post Tim Kelly, Chaparral Scripter

January 15th, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:18 pm

Tim Kelly, Chaparral Scripter

by Katrin Duerlich

I am sure you noticed the names of the High Chaparral authors. Some of them are familiar from other shows. D.C. Fontana wrote for Star Trek, Walter Black for Little house on the prairie, John Black for Charlie’s angels, to name just a few. One day I started to wonder about Tim Kelly. He is the author of such great episode scripts as “Ride the savage land” or “Mi casa, su casa”. At the end of season 1 he became story editor (see table on left). I had noticed that his name kept popping up in episodes dealing with Apache customs and traditions, so I guessed he must have been something of an authority on this matter. And how come he was able to write season 1 (!) scripts for Buck and Mano rather than Blue and Mano as was originally intended? The man intrigued me so much that I read his biography. Through it I found – not just gold, but diamonds! Little gems that show the origins of two High Chaparral episodes. But let me start at the beginning.

Tim Kelly was born in 1931 in Sagus / Mass. as Timothy Joseph Kelley. He started writing at the age of 12, and he never stopped until his dying day in 1998. He published books, wrote for newspapers (Arizona Republic, Arizona Highways, Phoenix Point West), wrote for stage, for radio and also for TV. His works came out under various pseudonyms, but for The High Chaparral (and Westerns in general) he always used “Kelly”.

In 1957 Tim Kelly moved to Arizona and got to know the area through his friend and collaborator Roland Bibolet. In 1964, Tim Kelly published his first Western novel “Ride of Fury”. Out of curiosity, I bought this book, too. When I had finished it, I took a moment to fully appreciate what I had just read.

In 1851 the Miller family (Rawley and Ellie Miller and their children Ann, Jeannie and Lorenzo) sets out to travel to California. However, they take the wrong route. The adults get killed by the Apaches, the Millers’ daughters become slaves, only Lorenzo survives and makes his way back to where they started. Another family takes him in, and a scout known as Doc Lefeur promises to look for the girls.

Nine years later Lefeur sends Lorenzo a locket which belonged to Ann. Unable to find Lefeur, Lorenzo asks Cos Fury to look for his sister (a task the army failed to do twice). Intending to buy the girl, Cos takes gold coins with him. He rides from Yuma to Camp Ajo and on to Fort Gila,

questioning a dying Apache on his way. Since every sign points to Maricopa Wells, Cos expects to find Ann there. But the Maricopa Indians tell him nothing, and he leaves empty-handed.

Feeling depressed and running a fever, Cos arrives in Tucson just when a troop of dragoons from Calabasas rides in. The soldiers refer him to a man called Josh who in turn refers him to a miner called Pete Parker. As soon as he is well again, Cos visits Pete at his mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, then decides to track Lefeur down and question the man about the locket. Reasoning that Lefeur might have gone to Magdalena (a charming town in Sonora), Cos rides for the border, bypassing the ruined mission of Tumacacori. However, Cos’s horse shies from a rattle snake and gets hurt on its flight. The injury draws a wolf pack. Cos valiantly defends his horse, but the injuries are too severe, and he is forced to shoot the animal.

Continuing on foot, Cos Fury meets the gun-runner Tomas from whom he buys a new horse. Tomas agrees to take Cos to Mangas Coloradas in the Dragoon Mountains when he makes the next delivery. His helper is a mute half-breed.

“Don’t he have a name?” asked Fury.

“Sure. Everybody’s got a name.” Tomas laughed. “They call him Johnny-No-Name.”

