February 18th, 2016
Never Look Back
By Ginny Shook
When Linda Cristal called to ask me for a favor, I bit the bullet and asked her for one in return. Would she allow me to interview her for the High Chaparral ReunionNewsletter? “I haven’t done an interview in 20 years,” she told me, “but for you, of course I’ll do it.”
To say that I was nervous with such a gift is like saying The High Chaparral was just another TV show. But I was ready with questions and was sure that my interview would be full of pleasant reminisces and stories.
I was not prepared for the gift she gave me – a personal insight into her philosophy of life. I’m not sure that was her intention. But her mindset and beliefs have colored every aspect of her life, including her career. Every question about High Chaparral came around again to her beliefs. I felt that I was getting an important life lesson; that I was being mentored by someone with a deep and important wisdom.
What she has accomplished was no accident. No being in the right place at the right time. It had nothing to do with her talent, or her beauty (so she says). It was her life philosophy; a code, if you will, that she put into place long ago and has lived by ever since. It’s kept her out of the Hollywood mindset of measuring herself against someone else. Beauty can only by measured by comparison, and she didn’t measure or compare herself to other people.
Linda never said that her way was the best way, but what worked for her. Everything she told me, in a voice which has not changed one bit from her days as Victoria Cannon, was serious, sincere, and almost curious about what she herself was saying. There is confidence, certainly. But it is not ego. If anything, there is an absence of ego in Linda. Her confidence is a result of her ability to see a goal, focus on it, and make it happen. It is this ability that drives her life.
And what character does that remind you of?
I know I can’t do justice to her philosophy. So I will share our entire conversation, uncensored, as it unfolded.
GS: I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Henry Darrow. He said the High Chaparral actor he most enjoyed working with was you.
LC: He was my favorite. It was a joy working with him – a joy. They gave me carte blanche to ad lib, whatever I thought was good for the scene and I used it. I used it with Henry most of all because we had a natural facility with each other by ad libbing entire scenes. We would say “how long do you need it?” and that would be it. We’d start in English and end in Spanish.
GS: A lot of fans have said that Victoria was such a role model to them – she was so strong, but still so feminine. In the late sixties there weren’t women role models on TV. How much of Victoria was Linda Cristal?
LC: One hundred per cent. Absolutely, that’s the way I am.
When you grow up alone and you educate yourself – I used to take classes in the night – and I used to work on the weekends, in singing groups with Mark Slade – every weekend we were singing somewhere in one state or another.
I planned my life the way I wanted it to end. Everything happened the way I planned it. I have to say there wasn’t one battle I didn’t win.
GS: Your male cast members have mentioned more than once how much they admired you for having to wear such hot costumes on location in Old Tucson.
LC: This again goes back to the root – my willpower has always been beyond what you can conceive. It goes beyond everybody else that I know. Everybody tells me – my best friend says “I don’t envy you your beauty, your money, your position. What I do envy is your willpower.” So it was hot. But you don’t fight it. You never fight the enemy. You befriend him. You keep him close to you. It was all willpower. So I took the heat as an acceptance as what life is about.
And of course we used bags of ice on the neck when we weren’t in front of the camera and behind the knee. I never fainted. Everyone that came to see the location fainted. There were two ambulances going back and forth to the hospital with the ones who fainted. But I never did because I don’t fight…I don’t fight it. I give in on the surface and only fight it inside me. I accept it. Don’t fight it. Don’t fight the enemy – its trouble.
GS: Even that blue velvet dress with the jacket that Victoria wore? Didn’t you just want to kill them for bringing you these heavy clothes to wear?
LC: No, no, I didn’t entertain any ideas against them. If it was good and it fits right – the rest didn’t matter. But when I took my clothes off at the end of the day they were soaked like you wouldn’t believe. But instead of resenting it I thought “good, I’m losing weight.”
GS: But you were already so thin.
LC: But with the kind of food they fed you at the studio – you have to try to lose weight so you don’t gain it.
GS: I’ve been told that you are even more beautiful now than you were then.
