post Two Rode Together

April 24th, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:03 pm

by Ginny Shook

On the opening day of the Palm Springs Westfest, Don Collier and I sat under the warm California sun, arranging his photos for sale and watching the fans of Western TV and movies start to arrive. “I miss Bobby,” he said suddenly. “It just isn’t the same…”

Ted Markland, Don Collier, and Bob Hoy

This was the first festival Don and I had attended without Bobby Hoy and his absence at our table was almost painful. Though it was a year since Bobby’s passing, Don remarked that it seemed like yesterday. As he talked to the fans about his work on The High Chaparral, Don would point to the cowboy in the blue shirt in the cast photos. “Bobby was my brother,” was what he always told them. Not “played” his brother but “was” his brother. I knew it was true. Don and Bobby first met in 1958 at an acting class and their friendship stayed strong until the end. Though Don lives in Arizona and Bobby resided in Southern California, they talked several times a week. When there was a festival that one of them couldn’t make they would call each other every day to report what was going on, lie through their teeth about how much money they were making with autographed photos, and always assure the other that he was missed. During The High Chaparral days, if the filming took the cast out on location, Bobby and Don usually shared a room to help production manager Kent McCray save a few dollars. And they were still bunking together at the festivals forty years later.

There have been so many festivals that the Butler Brothers attended throughout the years, sharing the memories of The High Chaparral with the fans. Sometimes they’ve been with Ted Markland, sometimes with Henry Darrow. Once they had the pleasure of Linda Cristal’s company, and one stellar festival had Don, Bobby, Henry, Rudy Ramos and Roberto Contreras. Their popularity got them invited over and over to such festivals as Rex Allen Days, The Roy Rogers Festival, The Memphis Film Festival, The Cowboy Festival of Santa Clarita, Festival of the West, The Wild Western Festival, The Hollywood Collectors and Autograph Show, The Old Tucson Autograph Show, Lone Pine Film Festival and others. And of course, The High Chaparral Reunion.

It has been my joy and privilege to attend many of these shows with Don and Bobby (and Ted and Henry and Rudy), helping them sell their photos and act as a sort of personal manager. I’ve tried, throughout the years, to encourage The High Chaparral fans to come to any event that was nearby and spend some time with these great guys. High Chaparral fans meant the world to them and if they met you, you became a friend.

But that time is coming to an end as all good things do. Its not the same without Bobby; the linchpin who held the group together. “Hey, I’m old,” proclaimed Don, as he called me for directions into Palm Springs for the third time in an hour. He will be 83 this October, a week before this year’s High Chaparral Reunion. The hustle and bustle required to come out and meet the fans is tiring. He thinks its time to put away the photos and Sharpie pen.

There is one last place you will be able to meet Sam Butler, Manolito Montoya, Wind, and Reno and that is at The High Chaparral Reunion, October 21-23, 2011 in Old Tucson. This get-together is even better than a Western festival or autograph show. Fans get to spend quality time with their favorites. Share a table for a chat. Rub elbows at dinner. Buy them a cocktail. The the cast and crew are so happy to be together again that their infectious spirit creates a loving family which includes the fans. I think that the 2011 Reunion may be the last time this happens. Maybe not – I hope not. But there is a chance. Don’t take that gamble. Make your reservation for the Reunion today.

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