October 13th, 2013
Vintage article from June, 1968
Mark Slade, the maverick kid in “The High Chaparral,” describes himself as theoldest teen-ager on television in the role of Billy Blue Cannon.
Slade, in reality, is somewhere between 20 and 30. Just how close to 30 he won’t say.
Slade is not himself anyhow. He’s a newlywed.
Four months ago he married publicist Melinda Riccilli who has left her job to accompany her husband to the location site of the NBC-TV horse opera near Tucson, Ariz. They will spend six weeks in the cactus country where more than half of the series is filmed.
The Slades have made their permanent home in the San Fernando Valley. It’s a studio apartment where they plan to stay for at least 18 months. Thereafter they will seek a house.
Unlike many a newlywed couple, Mark and Melinda are not buying furniture slowly. Nor did they inherit any heirlooms from their families.
“We walked into a furniture store,” Slade explains, “and 10 minutes later we had it all,”
Their instant decorating job including bedroom set, living room furniture, television, the works. Slade adds, “I just walked around and pointed out what we wanted.”
Though he plans a petulant character on the series, Slade is a humorous man off-screen, who pokes fun at himself as well as the show and anyone else who happens to be around.
Slade is an accomplished cartoonist and spends hours sketching charicatures of other members of the cast. His work has been published and at one time he was a professional cmic strip artist. He was synsdicated with “Sea Breeze” in newspapers in the east. The strip recorded the adventures of an intellectual seagull.
A man of many parts, Slade is an excellent ventriloquist.
Acting, being the in-and-out profession that it is, has reminded Mark to keep his drawing and ventriloquism up to date.
Most mornings the actor reports to the studio at 6 a.m. and works until 7 in the evening. On location he works six days a week chasing the sunshine.
In his words, “Melinda and I don’t dig the Hollywood scene,” which excludes them from fancy parties and the social swim. They prefer to do their swimming at the beach.
Slade’s cowboy duds on the show are standard raiment for an oater. In private life he say, “My personal wardrobe is horrible. I still wear Ivy League stuff I bought back east when I lived there.”
Both Mark and Melinda sport cars “with dents in them.” But with the increasing popularity of the series, they may be driving dentless luxury sedans in the near future.