LC: I never understood what it was to be beautiful. By age five people would stop and – I say this without false modesty – but the truth is my mother was stopped all the time just to tell her how beautiful the child was. Since then I heard it all my life. So how do I know I have it if I hear it all the time? I didn’t know it, no, I didn’t. And then as I got older – the fact is, because of genes or something, I never look my age. Never, not even today. My doctors are flabbergasted. It is nothing I do, it’s just the genes.
You know what you have when you have it. Do you think a rich woman knows that knows money is money? No, she doesn’t know. Only if you were to become homeless you would understand about money. You cannot see what is too close to you . I never understood the words “you are beautiful”. I didn’t know what it meant. I couldn’t savor it. It sounded like Chinese to me. It didn’t elate me. It’s a very strange thing. Now, today, when I see these beautiful women on television, the models and other beautiful women, I understand beauty. But not because I don’t like the way I look – I like it. It’s just that their youth puts a slant on their beauty that I didn’t conceive before. It puts it together. Makes it real.
GS: The guys have all said they used to play poker when they weren’t filming.
LC: (laughing) Yes, they did.
GS: What did you do to pass the time on the set?
LC: Go to bed very early, memorize – its hard to memorize in a foreign language – and try to sleep early so I would look fresh in the morning. The thing about that was always “she’s such a trooper.”
GS: Did you enjoy your time making High Chaparral?
LC: Unfortunately, again, it was too close to me. First of all, I wasn’t supposed to do that show. It was Joan Caulfield who had the part. And then when I got it…That’s the way I always got things. Even if someone else had them, if I approached it I would get it. So, I don’t know…when United Artists went to look for a star for Comanche to star with Dana Andrews, and she had to speak English – and I didn’t, not a word – I got the part anyway.
I never lost any battles in my life. It was just my conviction, I guess. Before I opened my mouth they thought I was the right person for the part. When they said “but do you speak English?” I said “don’t worry, I speak Italian, French, Spanish – I will learn English in no time” – they believed me.
I can’t think of anytime in my life when I lost anything. I hope it doesn’t sound unromantic. In looking back it’s like I’m talking about someone else. Nothing is that important. In fact, when I got awards I said “how nice” but I never got the impact of what the award was saying, based on this or that, or recognized as that – I never understood it, until not too long ago. Now, that is a shame. Imagine how wonderful it must be for someone who really has the ability to appreciate winning. Maybe it’s because I have always been alone. So, who are you proud to show it to?
GS: That sounds like a good philosophy.
LC: The only philosophy I came with is, which my father taught me, is never look back. Never look back. And that was very, very helpful. So I never look back – never look at my films. It’s very rare that I do an interview, very rare – I only do it because its you, and yesterday because of David Dortort backing that magazine. I would never – not for 20 years. When you say goodbye to something it has to be a complete goodbye, not a little bit of a goodbye.
GS: What if someone approached you now to do a film?
LC: It would have to be so tempting for me to do it because I feel I stopped at the right time – maybe a little late – but at the right time, anyway. And that was fine, that was fine. I’m satisfied with what I did. It’s not like I think about “Oh, if I could have done…no, no – I did it all. My God , I did it all. My son was asking me the other day “name the country you haven’t been in.” I had to think a while to name a country I haven’t visited. It was hard. What life is about – I’ve done, or I’ve seen, or I’ve experienced. Or I’ve faced and decided that’s not for me. You know?
GS: Do you have any story about High Chaparral you’d like to share?
LC: I am one of those who never says “no.” For instance, when David Dortort said “you know, this character is very often on a horse” and I had never been on a horse – well, I had been, but very little. Not much – walking, maybe. And I had to look comfortable on a horse. And he put us – it was Mark Slade and myself in one of those round corrals. And I said “of course.” You know. And the horse felt hard and it felt like it was going to start bucking. And I said, like I always do, “No, no, no. You go forward. Go forward.
So, he never threw me. In fact, I got so comfortable that I used to run faster than I was supposed to, to sneak in and do my own stunts. And when they caught me everyone was angry with me because they were afraid I was going to hurt myself. But that was my fun. And it was challenging. And I like that.
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February 18th, 2016
High Chaparral Blend
Have you tried Arbuckles’ Coffee, the coffee that won the west?
