post Shared Photos

October 26th, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:33 pm

Shared Photos

Dwayne Sharp contacted us to generously share some of his family photos collected from his grandfather, Bob Sharp. Bob worked on the Tucson set.

High Chaparral was the last show he worked on before passing away with cancer, and Dwayne shared a family story. “Grandpa Sharp was always about work, and all the sets he worked on. On a shoot on High Chaparral, the Boom Truck, or some type of Rig, lost its brakes, and my Grandfather, Bob Sharp was at the wheel, and drove it down a hill, backwards, with out BRAKES to safety. I hope this helps out on who my Grandpa was on the HC. set. We, the Sharp family are very happy to remember HC , the actors, and the crew will remember my grandpa.”

Look closely at the signed photo by Mark Slade, and you’ll see a reference to this story about driving a truck backwards, down a hill with no brakes.

Thank you to the Sharp family for generously sharing their grandfather’s photos.

Cm Mitchell

Leif Erickson

Linda Cristal

Mark Slade

Bob Hoy

Bob Sharp

Devoted HC fan Woody Irvine writes:

Don sebastian and victoria“I hope you are well and that everything is going good for you. Thank you for the recent HC newsletter. I always look forward to receiving it!!!!!

I just wanted to send you a vintage photo that I have in my TV western album from famous TV westerns. What is so special about this photo is that it is the one that local TV stations across the country received for their advertising of their respective affiliate stations (ABC, NBC, and CBS.) Wow, this is way before ALL the TV stations and channels we have today!!! I believe that it could have been used in TV Guide also, as well as the other local TV magazines that were produced all across the country.

One of my favorite happens to be from “The High Chaparral!” It is of both Frank Silvera and Linda Cristal as their respective characters, Don Sebastian and Victoria.

I love this photo and it is my favorite of Frank and Linda. There is so much affection between them and it makes me miss Mr. Silvera even more to this day! ”

Thank you Woody, for generoulsy sharing from your private collection with everyone!

post In Memory of

August 30th, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:10 pm

High Chaparral stuntman Walt LaRue passed away on June 12th at the incredible age of 91. Walt was a very good friend of Bob Hoy’s. A lifetime member of the Stuntmen’s Association, Walt did stunts in classic Westerns like El Dorado, Fort Apache, Paint Your Wagon, The Cowboys, Blazing Saddles, Pale Rider and Young Guns just to name a few.  He gets credit for an acting part in the HC episode “Assassins” as a bandit. Walt was also an accomplished artist. Do a google search on him and check out his outstanding paintings of cowboys and the West.

Jerry Wills

High Chaparral Stuntman Jerry Wills

High Chaparral stuntman Jerry Wills, son of legendary stuntman, actor and HC stunt coordinator Henry Wills, has passed July 12. Jerry followed his father into the business at a young age; according to Don Collier he first worked with Jerry when he was only 12.

Jerry doubled Mark Slade and Rudy Ramos, and appeared with thebunkhouse boys or in small parts (watch for him in Too Late the Epitaph or Sangre). His resume included Little House on the Prairie, Father Murphy, Highway to Heaven, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Blazing Saddles, Wild Wild West, and many others.

He worked with Bob Hoy in the Little House episode No Beast so Fierce, and worked amemorable fight sequence in the first episode of Highway to Heaven.

post Victoria: Linda Cristal – The Lady Loves to Sing

August 30th, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:07 pm

by Tina Sweet

Linda Cristal CDLinda Cristal is a lady of many talents including a lovely singing voice. I caught up with Linda to chat about her CD and her love for music.

Linda keeps her musical talent all in the family. Her father, she says, could have been a concert pianist. Her mother had an absolutely beautiful singing voice. Linda sings and plays the piano. Both her sons also play the piano. When asked if she played other instruments she replied, “Oh no no, only my IPod. But I love listening to music!”

I knew from previous conversations with Linda that she had her own band for years singing on the weekends even when she was due on the set of the High Chaparral on Monday morning. When asked how she started her band, she replied, “I always loved singing, just loved it!” She would sing at gatherings, parties, etc. People kept telling her how great she could sing and eventually she got the group together and they performed all over the country. They did both western and Spanish numbers. She and Mark Slade also performed together in many areas. Unfortunately, they never recorded any of their concerts or rehearsals.