Promising him safe passage, Mangas Coloradas tells Cos to visit a Mohave band. The Indians are camped out where Fort Lester once stood. Living with these people is the Maricopa Indian Lame Deer who currently owns Ann. There, Cos Fury finally finds the girl. But before he can buy her, Tomas and Johnny-No-Name ambush him at night and rob him. They drop one gold coin in their haste to get away. And this coin enables Cos to buy Ann after all the next morning. But the girl won’t speak. Cos rides with her to the Tumacacori Mission where they bath in a nearby pond. Ann starts to cry and finally begins to talk. Then the Apache warriors come to them with the dead body of Tomas and a warning: the Apaches go to war. The white women will be taken as slaves like Ann, the soldiers will die like the troop from Calabasas, and every other white eye in their territory will also die, like Pete the miner.

Cos takes Ann to Yuma where Lorenzo is waiting, then rides on to the Gulf of Baja California to see the ocean.

Of course you recognized the episodes, didn’t you? Yes. “Ride the savage land” and “Bad day for a thirst”. For the episode scripts Tim Kelly changed the plots considerably, e.g. incorporating the second rescuer into episode 22. But the basics are all there. Critics used to praise Kelly for his ability to construct and develop drama and for his attention to detail. As was the case with Apache customs and traditions, he always did extensive research and took great care to get the details right – for the episodes he wrote himself as well as when he was story editor. And the variety of topics he addressed is simply amazing. While I do not like every single one of the High Chaparral episodes, I have come to appreciate almost all of them, especially those of season 1 and 2. They help to flesh out the characters, e.g. giving us some background on Vaquero in episode 34, on Sam and Joe (ep. 31), on Victoria (ep. 36 and 43) and of course on Buck and Mano. According to his biography, Tim Kelly knew the cast of the High Chaparral. Seeing the actors at work, he must have realized that pairing Mano with Blue would be no good. It is too obvious that the actors who play Mano and Buck have become best friends.

But many “Tim Kelly episodes” also flesh out the show itself. They tell us about the Buffalo soldiers, how hard life could be in a remote area for a child (remember Tina in ep. 37 or the Apache children in ep. 30), the role of the church (ep. 27), the duties of a patrón (ep. 34), what Thanksgiving is all about (ep. 39), how you tame a horse (ep. 29), life on a reservation (ep. 50) or how a madman acts (ep. 42). I wish Tim Kelly had stayed on as story editor. Who knows what else he would have come up with?

Ride the Savage Land / written by Tim Kelly
Bad Day for a Thirst / written by Tim Kelly. Story editor: Tim Kelly
A Joyful Noise / story editor: Tim Kelly
Threshold of Courage / story editor: Tim Kelly
The Promised Land / story editor: Tim Kelly
For What We Are About to Receive / story editor: Tim Kelly
The Deceivers / story editor: Tim Kelly
Sea of Enemies / story editor: Tim Kelly
The Stallion / story editor: Tim Kelly
The Covey / story editor: Tim Kelly
Ten Little Indians / story editor: Tim Kelly
The Buffalo Soldiers / story editor: Tim Kelly
Ebenezer / story editor: Tim Kelly
Tornado Frances / story editor: Tim Kelly
Follow Your Heart / story editor: Tim Kelly
Shadow of the Wind / story consultants: Walter Black, Tim Kelly
North to Tucson / story consultants: Walter Black, Tim Kelly
Surtee / story by Tim Kelly and Walter Black (original title: The kill agent)
The Lion Sleeps / written by Tim Kelly
Mi Casa, Su Casa / written by Tim Kelly

post Hateful Eight

January 15th, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:18 pm

From an interview on, Quentin Tarantino continues to talk about his Western inspiration“It’s less inspired by one Western movie than by Bonanza, The Virginian, High Chaparral,” Tarantino said. “Twice per season, those shows would have an episode where a bunch of outlaws would take the lead characters hostage. They would come to the Ponderosa and hold everybody hostage, or to go Judge Garth’s place — Lee J. Cobb played him — in The Virginian and take hostages. There would be a guest star like David Carradine, Darren McGavin, Claude Akins, Robert Culp, Charles Bronson or James Coburn. I don’t like that storyline in a modern context, but I love it in a Western, where you would pass halfway through the show to find out if they were good or bad guys, and they all had a past that was revealed. “I thought, ‘What if I did a movie starring nothing but those characters? No heroes, no Michael Landons. Just a bunch of nefarious guys in a room, all telling backstories that may or may not be true. Trap those guys together in a room with a blizzard outside, give them guns, and see what happens.’ ”