Arbuckles’ Coffee began in the post Civil War Era of the 19th Century. Two brothers, John and Charles Arbuckle, initiated a new concept in the coffee industry; selling roasted coffee in one pound packages. Until that time, coffee was sold green and had to be roasted in a skillet over a fire or in a wood stove. You can imagine the inconsistency of the coffee. One burned bean ruined the whole batch. The Arbuckle Brothers were able to roast a coffee that was of consistently fine quality and the first to be packaged in one pound bags.
Needless to say, Arbuckles’ Coffee caught on like wild fire. It was soon shipped around the United States and became a favorite in the Old West. In fact, Arbuckles’ became so popular in the Old West that most cowboys didn’t even know that there was any other. Arbuckles’ Coffee was prominent in such infamous cow towns as Dodge City and Tombstone. To many of the older cowboys, Arbuckles’ is still known as the Original Cowboy Coffee.
When you purchase The High Chaparral Blend of Arbuckles’ coffee a portion of every sale goes to help fund all our HC activities. The Arbuckle folks are big supporters of The High Chaparral – Don Collier, HC’s ranch foreman Sam Butler is even the Arbuckle cowboy!
Included in the great western High Chaparral coffee blend is a random picture of the HC cast members from single portraits to group shots; Arbuckles’ has 10 high quality 4×6 inch photos. Be sure to collect them all.
Order at http://www.arbucklecoffee.com/gourmetcoffee-s/1841.htm
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February 18th, 2016
Experience of a Lifetime
By Debora Ann New
The High Chaparral Reunion is rapidly approaching. If you have not made up your mind about attending it still is not too late to go. You will be missing a really great opportunity to meet and interact with the actors who made Westerns one of the most popular genres ever on Television if you do not make those reservations and head for the Reunion.
I know, from personal experience, how truly wonderful several of the actors who will be at the Reunion really are. I made up my mind to go the the first Western Heritage Festival in Boise, Idaho, last year. After making my non-refundable flight reservations, I started having second thoughts: Would there be enough time to meet the actors? Would they just go through the motions of signing autographs? Would I fit in to the group I belong to on Facebook (Robert Fuller Fandom)? Fortunately several of the other Fandom members, especially Dee and Carol, assured me that I would have a great time, would fit into the Fandom group, and that the actors were really easy to approach.
I am so glad that I listened because having the opportunity to meet Don Collier, Robert Fuller, Roberta Shore, and Alex Cord was one of the best experiences of my life! That may sound like an exaggeration, but it is the truth. The most impressive thing about all four of these individuals is how truly kind they are. They appreciate their fans, are really genuinely nice human beings, and they are very interesting individuals.
None of us are getting any younger so take advantage of the opportunity to meet all the wonderful actors who will be at the 2016 High Chaparral Reunion!
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February 18th, 2016
Don Collier, The Long Way ‘Round
Vintage reprint article
The boy who discovers at six or seven, or eight – that the one thing he wants to do in the world is to become an actor bears no resemblance to actor Don Collier, who this season is sole star of “Outlaws,” seen Thursdays at 7:30 ET on NBC-TV. Don was born and grew up in Van Nuys, Calif, within shooting distance of the Hollywood studios, but “Acting?” he says. “Never even thought about it.”
Don, whose name then was Donald H. Mounger, was interested in football and stuff like that; joined the Navy as soon as he picked up his high-school diploma; and in 1946, when he was discharged, headed for Oregon to work on a ranch. That’s how much he thought of the gold in those Hollywood hills.
The ranch bit didn’t work out, and neither did a job in an Oregon sawmill. Late in 1947 he found himself in Seattle, broke and discouraged. In order to eat regularly, as much as anything else, he joined the Merchant Marines as a seaman, but after one trip, to Japan, he was called home by the illness of his only sister. That ended his seagoing.
At the time, his parents were working on the huge San Fernando Valley ranch of actor Francis Lederer, and for the first time it occurred to Don that acting couldn’t be such a bad way of making such a good living. He asked Lederer for help and, after six months’ coaching, the star got him small parts in three movies. Then came a lull when Don was “At liberty,” as being without a job is called in show-business circles.
