post Santa-eye-view of The High Chaparral

December 23rd, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:47 pm

Here’s a Santa-eye-view of The High Chaparral – can you pick out the ranch house?

post A High Chaparral Christmas Carol

December 23rd, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:47 pm
A High Chaparral Christmas Carol

by Penny McQueen, Ginny Shook and Jan Lucas

We have our own Christmas traditions here on the High Chaparral an A Christmas Carol is one of them.  Of course ours is a bit different.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Stave 1 (The Ghost)

December fell in Tucson like water hitting fire, temperature plunging as the sun hid behind mountains. The threatened rain stayed in overhanging grey clouds, changing to nightly fog, heavy and thick, leaving the air wet and chilling the bones. Men, hardened to scorching desert air, ached with the cold. “I’d rather face July and August put together,” Joe Butler complained, coughing so hard he dropped a card on the bunkhouse floor.

“Stop whining and make your bet,”Sam griped, eyeing his brother between swallows of whiskey.

“Eh, Wind, have you noticed,” Pedro said casually as he rearranged his cards, “every time amigo Joe has a good hand, he starts to cough? Mira – he is about to raise.”

“I do not cough,” Joe growled, pushing his dollars into the growing pile in the center of the table. He attempted to stifle the next explosion, cleared his throat loudly to mask the sound.

Wind pushed his money forward, looked at grinning Pedro, and pulled it back. “I fold,” he sighed.

Reno laughed. “You believe everything you hear, Wind? Just so you know, there ain’t really a man in a red suit and white beard bringing you presents on Christmas Eve.”

Impassive dark eyes stared across the top of fanned cards as the half-Pawnee considered. “My people believe the spirits teach us wisdom and truth, that seems more important that a sack full of material possessions.”

“That’s cause you ain’t got any,” Ira offered. “Mrs. Cannon had me helping her wrap presents this morning. Did you know you gotta put your finger in the middle of a bow to tie it? Big box, too.” He tossed coins onto the table. “I raise you five.”

“So Mrs. Cannon is Santy Claus?”  Reno grinned.

“Joe has a cold is all.” said Sam suddenly. “Maybe he should drink less and sleep more.”

The younger Butler drank deep from the whiskey bottle. “Stop being my mother,” he said, wiping his mouth on his sleeve. “’Course I’ve got a cold. It’s freezing outside and its freezing in here. John Cannon’s working us all into an early grave. Should be good enough to get the cows to the army when they’re due, but he’s gotta get them there early. I’m surprised he lets us get any sleep at all.” He fingered his cards in irritation.

“Your bet, Joe.” Wind’s eyes flickered with humor.

The poker players leaned forward as one.

“I ain’t going to cough!”

“All I know is, you have been coughing all night and you been winning all night.” Pedro said.

“He’s been coughing every night,“ Ira grumbled.

“You’re all loco. I ain’t coughing. I see your raise and here’s ten more. See? No cough. Next thing you’ll be saying I marked the deck.” A sudden explosion of a cough spattered blood on the cards in his hand.

The only one not complaining about the weather was Big John Cannon. There was no point wasting energy stating the obvious. When asked for the millionth time if there had ever been such a freezing day in the history of the world, he answered honestly that he didn’t feel the cold. If he was a different sort of man he might have admitted, at least to himself, that lately he didn’t really feel much of anything. But the army needed winter beef and feelings were a luxury he couldn’t afford. Scanning the ledgers, he saw a sound profit, but Army beef would push the ranch farther into the black. John kept a sharp eye on doing a job better than the next man.

As for the Chaparral hands, his sharp eye saw them doing everything but the job since Victoria started decorating the ranch for Christmas. Buck and Pedro were gone a day and a half riding into the mountains to fetch a tree.  He discovered Ira hanging upside down from the roof, tying wide red ribbons around the wooden posts that rimmed the house. And in the middle of the day, John found Victoria teaching Reno Christmas carols in the living room.

No amount of persuasion or even commands could stop strong-willed Victoria’s enjoyment of the holiday season. She loved Christmas and was determined they all would celebrate to the fullest. Her happiness was infectious to everyone else. As the day drew near, John’s family and the ranch-hands became more foolish, smiling at nothing and singing for no reason.