Writer Mike Flemming, Jr. commented, “I moderated the talk with Tarantino right after he’d finalized a cast that includes Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Demian Bichir and Channing Tatum. Goggins, Jackson, Russell and Leigh were aglow from a table read days before in which bounty hunters, confederate generals, lawmen and a lady outlaw trade salty banter that seems headed for the trademark Tarantino violent climax (nobody was shown the film’s last chapter). The big surprise to me was that the inspiration for Tarantino’s first real Western wasn’t some John Wayne, Peckinpah or Clint Eastwood screen classic, but rather the TV series that dominated the 1960s primetime network landscape and provided early jobs for actors that included Russell and Dern.”

post Cameron Mitchell, Actor-Ballplayer

January 15th, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:17 pm

Cameron Mitchell, Actor-Ballplayer

Vintage article, Jan 20, 1973

All  of us have our Walter Mitty dreams, and for actor Cameron Mitchell the unfulfilled ambition is to make an unassisted triple play.

In fact, while Mitchell is a dedicated and successful actor, athletics is his abiding passion.  He’s a frustrated baseball player – “To this day, I’m sorry I didn’t go professional. “ – and at the drop of a resin bag he’ll talk about baseball.

We chatted the other day at the NBC-TV studios in Burbank and at times I thought I had switched jobs with Blade sports writer Tom Loomis. Mitchell talked about baseball and athletics most of the time during an interview which ran nearly an hour.

Oh, he did manage to bring up his new series, “Escape,” which will have its premiere Feb. 11 on NBC, probably because there was a press agent hovering in the background. But Mitchell kept turning the conversation back to sports.

Mitchell has some impressive credentials as an actor, such as playing in the original roadway production of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” in a high-powered cast which included Lee J. Cobb and Arthur Kennedy.

But he’d rather be remembered as the pitcher for the Hollywood Stars, made up of a group of actors, who beat the Los Angeles Angels, 4-3, back in 1948.

“And, mind you, the home-plate umpire wouldn’t give me anything – he hated actors,” Mitchell said, grinning.

“Yeah, and I remember I once batted against Satchel Paige – perhaps the greatest pitcher who ever lived – when I was 17. I got a single. Then old Satch picked me off base. That man had the fastest ball I’ve ever seen. He’d wind up, lazy like, and that ball just smoked toward the pate – or to first base.”

Mitchell, a six-footer who doesn’t look that tall because of his athletic build, has a face that reflects his part-Indian ancestry. His black hair is now slightly flecked with gray, but his virile good looks continue to draw appreciative glances from the feminine division.

The actor comes from a strict Scottish-German family in Dallastown, PA, and his father was a minister who wasn’t enthusiastic about Cameron becoming an actor. At about this point in the interview, while discussion religion, Mitchell pulled up his turtleneck sweater, displaying three religious medals denoting the major Western faiths, and pronounced:

“I play it safe.”

Reminiscing further about his early years and the start of his acting career, he recalled that a teacher in Dallastown gave him is first big break, when she lent him money to go to New York to study acting.  She was, he recalled, “a homely woman with a beautiful heart.” He wasn’t an overnight success in New York, working as a dishwasher and an usher before breaking into show business.

His first Broadway role was in the 1939 production of “Taming of the Shrew,” with Alfred Lunt and Lyn Fontanne. After serving as an airman in World War II, he came to Hollywood and appeared in dozens of movies, including such hits as Cass Timberlane,” “Command Decision, “Some Like it Hot,” and “No Down Payment.”

