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post Reunion Memories 2011

November 15th, 2011

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Reunion Memories 2011

On Vacation Together

By Michele Simmons

Fan Michelle with Henry Darrow

It’s so difficult to try and find an absolute favorite memory. We have not had that much fun for 3 solid days in a long, long time. My husband would occasionally watch High Chaparral when it was on in syndication years ago, but after the reunion, he’s wanted to watch 2-3 episodes of HC every night. He is hooked and we both can’t wait for the next Reunion.

We both agree that everything Don Collier said kept us laughing at all times. We never knew what he would say next and it was always funny though we feel he was not trying to be “funny”. Most of the things we’re still laughing about would probably not be printable. Don is now Gary’s hero!

I had the chance to get to know new friends. Some I’m still in contact with since returning home. Others I wish I had thought to get their email addresses to send them pictures I took of them. Making new friends has been a lot of fun for me and keeps the fun of the Reunion going on forever. It was wonderful to finally meet you face to face, as over the last year I feel we became friends through email.

Fans at the Sponsor’s Dinner on Friday evening

Probably the most memorable, and definitely one of the favorite memories of mine, was the Sponsor’s Dinner tribute to Bob Hoy. It was so moving, so wonderfully well done. I tear up even now remembering Kent’s words as he choked up and asked everyone to stand and applaud Bob Hoy. It was such a beautiful part of the weekend.

Thank you also for your beautiful and moving speech at the Sponsor’s Dinner. Speaking for all of us, and letting the actors know how much we have enjoyed their work, how we thought they were “hot then” and still think they’re “hot now”, really resonated with me. You spoke so eloquently for us all. Thank you. The words you chose perfectly conveyed what we all feel.

Everything was perfect; from the Lodge on the Desert accommodations and staff, the mariachi band, the cocktail reception Friday night to the beautiful way the tables were decorated. I can’t neglect praising the outstanding, delicious food all weekend. I’m so glad I “stumbled” upon the HC web site and the 2011 Reunion information back in January. I would not have missed this for the world.

Gary is hooked on Arbuckle’s coffee. I’ve already placed 2 large orders for his coffee supply and for some Christmas gifts! I even ordered some of their delicious vanilla decaf tea which I sampled at the Lodge restaurant. We enjoyed getting to know Pat, Denny and Joshua Willis who sat at our table at the Sponsor’s dinner. They are such a nice family. We love doing business with companies from the USA!

Fans watching the episode ‘Ride the Savage Land’ with Chaparral cast and crew, including Henry Darrow. What a treat to get to chat with Henry and the rest of the cast as they watch themselves on screen.

How could I forget to include another very favorite memory from the Reunion….that was having the chance to watch HC episodes with the cast and crew that made the magic happen. Friday morning while we watched High Chaparral episode, “Mark of the Turtle”, Don told a great story about a joke played on him while filming that episode. Saturday night we all watched the High Chaparral episode, “Ride The Savage Land”. The next day I had to ask Henry how they filmed the part where Manolito was hanging upside down on a cross. The close up scenes didn’t seem like it was a stunt double but it looked like it was actually Henry. I had wondered if they just filmed him right side up and turned the film around in the editing room. Henry’s reply was classic, “NO! They hung me upside down! The blood kept rushing to my head and Cam was purposely taking forever to do his part to keep me hanging there longer! It was terrible!”

What a fun experience to watch High Chaparral episodes with the actors, production members and crew and then hear about the details. That was one of the best parts of this weekend Reunion. The approachability and availability of the actors and others involved in the High Chaparral series. No pretense, no “entourage”, they weren’t brought in for a brief Q&A and then escorted out. They really seemed to appreciate the fans and enjoy hanging out with us the whole weekend. I recall reading something Rudy Ramos had said at another High Chaparral Reunion. He said, “It’s like we’re all on vacation together.” and that’s exactly how it felt.