“Juano! Feliz Navidad!” Manolito Montoya greeted his brother-in-law at the breakfast table on a morning that was greyer and colder than any before.

“Christmas ain’t ‘til tomorrow, Mano.” Buck’s face glowed like a child’s, as he stacked pancakes on his plate and added fried eggs and soused everything with sorghum thickly over the top. “Might save us some time if we open them presents of Victoria’s right after breakfast, don’t you think?  No sense waiting until tomorrow, is there Mano?”

“Only if you wish to retain your scalp, my friend.” Manolito sampled his eggs, then sipped coffee. “My sister is worse than a priest about keeping the rituals of the season, hombre. Violate one and,” grinning, he slid a finger across his throat.

“Very funny, Manolo. Perhaps I will take your present to the children at San Xavier del Bac, at least they will appreciate one more gift from us.” Carrying an urn of coffee from the kitchen, Victoria continued, “I suppose you do not even wonder what I have for you?”

“Something too expensive,” John snapped. “And no one is doing any celebrating until the herd is brought up to the south ridge. I don’t care what day it is. ”

“You certainly will care if you are late to my special supper,” Victoria said. “Supper is at 6:00 and you will all be washed and dressed nicely and at my table not one minute later.”

“Now, Victoria…”

“We will get it done on time, my sister, I promise you,“ Manolito interrupted John.

“Sure thing, Victoria, don’t you worry. I’ve been smellin’ those wonderful smells you’ve got coming from the kitchen. I’ll be sitting at this here table at 5:00. And I’m gonna eat until I pop some buttons,” Buck grinned around a mouthful of eggs.“ You making those little apple pie things? Blue Boy sure loved those. ‘Course he loved all your cooking but he really…”

“Can I just eat my breakfast in peace, please?” John roared.

A heavy silence followed. Suddenly Buck slammed his hand down on the table. He pushed his chair back hard and stomped out of the house.

“What the devil is wrong with him?” John grumbled.

Mano rose, considering John for a moment. “He does not like your new rule.”

“I don’t have time for your fool jokes, Mano. What rule?”

“That we are all to pretend that Blue does not exist.” He placed a hand on his sister’s shoulder. “Victoria, thank you for the delicious breakfast.” And Manolitio was out the door before John could say a word.

“Fools, the pair of them,” he muttered. He stole a look at his wife, waiting for her to defend them. Victoria was silent until he stood.

“Do not go yet, John. There is something I want you to do.”

“Victoria, there is no time for…”

“It will only take a moment.” She reached into a drawer in the living room table and then placed something in his hand.

“Will you put it on the top of the Christmas tree for me?” she smiled at him.

John stared at the ornament. The large china star was painted in delicate colors, flecked with gold.

“This was Annalee’s” he said, both surprised and cautious as he fingered the worn edges.  “We always had it on our tree in Virginia. How did you…where did it come from?”

Victoria smiled happily. “I found it in Blue’s dresser. You asked me to remove his things, remember? This was in the bottom of a drawer. Do you think Annalee hid it there? Or was Blue saving it for the proper moment? Please put it on our tree, John, you’re the only one who can reach the top. Is it not beautiful? Annalee had exquisite taste.”

John remembered. He had a sudden memory of hoisting little Blue up to his shoulder so he could put the star in its place, and hated the sour knot of grief growing in his throat. John set the star down on the table.

“This doesn’t belong on your tree,” he said, grabbing his jacket as he opened the door to the frigid morning. “Put it away. I don’t want to see it again.”

Slamming the door behind him, John squinted at Manolito.  His lanky brother-in-law relaxed against a support post, back to bracing wind, keen eyes and tight mouth belying casual posture.  “Whatever’s on your mind, spit it out and mount up.  You’re burning daylight,” John said, marching toward the bunkhouse as Mano fell in beside him.

“I was just thinking.  The sky today, gray as the beard of my father.”  Glancing at the clouds above, he smiled.  “A ruthless and often cruel man, the old lion.  Yet never did he close the door on his disappointing son. Seguro, he disinherited me, but never did he disown me.” Tone low and compelling, he clasped John’s shoulder and stopped walking.   “What is between fathers and sons, often complicated, eh?”

“And what’s between me and mine is just that, between me and mine.  You finished?”