From where Don sat, it looked as if mining the gold in those Hollywood studios might take too much time and effort. He joined a high-school tam-mate and took up an athletic scholarship at Hardin-Simmons University, in Texas. By the following year – 1950 – he had transferred to Brigham Young University to study geology, working with the college drama group when he wasn’t out looking over the rocks.
This didn’t hold his interest long, either. In 1951 he went back to Southern California; was married; and in the years that followed became the father of three children – Pamela, nine; Diane, eight; and Don, Jr, six.
A man with a wife and family to support can’t pick up and leave whenever the spirit movies hm. For the next five years Don operated a fish and poultry business. That wasn’t very successful and, deciding to give acting another real try, he signed up with a drama coach, working by day as a surveyor while he want to class nights.
In 1959 he joined the Valley Playhouse in Los Angeles; appeared in a production of “The Tender Trap,” where he was seen by an agent, and began to get TV and movie parts. Last year he was tested and turned down for two other series, but as a result of one got the “Outlaws” role.
Some tow and a half years ago, his marriage collapsed and later Don met up with Joanne Gray, a childhood sweetheart who had also gone through an unsuccessful marriage. They tied the knot in January, 1960, and settled down in Van Nuys with a quartet of children – Don’s three and Joanne’s son Dave, who’s the same age as Don, Jr. Steven James made the foursome a quintet on December 10, 1960, and the stork was expected to make another landing early this winter.
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January 15th, 2016
Tim Kelly, Chaparral Scripter
by Katrin Duerlich
I am sure you noticed the names of the High Chaparral authors. Some of them are familiar from other shows. D.C. Fontana wrote for Star Trek, Walter Black for Little house on the prairie, John Black for Charlie’s angels, to name just a few. One day I started to wonder about Tim Kelly. He is the author of such great episode scripts as “Ride the savage land” or “Mi casa, su casa”. At the end of season 1 he became story editor (see table on left). I had noticed that his name kept popping up in episodes dealing with Apache customs and traditions, so I guessed he must have been something of an authority on this matter. And how come he was able to write season 1 (!) scripts for Buck and Mano rather than Blue and Mano as was originally intended? The man intrigued me so much that I read his biography. Through it I found – not just gold, but diamonds! Little gems that show the origins of two High Chaparral episodes. But let me start at the beginning.
Tim Kelly was born in 1931 in Sagus / Mass. as Timothy Joseph Kelley. He started writing at the age of 12, and he never stopped until his dying day in 1998. He published books, wrote for newspapers (Arizona Republic, Arizona Highways, Phoenix Point West), wrote for stage, for radio and also for TV. His works came out under various pseudonyms, but for The High Chaparral (and Westerns in general) he always used “Kelly”.
In 1957 Tim Kelly moved to Arizona and got to know the area through his friend and collaborator Roland Bibolet. In 1964, Tim Kelly published his first Western novel “Ride of Fury”. Out of curiosity, I bought this book, too. When I had finished it, I took a moment to fully appreciate what I had just read.
In 1851 the Miller family (Rawley and Ellie Miller and their children Ann, Jeannie and Lorenzo) sets out to travel to California. However, they take the wrong route. The adults get killed by the Apaches, the Millers’ daughters become slaves, only Lorenzo survives and makes his way back to where they started. Another family takes him in, and a scout known as Doc Lefeur promises to look for the girls.
Nine years later Lefeur sends Lorenzo a locket which belonged to Ann. Unable to find Lefeur, Lorenzo asks Cos Fury to look for his sister (a task the army failed to do twice). Intending to buy the girl, Cos takes gold coins with him. He rides from Yuma to Camp Ajo and on to Fort Gila,
questioning a dying Apache on his way. Since every sign points to Maricopa Wells, Cos expects to find Ann there. But the Maricopa Indians tell him nothing, and he leaves empty-handed.
