you wish we’ll match you up with another fan who’s attended in the past so you can ask questions and have a buddy before you arrive.

Register TODAY at, and Come Home To  The High Chaparral!

Download your FREE e-book, ‘How To Attend The High Chaparral Reunion!’

Watch the Video

post Cameron Mitchell Gets His Way

November 17th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:17 am

On October 4th, Cameron’s hometown of Shrewsbury, Penn., unveiled a stretch of road re-named for its famous native son.  Cameron Mitchell Way is located near the sports field where Cameron and his siblings played as children.

Cam’s nephew Marc said, “I think Uncle Cam would be especially pleased with having the entrance way to the Shrewsbury playground bear his name, since he spent so much time there in his youth playing baseball and tennis.  When he came back to York when my grandfather died in 1969, my father drove Cam and his wife on a nostalgic ride through Shrewsbury.  When we visited the playground, I heard Uncle Cam, from my position in the back seat, tell my father that he would like to be buried there…that’s how much the playground of his youth meant to him.”

The York County Commissioners declared October 4, 2014 as Cameron Mitchell Day.   Read the proclamation:


October 4, 2014

WHEREAS, Cameron McDowell (Mitzell) Mitchell is a native son of York County, having been born in Dallastown and having been reared in Shrewsbury, the son of a prominent minister; and

WHEREAS, he left home at the urgings and support of locally beloved high school teacher Helena “Harkey” Hartenstein to pursue acting in New York; and

WHEREAS, he appeared on Broadway to critical acclaim in The Taming of the Shrew and Death of a Salesman, as well as the King and I and other works in other venues ; and

WHEREAS, he went on to receive more acclaim as he appeared in films with such co-stars as Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Jimmy Cagney, Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, and Betty Grable, and worked under such renowned directors as John Ford, Elia Kazan, Henry Hathaway, Orson Welles, Mario Bava, Lewis Milestone and Sam Fuller; and

WHEREAS, Cameron became the world’s favorite uncle as Buck Cannon in the historic, award-winning television series The High Chaparral from 1967 to 1971, where he showed the world the true meaning of the words loyalty, courage, independence, perseverance and love of family—principles upon which this country was founded; and

WHEREAS, Cameron, a World War II veteran, continuously used his fame and talents in York County theater to support the war effort and later, to share his love of theater for the betterment of his country and his home county; and

WHEREAS, he amassed a total of more than 300 appearances in television, stage and film; and

WHEREAS, he was a gifted poet, musician, and athlete who constantly demonstrated the character of someone who maximized all his talents to share with others.  Of particular note is his love of the game of golf, along with a contract to play baseball for the Detroit Tigers, which he carried with him throughout his life.

NOW, THEREFORE, WE, THE COMMISSIONERS OF YORK COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, do hereby proclaim October 4, 2014 as “CAMERON MITCHELL DAY” in York County, and ask everyone to join us in remembering him for all his contributions to his community and to the world of entertainment on television, on stage and in films.

GIVEN this day in York, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, on the fifth day of February in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Twelve.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we have hereunto subscribed our names:BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Steve Chronister, President
Doug Hoke, Vice President
Christopher B. Reilly, Commissioner
Charles R. Noll, Administrator/Chief Clerk

post Sponsor Perks

November 17th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:16 am

Every year dedicated fans are a big part of bringing The High Chaparral back home to the ranch in Tucson.   These loyal Sponsors are with us during the High Chaparral Reunion in spirit and without their support it’s impossible for the cast, crew and fans to gather together and honor this innovative, ground breaking television western.

You can be a significant part of The High Chaparral by becoming a Sponsor.   When you register to attend include the Sponsor option and if you can’t attend sign up to be one of our very special non-attending Sponsors.  You’ll receive a gift package that includes:

  1. High Chaparral coffee mug
  2. Arbuckles coffee pack
  3. Keepsake invitation with original artwork
  4. High Chaparral pen
  5. Photo from Don Collier
  6. Keepsake Sponsor’s medallion
  7. Download card for ‘Sounds of Chaparral’ CD, recordings by Don Collier
  8. High Chaparral sticker and other thank you items

Help bring The High Chaparral home to Tucson, sign up at

post  Join The Bunkhouse and Honor Someone Special

November 17th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:15 am

Remember when Big John Cannon hired the bunkhouse crew for “$30 a month and chuck”?  The Bunkhouse Boys became an essential part of The High Chaparral!

The HC Reunion can’t make it alone, just like Big John couldn’t run the ranch alone.  It takes lots of help, including contributions from Sponsors.   Now there’s a special Reunion Bunkhouse you can join for $30, just like Big John’s $30 for the bunkhouse boys.

You’ll be a part of the Reunion Bunkhouse, a big part of bringing The High Chaparral home to Tucson.  Name someone who you want to honor with your membership – a High Chaparral star, or loved one.  Your name and the person you honor will be listed on a program at the Reunion so you’re right there with us in Tucson.

Don Collier, ranch foreman Sam Butler, signed up as soon as this was announced in honor of Bobby Hoy, his brother Joe Butler.   So far I have honors for Leif Erickson, Cameron Mitchell, Don Collier, Bobby Hoy, Rudy Ramos, and The High Chaparral.

Honor your favorite High Chaparral character or star and join ranch foreman Sam Butler in the bunkhouse at