The highlight of his television career was a starting role in “High Chaparral,” the western series which was quite successful and rather mysteriously cancelled (“We were very disappointed at that cancellation”).

“Escape,” his new TV venture, is another of NBC’s mini-series, consisting of four half-hour action-adventure dramas depicting people coping with life-or-death situations.  In his segment, “Lost,” due to be broadcast in mid or late February, he plays a sergeant in charge of a Los Angeles County emergency service team trying to find a brother and sister lost in a mountainous area. The show also stars Glenn Corbett and Marion Ross.

Stars in other segments of the series are John Ericson and Ed Nelson. The series is a Jack Webb enterprise, and Webb is the off-camera narrator in all four episodes, giving the shows a semi-documentary flavor.

post Beautiful Paradox

January 15th, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:16 pm

Beautiful Paradox

Vintage Article, January 1970

Linda Cristal is a paradox, a complex of extremes

She loves being a woman, and devotedly labors at retaining her femininity.

She also loves putting on dungarees, hopping on a horse and heading into the Arizona plains where she hunts quail, and can hit a small bottle of beer from 100 feet with a .22 rifle.

She gave up her acting career when she married businessman Yale Wexler, whose brother Haskell directed “Medium Cool” and became a wife and mother. Her two sons are now 6 and 8 years old But when the marriage ended, she returned, landed the role on “High Chaparral” as Leif Erickson’s young wife.

However, when she remarries some day – and Linda insists she will, “When the right man comes along” – she insist she will give up her career again.

Until that longed-for day arrives, Linda Cristal will concentrate on the other careers, being an actress, a mother and a woman.

The Career is flying high, from mistress of High Chaparral to personal appearances. It will reach a new high next month when she travels to Germany to receive the Bambi Award there as Best Actress in a series on German television. High Chaparral is one of the highest rated shows in Germany, and 67 other countries around the world where it also is seen weekly.

Recently, Linda opened a new facet of her career, singing. She began taking lessons, as a matter of fact, so she could take advantage of offers to make personal appearances at rodeos and fairs.

She has been accepting these highly lucrative engagements with Mark Slade, who plays Blue on High Chaparral, and four background musicians.

“I love to sing country-Western,” explained Linda. She also emphasized that her personal appearances would be restricted to rodeos and fairs. “I don’t want to do nightclubs. That would take up too much time. But I will continue to do the rodeos. The people on “Bonanza” used to make many rodeos during the year, but they got rich and lazy. Only Michael Landon still goes out, I understand.”

One of the fringe benefits of being in the series, Linda ecstatically says, it the fact that when they are on location – which is roughly half o the shooting schedule – everyone lives in Tucson, Ariz.

“I adore it there,” Linda exclaimed. “It is so peaceful, I can count the stars at night. Living in Tucson is going from one extreme to the other, from the solitude to the tumult  of Hollywood. My boys stay with me whenever they are not in school, and we have ponies there for all of us.”

Linda keeps a year-around apartment in Tucson, and has a home in Beverly Hills. “I don’t like to carry much luggage when I travel. We are the only television series with our own jet, exclusively available to us, and we fly back and forth so quickly.”

At the moment, High Chaparral shooting is between seasons. They have done 80 shows in three years and, if picked up again – as is likely – will resume for next season in April.

Linda plans to spend much of her time off on a shopping spree. “I’m devoted to shopping, especially for antiques,” she declared.

Although born in Agentina, Linda grew up in Europe. Her father, a magazine publisher, fled Argentina to escape political persecution when Linda was only six, and took his family to Europe.  When she was in her teens, the beautiful young girl began a movie career and, by the time she was married, she had appeared in more than 30 films. She has lived in the United States since 1958, and is a naturalized citizen.

I recall in Argentina that another little girl who looked very much like me was kidnapped and killed and my father said that the kidnappers actually wanted to take me,”  Linda revealed.  “so he packed up what he could and we very quickly left the country.”