Feeling depressed and running a fever, Cos arrives in Tucson just when a troop of dragoons from Calabasas rides in. The soldiers refer him to a man called Josh who in turn refers him to a miner called Pete Parker. As soon as he is well again, Cos visits Pete at his mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, then decides to track Lefeur down and question the man about the locket. Reasoning that Lefeur might have gone to Magdalena (a charming town in Sonora), Cos rides for the border, bypassing the ruined mission of Tumacacori. However, Cos’s horse shies from a rattle snake and gets hurt on its flight. The injury draws a wolf pack. Cos valiantly defends his horse, but the injuries are too severe, and he is forced to shoot the animal.
Continuing on foot, Cos Fury meets the gun-runner Tomas from whom he buys a new horse. Tomas agrees to take Cos to Mangas Coloradas in the Dragoon Mountains when he makes the next delivery. His helper is a mute half-breed.
“Don’t he have a name?” asked Fury.
“Sure. Everybody’s got a name.” Tomas laughed. “They call him Johnny-No-Name.”
Promising him safe passage, Mangas Coloradas tells Cos to visit a Mohave band. The Indians are camped out where Fort Lester once stood. Living with these people is the Maricopa Indian Lame Deer who currently owns Ann. There, Cos Fury finally finds the girl. But before he can buy her, Tomas and Johnny-No-Name ambush him at night and rob him. They drop one gold coin in their haste to get away. And this coin enables Cos to buy Ann after all the next morning. But the girl won’t speak. Cos rides with her to the Tumacacori Mission where they bath in a nearby pond. Ann starts to cry and finally begins to talk. Then the Apache warriors come to them with the dead body of Tomas and a warning: the Apaches go to war. The white women will be taken as slaves like Ann, the soldiers will die like the troop from Calabasas, and every other white eye in their territory will also die, like Pete the miner.
Cos takes Ann to Yuma where Lorenzo is waiting, then rides on to the Gulf of Baja California to see the ocean.
Of course you recognized the episodes, didn’t you? Yes. “Ride the savage land” and “Bad day for a thirst”. For the episode scripts Tim Kelly changed the plots considerably, e.g. incorporating the second rescuer into episode 22. But the basics are all there. Critics used to praise Kelly for his ability to construct and develop drama and for his attention to detail. As was the case with Apache customs and traditions, he always did extensive research and took great care to get the details right – for the episodes he wrote himself as well as when he was story editor. And the variety of topics he addressed is simply amazing. While I do not like every single one of the High Chaparral episodes, I have come to appreciate almost all of them, especially those of season 1 and 2. They help to flesh out the characters, e.g. giving us some background on Vaquero in episode 34, on Sam and Joe (ep. 31), on Victoria (ep. 36 and 43) and of course on Buck and Mano. According to his biography, Tim Kelly knew the cast of the High Chaparral. Seeing the actors at work, he must have realized that pairing Mano with Blue would be no good. It is too obvious that the actors who play Mano and Buck have become best friends.
But many “Tim Kelly episodes” also flesh out the show itself. They tell us about the Buffalo soldiers, how hard life could be in a remote area for a child (remember Tina in ep. 37 or the Apache children in ep. 30), the role of the church (ep. 27), the duties of a patrón (ep. 34), what Thanksgiving is all about (ep. 39), how you tame a horse (ep. 29), life on a reservation (ep. 50) or how a madman acts (ep. 42). I wish Tim Kelly had stayed on as story editor. Who knows what else he would have come up with?
