July 30th, 2011
by Penny McQueen
When the pilot script for The High Chaparral first introduces Reno, he’s in the bar in Tucson, with a scruffy group of men who are described as ‘certain salient characters who will later become important.’ The men in the bar are all a part of Sam Butler’s bunch, but by the next scene they’re reluctantly hired by John Cannon as his first ranch hands.
Reno had one line in the barroom scene script (‘Ride ‘em cowboy! Yahoo!’). More would come later, including memorable turns at playing guitar and singing a particularly haunting melody that long-time viewers of the show still love.
“I wish I had the sheet music to Colorado Trail”, Ted Markland, who portrayed Reno, said. “I’d like to sing a line or two of that for fans at the Reunion.”
Tall and good looking with long hair, Markland was a favorite with teenagers who visited the set at Tucson. During costuming he landed a shirt that fit 1870’s cowboy Arizona, but was also perfect for looking cool in the late 1960’s. “The fringe looked great – it was ‘in’, the thing to wear. I used to cut off pieces for the kids who came to see us shoot because they wanted a souvenir, They were all so nice to send us fan letters. I had big boxes and sacks of letters. It means a lot to an actor to get those, so when they visited and asked I always tried to give them something.”
But snipping off pieces of his assigned costume created headaches for wardrobe. “It drove them nuts,” Markland said. “I finally asked the head wardrobe guy to just give me a big long piece of the fringe, so I could cut off pieces to give to the fans. “
Don’t look for Markland to cut off pieces of his shirt at the Reunion, but plan to meet him. “Tell everyone I’ll be there and want to see them. The fans are so good to all of us – it’s great to see them. We always have a great time. I’m looking forward to it. “