Thanks to you and your fabulous crew of helpers for making this such a wonderful weekend filled with special memories

Autographs, Auction and Action

by Ginny Shook

Watch this Video of Sponsor’s Dinner preparations

I was sitting around drinking coffee out of my new Old Tucson Studios mug – new to me, and a new design from the Studio as well – thinking of all the excitement that happened just 2 short weeks ago. Seems like I only got home.

Sunday at the reunion started out kind of crazy for me. It was my last chance to get Don, Rudy and Henry to sign all the photos and T-shirts that had been auctioned off on Ebay. Penny and I had planned to take the three of them off somewhere before Sunday to sit down and get this done, but getting them all in one place at the same time, doing the same thing is kind of like herding cats, as the saying goes. It just didn’t seem right to take them away from the fans they were having so much fun with. So it was up to me to corral them individually and get the needed signatures. Its not so simple as it sounds. Think they just sign something without thinking? They wanted to know something about each person they were signing for, so they could make it personal.

And besides the Ebay winners there were special folks at the Lodge on the Desert we just had to give something to. The banquet captain, Carlos, who took such great care of everything got a cast photo signed by all three guys and he was so thrilled he kissed me! One of our severs accompanied me back to our meeting room so she could get autographs as well, which the guys were happy to do. And we also gave a signed cast photo to the resort’s chef (well, to his parents actually, as they were big fans). The chef stopped by personally for the Saturday night dinner to make sure everything was just right. He is an award-winner for his chef skills and the food certainly reflected that.

Watch this Video of Auction Items

Once I had all my promises taken care of I could relax. Sunday was the day that was all about the fans who had become, in just a few days, part of the Chaparral family. Time for the last photos to be taken, to get the auction winnings signed, and build a few last memories.

Speaking of the auction, I really think its the highlight of the reunion, after the day at Old Tucson. Those who won were like kids at Christmas, giddy and smiling and practically jumping up and down. I think everyone got at least one thing they bid on, there were so many wonderful items. Three tables chock full of High Chaparral goodness. However will that be topped for the next reunion? Nieves, who came with her sister all the way from Ireland, made a big impression on me with how thrilled she was to get a stack of precious old newsletters from the Mark Slade Fan Club. “I’d Rather Be Watching High Chaparral” license-plate holder was another big hit. Don’s CDs of the radio drama West of the Story was particularly popular, especially since his co-star, Billy Joe Patton, was Don’s guest at Old Tucson and was a big hit in his great cowboy duds. Don was sending more than a few fans my way who didn’t win to get their own copies of the CDs.

Watch this Video of Friday panel discussion. Henry talks about his early experiences on High Chaparral

After the auction hoopla, Don and Rudy sat themselves down at two of the big round tables in our meeting room. Perfect for pulling up a chair next to them for a chat. And in some cases (no names mentioned) actually forgoing the extra chair and sitting right on a famous knee! They listened, they shared, as if they had all the time in the world. Don had a stack of 8x10s of his handsome face to sign and give to his new pals. Rudy had five or six different photos that he was signing and giving away for anyone who wanted one. And of course everyone had to have their photo taken one last time with them both. It was a perfect end to a perfect weekend.

But it wasn’t really the end. I had to hit the road – I-10 to be exact, for my six hour drive back to the Palm Springs, CA area. But there were some fun activities for those whose flights didn’t leave until Monday. Like a tour of Tucson. A concert. And lots more visiting. But someone else will have to fill you on that.

By the way, Plinio has a great little video that he took inside the San Xavier Mission, one of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen. The front of the mission was used as the home of the Montoya family. And Carlos just posted many wonderful photos of the inside of the church as well. Its better than postcards! Yes, its on Facebook.  I also just watched a video from Plinio of Kent telling Gabriela and Fidel a funny story of the doctor who took care of the cast and crew on the set at Old Tucson, with Gabriela translating into Spanish as he tells it.


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