Ride the Savage Land / written by Tim Kelly
Bad Day for a Thirst / written by Tim Kelly. Story editor: Tim Kelly
A Joyful Noise / story editor: Tim Kelly
Threshold of Courage / story editor: Tim Kelly
The Promised Land / story editor: Tim Kelly
For What We Are About to Receive / story editor: Tim Kelly
The Deceivers / story editor: Tim Kelly
Sea of Enemies / story editor: Tim Kelly
The Stallion / story editor: Tim Kelly
The Covey / story editor: Tim Kelly
Ten Little Indians / story editor: Tim Kelly
The Buffalo Soldiers / story editor: Tim Kelly
Ebenezer / story editor: Tim Kelly
Tornado Frances / story editor: Tim Kelly
Follow Your Heart / story editor: Tim Kelly
Shadow of the Wind / story consultants: Walter Black, Tim Kelly
North to Tucson / story consultants: Walter Black, Tim Kelly
Surtee / story by Tim Kelly and Walter Black (original title: The kill agent)
The Lion Sleeps / written by Tim Kelly
Mi Casa, Su Casa / written by Tim Kelly
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January 15th, 2016
From an interview on deadline.com, Quentin Tarantino continues to talk about his Western inspiration“It’s less inspired by one Western movie than by Bonanza, The Virginian, High Chaparral,” Tarantino said. “Twice per season, those shows would have an episode where a bunch of outlaws would take the lead characters hostage. They would come to the Ponderosa and hold everybody hostage, or to go Judge Garth’s place — Lee J. Cobb played him — in The Virginian and take hostages. There would be a guest star like David Carradine, Darren McGavin, Claude Akins, Robert Culp, Charles Bronson or James Coburn. I don’t like that storyline in a modern context, but I love it in a Western, where you would pass halfway through the show to find out if they were good or bad guys, and they all had a past that was revealed. “I thought, ‘What if I did a movie starring nothing but those characters? No heroes, no Michael Landons. Just a bunch of nefarious guys in a room, all telling backstories that may or may not be true. Trap those guys together in a room with a blizzard outside, give them guns, and see what happens.’ ”
Writer Mike Flemming, Jr. commented, “I moderated the talk with Tarantino right after he’d finalized a cast that includes Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Demian Bichir and Channing Tatum. Goggins, Jackson, Russell and Leigh were aglow from a table read days before in which bounty hunters, confederate generals, lawmen and a lady outlaw trade salty banter that seems headed for the trademark Tarantino violent climax (nobody was shown the film’s last chapter). The big surprise to me was that the inspiration for Tarantino’s first real Western wasn’t some John Wayne, Peckinpah or Clint Eastwood screen classic, but rather the TV series that dominated the 1960s primetime network landscape and provided early jobs for actors that included Russell and Dern.”
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January 15th, 2016
Cameron Mitchell, Actor-Ballplayer
Vintage article, Jan 20, 1973
All of us have our Walter Mitty dreams, and for actor Cameron Mitchell the unfulfilled ambition is to make an unassisted triple play.
In fact, while Mitchell is a dedicated and successful actor, athletics is his abiding passion. He’s a frustrated baseball player – “To this day, I’m sorry I didn’t go professional. “ – and at the drop of a resin bag he’ll talk about baseball.
We chatted the other day at the NBC-TV studios in Burbank and at times I thought I had switched jobs with Blade sports writer Tom Loomis. Mitchell talked about baseball and athletics most of the time during an interview which ran nearly an hour.
Oh, he did manage to bring up his new series, “Escape,” which will have its premiere Feb. 11 on NBC, probably because there was a press agent hovering in the background. But Mitchell kept turning the conversation back to sports.
Mitchell has some impressive credentials as an actor, such as playing in the original roadway production of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” in a high-powered cast which included Lee J. Cobb and Arthur Kennedy.
But he’d rather be remembered as the pitcher for the Hollywood Stars, made up of a group of actors, who beat the Los Angeles Angels, 4-3, back in 1948.
“And, mind you, the home-plate umpire wouldn’t give me anything – he hated actors,” Mitchell said, grinning.
“Yeah, and I remember I once batted against Satchel Paige – perhaps the greatest pitcher who ever lived – when I was 17. I got a single. Then old Satch picked me off base. That man had the fastest ball I’ve ever seen. He’d wind up, lazy like, and that ball just smoked toward the pate – or to first base.”
Mitchell, a six-footer who doesn’t look that tall because of his athletic build, has a face that reflects his part-Indian ancestry. His black hair is now slightly flecked with gray, but his virile good looks continue to draw appreciative glances from the feminine division.
The actor comes from a strict Scottish-German family in Dallastown, PA, and his father was a minister who wasn’t enthusiastic about Cameron becoming an actor. At about this point in the interview, while discussion religion, Mitchell pulled up his turtleneck sweater, displaying three religious medals denoting the major Western faiths, and pronounced:
“I play it safe.”
