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post Leif Erickson, Cameraman

August 2nd, 2008

Filed under: Interviews & Articles,Letters to the Editor — admin @ 6:30 pm

July 9, 2007

Don Whaley, a camera operator on Bonanza, attended past reunions with High Chaparral cameraman Wally Johnson. Don sends his regrets, but thoughtfully sent along information he recently learned about Leif Erickson.

While carving an empire out of the hostile desert, John Cannon needed courage, intelligence, and every talent a man could draw on to succeed. We know him as an extraordinary man of many accomplishments. So was the actor who portrayed him. Leif Erickson, in addition to his fine singing voice and acting, served as a navy photographer during World War II.

Leif Erickson early in his career

He studied photography in 1942 at the Naval Training School in Pensacola, and after graduation taught as an instructor/lecturer. It comes as no surprise that he was assigned to a Combat Photographic Team, shooting stills and movies in combat zones, until he left the navy in 1945, a Chief Photographer’s Mate. Life experiences that must’ve added richness to the role of John Cannon.

Leif Erickson as we know him


In 1969, Leif returned to the Training School, a famous Hollywood actor. The staff and students, including one of his former pupils, were delighted as he talked about the latest motion picture equipment in use on the hot NBC hit, The
High Chaparral.

Giberson, Art (2000). Eyes of the Fleet: A History of Naval Photography.
Florida: Wind Canyon Books, Inc.

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