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post A Ranch by Any Other Name

April 16th, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:27 pm

Vintage article reprinted from 1968

Malachi Throne in High Chaparral

The Cannons might have fought for Saguaro Ranch if network executives
hadn’t pronounced it ‘Sag-you-our-oh’

What’s in a name?

Plenty, if it happens to be a TV series, in the opinion of David Dortort, creator of Bonanza and The High Chaparral. Dortort feels the title of a series has much to do with its public acceptance.

“I wanted a colorful name for The High Chaparral a name which came from the Southwest itself just as Ponderosa depicts the mountain country of Bonanza,” said Dortort.

Chaparral describes a low, dense, impenetrable vegetation or bush with a prickly growth. Dortort first thought of calling the series Saguaro (pronounced Sa-war-o after the tall columnar cactus so plentiful in Arizona.) Saguaro, an Indian word picked up by early Spanish settlers in the Southwest, had only one drawback. It was impossible to pronounce.

Chaparral is also closely related to the Spanish word chaparreras, or more familiarly the chaps worn by cowboys to protect the legs from the chaparral, snake and animal bites and the cold. Chaparral also refers to the speedy roadrunner in the cuckoo bird family.

In the first episode of the series the ranch was named when John Cannon’s (Leif Erickson) first wife Annalee (Joan Caulfield) asked: “What is that bush called, the green one?”

“Chaparral,” he answered.

“I christen thee The High Chaparral, the greatest cattle ranch in the whole territory, the whole world,” Annalee responded.

The Daily Courier Guide to Entertainment, Feb. 24, 1968

Annalee Cannon names the ranch 'High Chaparral' in this scene from Destination Tucson

Annalee Cannon names the ranch ‘High Chaparral’ in this scene from Destination Tucson.

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