Reminiscing further about his early years and the start of his acting career, he recalled that a teacher in Dallastown gave him is first big break, when she lent him money to go to New York to study acting. She was, he recalled, “a homely woman with a beautiful heart.” He wasn’t an overnight success in New York, working as a dishwasher and an usher before breaking into show business.
His first Broadway role was in the 1939 production of “Taming of the Shrew,” with Alfred Lunt and Lyn Fontanne. After serving as an airman in World War II, he came to Hollywood and appeared in dozens of movies, including such hits as Cass Timberlane,” “Command Decision, “Some Like it Hot,” and “No Down Payment.”
The highlight of his television career was a starting role in “High Chaparral,” the western series which was quite successful and rather mysteriously cancelled (“We were very disappointed at that cancellation”).
“Escape,” his new TV venture, is another of NBC’s mini-series, consisting of four half-hour action-adventure dramas depicting people coping with life-or-death situations. In his segment, “Lost,” due to be broadcast in mid or late February, he plays a sergeant in charge of a Los Angeles County emergency service team trying to find a brother and sister lost in a mountainous area. The show also stars Glenn Corbett and Marion Ross.
Stars in other segments of the series are John Ericson and Ed Nelson. The series is a Jack Webb enterprise, and Webb is the off-camera narrator in all four episodes, giving the shows a semi-documentary flavor.
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January 15th, 2016
Vintage Article, January 1970
Linda Cristal is a paradox, a complex of extremes
She loves being a woman, and devotedly labors at retaining her femininity.
She also loves putting on dungarees, hopping on a horse and heading into the Arizona plains where she hunts quail, and can hit a small bottle of beer from 100 feet with a .22 rifle.
She gave up her acting career when she married businessman Yale Wexler, whose brother Haskell directed “Medium Cool” and became a wife and mother. Her two sons are now 6 and 8 years old But when the marriage ended, she returned, landed the role on “High Chaparral” as Leif Erickson’s young wife.
However, when she remarries some day – and Linda insists she will, “When the right man comes along” – she insist she will give up her career again.
Until that longed-for day arrives, Linda Cristal will concentrate on the other careers, being an actress, a mother and a woman.
The Career is flying high, from mistress of High Chaparral to personal appearances. It will reach a new high next month when she travels to Germany to receive the Bambi Award there as Best Actress in a series on German television. High Chaparral is one of the highest rated shows in Germany, and 67 other countries around the world where it also is seen weekly.
Recently, Linda opened a new facet of her career, singing. She began taking lessons, as a matter of fact, so she could take advantage of offers to make personal appearances at rodeos and fairs.
She has been accepting these highly lucrative engagements with Mark Slade, who plays Blue on High Chaparral, and four background musicians.
“I love to sing country-Western,” explained Linda. She also emphasized that her personal appearances would be restricted to rodeos and fairs. “I don’t want to do nightclubs. That would take up too much time. But I will continue to do the rodeos. The people on “Bonanza” used to make many rodeos during the year, but they got rich and lazy. Only Michael Landon still goes out, I understand.”
One of the fringe benefits of being in the series, Linda ecstatically says, it the fact that when they are on location – which is roughly half o the shooting schedule – everyone lives in Tucson, Ariz.
“I adore it there,” Linda exclaimed. “It is so peaceful, I can count the stars at night. Living in Tucson is going from one extreme to the other, from the solitude to the tumult of Hollywood. My boys stay with me whenever they are not in school, and we have ponies there for all of us.”
Linda keeps a year-around apartment in Tucson, and has a home in Beverly Hills. “I don’t like to carry much luggage when I travel. We are the only television series with our own jet, exclusively available to us, and we fly back and forth so quickly.”
At the moment, High Chaparral shooting is between seasons. They have done 80 shows in three years and, if picked up again – as is likely – will resume for next season in April.
Linda plans to spend much of her time off on a shopping spree. “I’m devoted to shopping, especially for antiques,” she declared.
Although born in Agentina, Linda grew up in Europe. Her father, a magazine publisher, fled Argentina to escape political persecution when Linda was only six, and took his family to Europe. When she was in her teens, the beautiful young girl began a movie career and, by the time she was married, she had appeared in more than 30 films. She has lived in the United States since 1958, and is a naturalized citizen.