Linda Cristal

Linda Cristal photo provided courtesy of Ginny Shook of Out West Entertainment

I asked her how she kept up the pace – singing on the weekend, traveling, and then reporting early on the set at High Chaparral on Monday. She had to get up at 4:00 a.m. to be on the set. Her answer didn’t surprise me at all. She said, “I am the ‘Bionic Woman,’ I love to stay busy!”

After singing with her group for a while the idea of the CD came up, and she went into the recording studio. She said the odd thing was that the guy who made the arrangements for the songs was tone deaf. Linda chose all ten selections, all romantic songs, because as she says, “I am a romantic.” Her favorite selections are Me Muero (my favorite) and Lalo. A clip from Te Dije Adios is included at Out West Entertanment to give you a small sampling of Linda’s lovely voice. A mixture of both soothing romantic selections as well as a few lively numbers, Linda puts her heart and soul into every song – her love for music clearly demonstrated in each selection.

High Chaparral CDs, Personalized Autographed Photos Available

Did you know that several of the High Chaparral cast members have CDs available? Check out information on each of them in this and future newsletters.

You can get your own personal Linda Cristal photo, signed by Linda with a note to you! CDs and photos can be ordered from

CDs and photos from your favorite Chaparral stars – Linda Cristal, Henry Darrow, Don Collier, Rudy Ramos and Ted Markland, are available at Out West Entertainment.

post Clothes Make the Man

February 3rd, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:49 pm

Vintage article from May 11, 1969

HOLLYWOOD – – Mark Slade got carried away with the title of his record album, “Mark Slade’s New Hat,” and decided to use the hat in “The High Chaparral” next season. Then he designed a new wardrobe and took the sketches to producer David Dortort who liked them enough to agree they helped establish the new adult character Mark, as Billy Blue, will have next season.

post ‘Chaparral’ Is Here To Stay, Dortort Assures Old Pueblo

August 25th, 2009

Filed under: Vintage Reprint Articles — admin @ 4:21 pm

David DortortVintage Reprint from Wednesday, June 10, 1970, Tucson Daily Citizen

“The High Chaparral,” NBC’s dramatic western adventure series which makes its location home at Old Tucson, is staying in Arizona, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

That is the word from the shows’s executive producer and originator, David Dortort, who scouted locations yesterday and addressed a noon meeting of Rotary International at the Pioneer International Hotel today.

“We have gone to considerable trouble and expense to move the interior sets for the show to Old Tucson,” Dortort said in an interview. “They are being used now and will be used more and more in the future.”

Excutive Producer David Dortort, left, and Producer Kent McCray, right, on location at The High Chaparral set in Tucson

Dortort estimates that 65 percent of the series will be shot at Old Tucson and at other southern Arizona sites. The setting up of the interiors on Old Tucson’s sound stage makes “cover” shots possible there, whereas in the past the cast and crew has had to shoot interiors only in Hollywood. (The remaining 35 per cent of the show will be filmed in California).

Seeking to lay to rest once and for all the rumor that the show, which pumps an estimated $2 million a year directly into the local economy and has been credited by Chamber of Commerce officials with attracting five million tourist dollars annually, might move to New Mexico, Dortort said, “Some people in the industry thought I was crazy a few years ago when I predicted that Arizona would be the new Hollywood. Now more and more people are realizing this is coming true. I’m going to push with all my strength to make Arizona the new Hollywood.”

Mark Slade

According to David Dortort, Mark Slade was a good actor, but at 30 years old it was, “difficult to write convincing scripts that had him playing a teenager.” Dortort planned to keep the character alive because of the affection they had for Mark.

To support his argument, Dortort ticked off the names of five major film productions that have done location shooting in and around Tucson in recent months and pointed out that the old Hollywood has been sold off in huge chunks and does not really exist anymore.

It was Dortort’s assurance to Old Tucson’s management that “The High Chaparral” could give a sound stage enough business that prompted construction of the present facility. Although not a stockholder in Old Tucson Development Co., Dortort serves as a consultant on its advisory board, which is made up of celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and John Wayne.

Big news about the series, which finished its third season in the top 20 Nielsen-rated television shows nationally, is that Mark Slade, in the character of Blue Cannon, “simply grew out of the part” and will no longer appear regularly in the series after the last show of the reruns in early September, Dortort said.

“Mark Slade is a fine young man, a good actor, cooperative and hard working,” Dortort said. “But he’s 30 and it was getting increasingly difficult to write convincing scripts that had him playing a teenager.” Dortort said.

