post Q&A

August 17th, 2008

Filed under: Question & Answer — admin @ 3:32 pm


I was hoping if you might be able to help me find or have knowledge if a “floor plan” exists of the ranch house. The main level and then the bedroom level upstairs. I’ve always loved this house and its beautiful layout and architecture.

The ranch house that still stands on the location set at Old Tucson was built for exterior shots only, so the inside is empty.  According to Kent McCray, producer for The High Chaparral, “The Art Director on Bonanza, Earl Hedrick, designed and built the exterior of The High Chaparral at Old Tucson. All of Earl Hedrick’s plans were destroyed and are non existent.”

All of the familiar rooms and decorations we’ve all come to expect from the episodes were shot on various soundstages. “The interior set was on the stage at Paramount Studios.  Later when we left Paramount for Warner Brothers Studios, a new interior set was built on our Warner Brothers stage.  Bob Shelton (ed.  note: owner/originator of Old Tucson Studios) purchased the interior set at Paramount and put it on the Old Tucson stage,” Kent said.

The logistics of the actual floor plan is another piece of Hollywood sleight of hand, because if you take the layout apart carefully, using the evidence shown in the TV show, you’ll find that it’s impossible to reconcile what’s shown with what is physically possible.  We all know there is a second floor to the house, containing various bedrooms.  But if you look carefully, you’ll see that the steps only allow for about a half floor, yet there’s John’s office, the kitchen, and also some other unseen rooms behind the main living room that must fit underneath the second floor.  In various episodes John and Victoria’s bedroom seems to be either on the second floor or on the ground level – or maybe they move back and forth for variety. The High Chaparral website provides an excellent explanation and estimated layout of the floor plan, as well as screen shots from the series detailing the rooms.

One High Chaparral fan dealt with all these issues (and many more) when he decided to build a true to life replica of the ranch house set.  Ronnie Rubino’s home is so exactly like the High Chaparral that it’s startling to be inside it.   Having had the pleasure of visiting Ronnie’s house, I can tell you The High Chaparral ranch house is a comfortable, lovely place, and would have been a very impressive house in 1870’s Arizona.  It’s certainly a beautiful home today.

Because the ranch itself was actually a major character in the series, various legendary stores have built up around its creation and history.  Occasionally you may hear the design was based on the original Pete Kitchen ranch house, that there was already a building on the Old Tucson lot which the HC crew remodeled, or that the ranch set changed between the pilot and the regular first season series.  About the Pete Kitchen theory, Kent McCray says, “I have no clue,” but for the rest he can set the record straight, since he was there at the beginning and throughout every episode. “The ranch set never changed between the pilot and the first season, and there was not any building on the Old Tucson property before that.”

High Chaparral ranch house from Pilot episode
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This video clip shows the first time the Cannons – and viewers – see The High Chaparral ranch house,
in the pilot episode Destination Tucson.

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High Chaparral episode Ghost of Chaparral
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This video clip from Ghost of Chaparral provides a good view of the entrance of the ranch house.
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Hello, my name is Sergio, currently in Guatemala and again I see the series the Grand Chaparral, a travez cable and gives me great  pleasure reminds me of my ñinez and good times. Here in Guatemala has always liked. I have some questions. My question is – what was the fate of the actors after starring THE GRAND CHAPARRAL. What happened to these players today?

Leif Erickson (John Cannon) died on January 29, 1986 from cancer. Cameron Mitchell (Buck Cannon) died on July 6, 1994 of lung cancer. Henry Darrow (Manolito Montoya) is alive and living in North Carolina. He is still acting and just attended the premier of Primo, a movie he appeared in. Linda Cristal (Victoria Cannon) is retired from acting and lives at her home in Beverly Hills, California. Mark Slade (Blue Cannon) is an artist, you can see his work on his website. Bob Hoy (Joe Butler) is healthy and active, and attends many fan events every year.  He had an appearance in NCIS this past year. Don Collier (Sam Butler) is active, still does voiceover work, and acts. He is the new Arbuckles Coffee CowboyTed Markland (Reno) lives in Joshua Tree, California, and is still acting.  Rudy Ramos (Wind) continues to act after a successful career, and is passionate about music and horses.

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