Despite her many movies, Linda never felt satisfied with her acting So, when her marriage broke up, she decided to study acting.

When her agent called to tell her about the series, and the part, she showed up for an audition fully prepared. She did 12 ideas of improvisational acting in an hour and 15 minutes, including: love, hate, passion, frustration, regret and pain. She had no sooner finished the last one when producer David Dortort told her she was hired. Her only previous television experience had been a single guest shot on “Rawhide.”

The popularity of the show, Linda feels is that it is strong drama, rather than simply a Western drama. Also, it is doing exceptionally well in Latin America because of the treatment of Mexican relationships. “I think we have helped Latin American relationships by elevating the Mexicans,” Linda declared.

“It is funny. We had a feeling of success for the show right from the start.  It is tedious work – up at 5a.m. and we work sometimes until midnight, when we are on location – six days a week. At the studio, we only work five days, but the hours are long, too. We don’t mind because we have wonderful spirit. We are still ambitious. “

“I would like to have time to find the right man,” she said somewhat ruefully. “As far as career is concerned, my ambition is strange. More than a career, I seek quality of work.”

“Career? First being a woman. It takes time just being a woman, like reading material for the mind, and body exercises, and keeping the nails clean. I have two boys, and I want to be an imaginable woman in the house. I still think the woman should look up to the man.  I like to have the chair pulled out for me when I rise or sit down. Femininity is the salvation of marriage. Unless the woman becomes feminine again, marriage is on the way out.”
“Marriage can be stubborn. It’s like pushing a mule.”

post Dan Haggerty Dies

January 15th, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:16 pm

Grizzly Adams Star
Dan Haggerty Dies

Dan Haggerty, known worldwide as Grizzly Adams, passed away early today, January 15, 2016, after a battle with cancer.

Dan was best known for playing Grizzly Adams on his hit 1977 TV show, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adam. . His iconic portrayal earned him a star on the Hollywood walk and life-long fans wherever he appeared.

During his last months Dan asked to be kept on the schedule for The High Chaparral Reunion and insisted he would attend. His devotion to fans and strong spirit made him determined to make this one last appearance, even when it was clear his body couldn’t last.

Dan left a lasting impact in the world of television and with all who knew him. He will be deeply missed and never forgotten.

post Gingerbread HC

January 15th, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:15 pm

Gingerbread HC

Joni Chandler, activites director at Desert Springs Retirement center in Oro Valley/Tucson contacted me recently with a High Chaparral story.   The corporation that owns Desert Springs holds an annual Gingerbread House contest for all properties.   The folks at Desert Springs wanted their submission to have an Arizona theme – what could be better than a High Chaparral gingerbread house?

Joni sent details along with photos and a late ‘Merry Christmas’ to all.

The walls and roof are made of gingerbread made fresh from our Sous Chef Martin.  The roof was covered with chocolate frosting with a layer of stick pretzels giving it that old western rustic look. Large pretzel rods were cut and placed around the top exterior walls giving a beam effect. Small skittles were placed around the top exterior walls for Christmas lights. For the background of the mountains we use cornflakes. Frosting and fondant made the sky and clouds. The windows and doors were painted with food coloring and the doors accented with pretzels. We used pretzel rods for the porch beams. The cactus was made with fondant and food coloring. We used graham crackers for the broken wagon and vanilla wafers for the wheels with food coloring to accent. The snow covered ground was fondant and frosting with a fence made with pretzel sticks. Powdered sugar was sprinkled to give the effect of snow. Lastly The High Chaparral sign was made with fondant and food coloring for the lettering.

Up to eight residents participated throughout the three week process.