“No.” Sweeping his arm from bunkhouse to ranch-house, he said, “What affects you affects everyone, especially my sister.  The first Christmas without Papá, Victoria wants something like Nativity fiestas at Hacienda Montoya.  This she does to honor the Christ Child and the memory of our father.”  Fierce eyes betraying the grin on his face, Manolito faced John. “Amigo mio, if you honor my sister, you will not begrudge her this.  Entiendes?”

“Or what, the first bullet’s for me?” John jabbed a finger into Mano’s chest.  “Your sister, who also happens to be my wife, can pay homage to Don Sebastian any fool way she wants, but I won’t have her interfering. Do I make myself clear? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a ranch to run.”

Turning on his heel, heading for the bunkhouse door, he heard Manolito mutter, “Ay-yi-yi, Big John, always the rancho. But if you have no son, who is it for?”

In the past, Sam Butler would have been at the front gate, mounted and waiting to start the day’s work. But since his brother Joe had gotten sick Sam stayed in the bunkhouse until the last minute. Being forced to fetch him tempted John to remind him how many men would kill to work on the largest spread in Arizona, possibly for lower wages. John reminded himself that Sam was a skilled foreman and shook such thoughts away.

Click here to read the rest of The High Chaparral Christmas Carol

post Wild West Days at Old Tucson

December 23rd, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:46 pm

Wild West Days at Old Tucson

During The High Chaparral Reunion 2016 you’ll join the Arizona Sonora Western Heritage Foundation at Old Tucson for Wild West Days, an Old Tucson Signature Event, on Saturday, March 19!  See special guests demonstrating the skills early residents needed to survive and the contributions made by the cultures that left their marks on the Arizona Sonora region.

This three-day festival celebrates Old Tucson’s emergence as Southern Arizona’s destination for showcasing local History, Culture and Heritage in the western tradition. This exciting event pleases all ages with an array of daily educational presentations as well as exciting entertainment and activities.

Wild West Days also showcases Old Tucson’s full range of western entertainment. Live shows, stunts, and musical shows. Plus Living History presentations tell stories of everyday life of Southern Arizona pioneers presented by vintage characters. Topics including The American Cowboy, Sheriffs of the Old West, The Mercantile, The Raucous Saloon and more.  These entertaining yet educational experiences allow guests a glimpse into what daily life was like on the western frontier.

The New Old Tucson

If you haven’t visited Old Tucson lately, you haven’t visited! In addition to a new Native Village, you’ll love Heritage Square featuring twelve new building sets and three new streets that bring back some of the magic of Old Tucson. Hollywood Production Designer Gene Rudolph whose credits include western classics Young Guns 2, The Great Gatsby and The Right Stuff, among others, created the design for the project.  Heritage Square provides a backdrop for audiences to experience the Old West as it was meant to be experienced.

Admission to Old Tucson and Wild West Days is included in all High Chaparral Reunion packages starting at $30.   RATES INCREASE FEBRUARY 1 so sign up today!

Old Tucson – Where the Spirit of the Old West Comes Alive!

post HC Day at Old Tucson

December 23rd, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:46 pm

post Western Wear and Jackrabbits

December 23rd, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:45 pm

Western Wear and Jackrabbits

News articles from 1967

Cameron Mitchell, a star of NBC-TV’s upcoming “The High Chaparral” series, will display the latest in western wear when the series premiers: Boots with leather fringes around the sides, leather jacket that resembles a long vest, and a cartridge arm band, reported to be the first ever seen on television.

Mitchell favors the cartridges in the arm band over the traditional gun belt. “When you’re in a fast fight and lying on the ground, you simply can’t get to bullets in your belt,” he said.

Mitchell continues to have toe problems – he never seems to hurt his hands during fight scenes.  His toes take a beating instead.  Heis boots have soft tops and the toes keep getting stomped.

Leif Erickson, star of NBC’s The High Chaparral, is a big booster of the desert filming location near Tucson, Ariz. “The sky is blue, the colors of the desert are beautiful, but the best thing is you can turn that camera 360 degrees and not see one telephone pole and only an occasional jackrabbit,” said Erickson.