Dortort said Slade’s character, Blue, would be kept alive “because of the affection we have for Mark”, and that he may return to the series at a later date as a mature character. The script has Blue leaving the Cannon ranch to pursue art studies in the East.

A new character, Wind played by newcomer Rudy Ramos, 19, is being added to the series, and Dortort cautiously described his introduction.

“We’re going to try something novel: instead of the artificial stock characters on television, perhaps including some on our own show, we want to go back to the facts of history.

Rudy Ramos as Wind

Rudy Ramos as Wind was added to The High Chaparral cast to appeal to the teenage audience.

“After the Civil War, veterans of both sides of the conflict – men with their homes burned, their pasts destroyed – made their way west to the open land. They encountered Indian tribes where it was often a sign of hospitality to offer visitors a squaw.

“This shocked many of the men from the Eastern seaboard still locked in the Puritan ethic, which was no place as rigid as in its relationship between men and women. Half breeds were often the result of these casual relationships. “These children,” Dortort continued, “were brought up by the tribes as Indians, trained to hunt, fight, ride, be self-sufficient. Wind is one of these. He is obsessed with one terrible question: Who is his father?”

In the first show of the series fourth season, Wind finds out – it’s Buck Cannon, played by Cameron Mitchell. (This story is Mitchell’s first notice of his television fatherhood, Dortort said). Ramos, whose father is a Mexican and mother a Cherokee Indian from Oklahoma, will thrash through his character’s anguish of hatred for his father for having left his mother, his need for paternal love, and other generation gap problems. Dortort thinks today’s youth will identify with the character’s problems, “hang ups that have lasted long enough.”

The only other major shift in the story line will be a more important role for Don Collier, who plays Sam, the ranch foreman.

Dortort, whose “Bonanza” finished No. 1 among television shows in its 11th year, said “Violence has been exaggerated out of all proportions” and has scuttled many good scripts – and a major new series, “Chinook,” about American Indians, that he has had to abandon.

post What happened to Blue?

August 25th, 2009

Filed under: Interviews & Articles,Question & Answer — admin @ 4:20 pm

From the Editor:

Nothing about High Chaparral creates more controversy than the unexpected absence of Blue Cannon in the 4th season. For whatever reason the writers and creative directors chose not to deal with The Case of the Missing Blue.

I’m in a unique position to comment on this, as I have what is likely to be the most extensive set of ephemera about High Chaparral in existence today. I also know quite a number of the cast and crew. After studying all of that, talking with many, many cast and crew members, the best I can say is – there is at this time no definitive answer, only a great number of rumors. Tabloid/newspaper articles of the time conflict wildly – “Mark asked for time off to complete a movie he was working on. Mark was fired, Mark wasn’t fired. David Dortort (creator of HC) says he felt Mark grew a bit old and needs to move on. Mark didn’t move on. Mark wanted more money. Mark didn’t want more money.’

Kent McCray (producer) and Rudy Ramos (Wind) both told me there were scripts with both Wind and Blue, and that David Dortort planned to bring Mark/Blue back for the 5th season. The McCrays insist Mark was not ‘off the show’.

I think you can’t believe all the newspaper/tabloid reports. Actually I KNOW you can’t believe what you read as practically everything I have in printed form conflicts in some way.  This includes published books. The true answer is probably lost in time. I also think if someone tells you they know ‘what really happened’ you should back away sloooowly and keep your hand on your wallet, they probably have a lovely bridge in Brooklyn they’ll sell you cheap.


What happened to Blue in the 4th season? I’ve heard if there had been a 5th season they were bringing him back – is that true?


Mark SladeBecause the character of Blue disappeared in the 4th season with no real explanation, fans continue to speculate on his fate. The June 10, 1970 edition of the Tucson Daily Citizen published an interview with David Dortort. In it, Dortort is quoted explaining why Blue was no longer regularly featured and indicating he would return.

Big news about the series, which finished its third season in the top 20 Nielsen-rated television shows nationally, is that Mark Slade, in the character of Blue Cannon, “simply grew out of the part” and will no longer appear regularly in the series after the last show of the reruns in early September, Dortort said.

“Mark Slade is a fine young man, a good actor, cooperative and hard working,” Dortort said. “But he’s 30 and it was getting increasingly difficult to write convincing scripts that had him playing a teenager.” Dortort said Slade’s character, Blue, would be kept alive “because of the affection we have for Mark”, and that he may return to the series at a later date as a mature character. The script has Blue leaving the Cannon ranch to pursue art studies in the East.