I recall in Argentina that another little girl who looked very much like me was kidnapped and killed and my father said that the kidnappers actually wanted to take me,” Linda revealed. “so he packed up what he could and we very quickly left the country.”
Despite her many movies, Linda never felt satisfied with her acting So, when her marriage broke up, she decided to study acting.
When her agent called to tell her about the series, and the part, she showed up for an audition fully prepared. She did 12 ideas of improvisational acting in an hour and 15 minutes, including: love, hate, passion, frustration, regret and pain. She had no sooner finished the last one when producer David Dortort told her she was hired. Her only previous television experience had been a single guest shot on “Rawhide.”
The popularity of the show, Linda feels is that it is strong drama, rather than simply a Western drama. Also, it is doing exceptionally well in Latin America because of the treatment of Mexican relationships. “I think we have helped Latin American relationships by elevating the Mexicans,” Linda declared.
“It is funny. We had a feeling of success for the show right from the start. It is tedious work – up at 5a.m. and we work sometimes until midnight, when we are on location – six days a week. At the studio, we only work five days, but the hours are long, too. We don’t mind because we have wonderful spirit. We are still ambitious. “
“I would like to have time to find the right man,” she said somewhat ruefully. “As far as career is concerned, my ambition is strange. More than a career, I seek quality of work.”
“Career? First being a woman. It takes time just being a woman, like reading material for the mind, and body exercises, and keeping the nails clean. I have two boys, and I want to be an imaginable woman in the house. I still think the woman should look up to the man. I like to have the chair pulled out for me when I rise or sit down. Femininity is the salvation of marriage. Unless the woman becomes feminine again, marriage is on the way out.”
“Marriage can be stubborn. It’s like pushing a mule.”
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January 15th, 2016
Grizzly Adams Star
Dan Haggerty Dies
Dan Haggerty, known worldwide as Grizzly Adams, passed away early today, January 15, 2016, after a battle with cancer.
Dan was best known for playing Grizzly Adams on his hit 1977 TV show, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adam. . His iconic portrayal earned him a star on the Hollywood walk and life-long fans wherever he appeared.
During his last months Dan asked to be kept on the schedule for The High Chaparral Reunion and insisted he would attend. His devotion to fans and strong spirit made him determined to make this one last appearance, even when it was clear his body couldn’t last.
Dan left a lasting impact in the world of television and with all who knew him. He will be deeply missed and never forgotten.
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January 15th, 2016
Joni Chandler, activites director at Desert Springs Retirement center in Oro Valley/Tucson contacted me recently with a High Chaparral story. The corporation that owns Desert Springs holds an annual Gingerbread House contest for all properties. The folks at Desert Springs wanted their submission to have an Arizona theme – what could be better than a High Chaparral gingerbread house?
Joni sent details along with photos and a late ‘Merry Christmas’ to all.
The walls and roof are made of gingerbread made fresh from our Sous Chef Martin. The roof was covered with chocolate frosting with a layer of stick pretzels giving it that old western rustic look. Large pretzel rods were cut and placed around the top exterior walls giving a beam effect. Small skittles were placed around the top exterior walls for Christmas lights. For the background of the mountains we use cornflakes. Frosting and fondant made the sky and clouds. The windows and doors were painted with food coloring and the doors accented with pretzels. We used pretzel rods for the porch beams. The cactus was made with fondant and food coloring. We used graham crackers for the broken wagon and vanilla wafers for the wheels with food coloring to accent. The snow covered ground was fondant and frosting with a fence made with pretzel sticks. Powdered sugar was sprinkled to give the effect of snow. Lastly The High Chaparral sign was made with fondant and food coloring for the lettering.
Up to eight residents participated throughout the three week process.
The High Chaparral gingerbread house is displayed upstairs next to one of our Christmas trees. Visitors and residents admired the creativeness along with remembering the Sunday night western show. Most people living in Tucson have been to Old Tucson and said we did a wonderful job at recreating The High Chaparral.
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