Henry Darrow, co-star of “The High Chaparral”, plans to establish a scholarship for Puerto Rican students to study theatre arts.  it was a Puerto Rican scholarship that brought Darrow to the Pasadena Playhouse in California.

post Cameron’s First Love was Westerns

December 23rd, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:45 pm
Cameron’s First Love was Westerns

NBC TV Press Release Cameron Mitchell

Cameron Mitchell coudn’ t be happier with his role in the new NBC-TV western series, The High Chaparral. In fact, he gave up a promising career in European features to return to the United States to portray Buck Cannon in the Sunday color feature series, The High Chaparral.

Born in Dallastown, Penn, one of seven children, Mitchell’s strict Scotch-German parents discouraged any interest in the theater. His father and all the men in the Mitchell family were ministers as far back as he can remember. After high school he went to his principal and borrowed $250 with no more security than his enthusiasm and took off for New York City.

He worked as an usher, mail clerk, dish washer and Radio City sight-seeing guide with another unknown, Gregory Peck. Mitchell wrote a letter criticizing the acting of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, and the Lunts asked the upstart to read. They were impressed enough to offer him a part in their play, “The Taming of the Shrew,” and in the 1939-1940 season he appeared in ‘Christopher Sty.”

During World War II he served in the Air Corps as a bombardier until 1944 when he was put under MGM contract and made his first film, “They Were Expendable,” with John Wayne.

post Macadoo’s Shoe

December 23rd, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:44 pm

by Patty Schantz

The 2009 Reunion in Tucson was a dream fulfilled. Every time I watched an episode, I wished it was possible to actually visit the High Chaparral house. So, for me, one of the highlights was the day spent in Old Tucson. Seeing, touching and entering the actual Cannon ranch house was as much of a thrill as meeting Henry, Don, Rudy and Ted and all the friendly fans. I was determined to bring home a piece of the High Chaparral, so under the sizzling hot sun, went out behind the house and dug up a bit of honest-to-goodness Arizona desert dirt from under a bush and put it in a plastic baggie for safe keeping.

On my way to rejoin the crowd, something rusty poking up from the dirt caught my eye, and I unearthed a horseshoe! I couldn’t believe it! An actual Cannon ranch horseshoe! It was immediately obvious — to me, at least — that it had belonged to Mackadoo (Manolito’s horse). (It’s most likely from a draft horse, but I’m happy with my little delusion.) I told Henry about it later that evening, and he agreed that it most definitely did belong to Mackadoo. “Yes, believe that!” he enthused.

With all the security restrictions at airports these days, I had to be absolutely certain it wouldn’t be confiscated as a “weapon” and was prepared to ship it home, if necessary. When I contacted the TSA and explained my dilemma, the agent laughed and said it was okay to pack it in the carryon bag because it was unlikely that I could “horseshoe someone to death with it.” The Tucson airport security personnel got quite a kick out of my declared baggie of desert dirt and the rusty horseshoe.

Mackadoo’s shoe — one of my most prized reunion souvenirs — now resides on the fireplace mantle. Next to it sits a little bottle containing a smidgeon of the real High Chaparral.

post Theme Music

December 23rd, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:43 pm

Fans often send email asking for a copy of The High Chaparral theme music. Here’s a link to the original stirring theme that is often described as one the most recognizable western themes in the world!

 The original High Chaparral Theme music

post Susan Sukman McCray Foyer

December 3rd, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:41 pm

Susan Sukman McCray Foyer

Eastern Connecticut University

Susan Sukman McCray is known for her many accomplishments.  A casting director of iconic television shows, music producer, children’s author, fragrance designer and radio personality. But at Eastern Connecticut State University, she is best known for her dedication and love for our theatre and music students through her special theatre Fund scholarships and the donation of her father’s priceless music collection to our J Eugene Smith Library. One of the most impressive gifts to the University by Ms. McCray is the beautiful Steinway Grand Piano located in the Susan Sukman McCray Foyer. This Steinway is dedicated to her incredibly talented and most accomplished parents: Academy Award Winning Composer and Concert Pianist Harry Sukman / Pianist Organist Composer Artist Franceca Paley Sukman.

So it was only fitting that we dedicate the Foyer of our new Fine Arts  Center as the Susan Sukman McCray Foyer.

The next time you enter and are passing through the new Fine Arts Center at Eastern Connecticut University, take time and enjoy the Susan Sukman McCray Foyer.

post When the West Was Fun

December 3rd, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:41 pm

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