The High Chaparral gingerbread house is displayed upstairs next to one of our Christmas trees. Visitors and residents admired the creativeness along with remembering the Sunday night western show. Most people living in Tucson have been to Old Tucson and said we did a wonderful job at recreating The High Chaparral.

post High Chaparral Theme Music

January 15th, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:14 pm

High Chaparral Theme Music
By Matt Saunders

As each season of the High Chaparral  progressed so did its theme music, (music by David Rose, Lyrics by Joe Lubin & David Dortort. )

Season One started with a beefy, steady, moderate tempo.  Each season the theme tempo got slightly faster season by season until ending up in season 4 as a quick tempo with a more smoothed out, lush arrangement.

When listening to Season 1-3 it’s easy to think it’s the same recording speeded up.  However if you listen closely with a musician’s ear you’ll notice slight differences in the percussion sections.   Each season had a new, different recording.

The theme music used for the beginning of each episode is two bars long, but the music at the end of each episode is only one bar long.    The end theme isn’t simply the beginning music with the last half cut off, instead you can hear a slightly different arrangement recorded specifically for the end when the guest stars names are displayed.  This was a common practice when recording TV themes in the 60’s & 70’s.

Hopefully after reading this and listening to the different seasons themes, High Chaparral fans will appreciate how good the recording and arrangement was, it is one of the best western themes which goes hand in hand with one of the best TV westerns ever made.

*Editors note:  Musician union rules required network productions to record new theme music each season.  Producers sometimes used the exact same arrangement year to year but often took advantage of the opportunity to modify the theme, providing a fresher arrangement for the new season. 

All For You
Theme from “The High Chaparral”
Music by David Rose
Lyrics by Joe Lubin & David Dortort

It’s all for you this love that I bring
The song that I sing is a song from my heart
And it’s all for you.

Without you there the dreams that I’ve planned
would be grains of sand. Take my dreams, make them true
‘Cause they’re all for you.

The great rugged mountains, these thousand mile plains
This vast blazing desert, Come share all I claim.

So take my love and as long as I live
Take all that I have to give, here’s my world, take it too
Oh, it’s all for you.

HC Season 1 Theme Opening         HC Season 1 Closing
HC Season 2 Theme Opening         HC Season 2 Closing
HC Season 3 Theme Opening         HC Season 3 Closing
HC Season 4 Theme Opening         HC Season 4 Closing

post A Penny For Your Thoughts

January 15th, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:13 pm
A Penny For Your Thoughts
By Penny McQueen

Hi !

The day is almost here – the deadline to sign up for the 2016 High Chaparral Reunion is February 1.   Are you signed up with hundreds of other fans or will you pay more to be a latecomer?

Could you be a Reunion Booster this year, because we truly need your help to meet the budget numbers?  For $125  you get a 2016 T-shirt, coffee mug, Arbuckle coffee pack, Sounds of Chaparral by Don Collier,  and a DVD of Geronimo with Rudy Ramos …..and you instantly know you’ve made a difference by helping keep the spirit of the west alive another year.

If you can’t be a Reunion Booster then how about the Bunkhouse Booster for $25?  This special amounts helps tremendously, and you can honor someone – your Dad, favorite actor or TC show – as a part of your gift.

Sign up as a Booster at and be a part of all we do.

You can also send funds in any amount  by Paypal to, or send a check made out to The High Chaparral Reunion, 7233 N. State Road 43, Solsberry, IN.

All these Booster funds go directly to pay for our celebrity guests airfare, hotel, food and other travel expenses.  Whatever you send helps enormously.

Whether you can or can’t be a Booster I’m thankful you’re a part of The High Chaparral family.  Thanks for helping keep High Chaparral and our American west alive.


After a long conversation with our fantastic videographer  Harry Findez  I made the decision to make the 2016 Webcast available to everyone for FREE.

Although the paid webcast generated significant funds for us last year the overall goal has always been to make the Reunion available to as many people as possible and so I want to ensure fans from around the world can tune in to The High Chaparral family reunion in 2016.

You can watch The High Chaparral Webcast directly from starting March 17th.  Free.

Welcome to Tucson and The High Chaparral.