May 12th, 2015
Vintage article from 1971
Back in the days when records came in one speed – 78 RPD – comedian Morey Amsterdam recorded an amusing ditty titled “I Can’t Get Off My Horse,” the idea being that “some dirty dog put glue in my saddle.” Cameron Mitchell is thinking about revving the old tune as his theme song.
Mitchell, who makes a nice living trundling around the Old West on The High Chaparral, would like the world to know that he’s a lot more than just a cowboy.
“I refuse to knock TV,” he says, “because it’s been too good to me. But there are all kinds of people around who don’t remember that I was pretty good in the original version of ‘Death of a Salesman’ on Broadway. No, I’ll take that back – I was damned good.”
Even though he has a couple of hundred movies to his credit – some of them good, some of them not so great – and that nice steady salary coming in from The High Chaparral, Mitchell decided to stick his neck out last year and came back to Broadway to costar with James Ear Jones (“Jimmy is the greatest actor alive,” says Cam, “he’s a black Jesus”) in “Les Blancs.”
It folded, causing Mitchell a lot of grief and costing him a nice hunk of money, since he paid his own expenses in New York when it became evident that the show was in trouble – which was the morning after the first night.
“Well, O.K.,” says Cam, “the show closed. I still think it was one of the great plays of all time and I’m glad I did it. Not that I’ll come back to Broadway again. But now I have a new goal in life – I want to personally axe murder Clive Barnes, the critic for the New York Times.”
Otherwise Mitchell is really quite a happy guy. Really. He even likes recessions and would like to see the return of the Depression.
“It was a happy time,” he remembers, or thinks he remembers.
“There wasn’t much crime, because nobody had anything so who could you rob? I used to spend 10 cents for breakfast and 15 cents for lunch and I always managed to get it. Things are all out of line now. Hell, I made one Western a few years ago where we hired horses, then we hired Indians to be extras. We had to pay some guy $9 a day for each horse, but all we had to pay for the Indians was $3 a day. Something’s wrong when horses are worth more than people.”
And so saying he hitched on his six gun and rode off into the sunset.
Two Ways to Join Uncle Buck!
Come join us on Facebook on the Buck Cannon (Cameron Mitchell) Friends and Fans group and theCameron Mitchell, Actor page Doris Ni Langain posts some wonderful Cam/Buck pics rarely seen before as well as some classics, and some of Cam’s family members chime in with interesting stories and insights. The Cameron Mitchell, Actor page explores more in-depth aspects of his long and wonderful career.
So get a double dose of Cameron/Buck—that be a invite!