Read the entire Tucson Daily Citizen article contained in this edition of the newsletter.

High Chaparral wasn’t the only Dortort show changing in 1970, and Dortort was quoted again in the Arizona Sun on July 24 in an article titled ‘New TV Faces Start To Appear’ – David Canary departs the cast of “Bonanza” and will be replaced by 15-year-old Mitch Vogel, who was in “The Reivers.” On “High Chaparral,” Mark Slade leaves the nest and the new young male interest is Rudy Ramos. Both were victims of “aging.”

“There were so many stories we couldn’t tell because we didn’t have young people,” said David Dortort, who is executive producer for both shows.

post Memories of Cameron Mitchell

August 25th, 2009

Filed under: Interviews & Articles — admin @ 4:16 pm
By Debbie Carlson

Cameron Mitchell as Buck CannonEditor’s Note: Fan Debbie Carlson knew the Cameron Mitchell family during The High Chaparral years, and graciously shared her memories with us in an article in the January 2009 Newsletter. In this follow-up, Debbie shares further memories of Mr. Mitchell and The High Chaparral.

I am so glad people are enjoying the article in your newsletter.  It was good to read that his line continues with the birth of the new baby.  I forwarded the newsletter to my sisters and best friend who all met Mr. Mitchell and knew how important he was in my life.  My sisters were older and into their own lives at that time so they didn’t really get the opportunity to know him but I know they will enjoy reading it.   Ironically my best friend was the babysitter for the Mark Leonard children.  He played Sarek, the father of Spock in Star Trek

Speaking of Star Trek, if only I knew then that it would be such a phenomenon, maybe we would have tried to get on the set!  One of the times I was on the High Chaparral set, Mr. Mitchell’s son Jake (Buck) and I were nosing around in the back of the studio, walking through an area where big tall boards were stored.  It was rather remote, dark and empty…we thought.  All of a sudden, we came around a corner and ran across a reptilian creature which scared the heck out of us.  It turned out this person was in costume and working on Star Trek.  He must have known Mark Slade because they were talking.  We didn’t go back into that area again!

Mr. Mitchell was shooting a scene on the interior High Chaparral set at Paramount.  I remember another actor who was portraying an indian being tied to a chair.  I was watching the scene when I found myself in Mr. Mitchell’s line of sight.  It was a very serious scene.  I then realized that he was staring straight at me.  I was riveted to the spot, unable to  move or even look away.  I remember thinking that I should move because I probably was in his way but I couldn’t budge.  There was a very long close to the scene, I’m guessing maybe they were moving in on his face for a close up although I don’t remember the camera moving.  He was perfectly still with the same facial expression for what seemed like an eternity.  Never in my life before or since have I been fixed to a spot like that by anyone, not able to move or even turn my eyes away.  I mention that experience because to me it’s a perfect example of what a powerful actor he was.

I haven’t seen any of the High Chaparral episodes in many years but my sister bought a complete set for me for Christmas, although I gather they’re from China or somewhere and not the best quality.  I remember that episode and it was a really good one.  One of these days I need to figure out which one it was and watch it again. (Ed. note: the episode was most likely The Assassins)

I think you were right about The Andersonville Trial.  Boy, I didn’t realize there were so many big names in that show but I do remember how anxious (in a good way) he was about working with George C. Scott, which I found odd considering his stature and all the big names he worked with over the years.  Maybe it was because of the Patton movie and what an incredible presence Mr. Scott was in that role.

Thanks again for sharing the newsletter with me.  It was a lot of fun to read.  I loved all of it.

post Hey HCers!

June 29th, 2009

Filed under: High Chaparral Reunion 2009 — admin @ 7:01 pm

By Rusty LaGrange

Mark Slade, Cameron Mitchell, Henry Darrow in The High ChaparralHey there HCers,
I’ve been a bit quiet lately but I just had to remind you all ONE MORE TIME, that now is the time to quit straddling the fence. If you plan to see the best of High Chaparral, see the stars that make us melt, watch the high quality DVD episodes without commercial interruption, and be at the original sites of filming locations of the best TV Western, then now is the time to get your registrations in for the utmost Tucson-live event ever. Time’s a-wasting.

Three days..THREE DAYS!!! of terrific fans, fun, food, photos, fantastic landscape, shopping (if you can make the time, that is) and the most memories that you can stuff in a camera!!

I can’t emphasize how cool this event is. Okay, so, I’m on the Posse to help organize your transportation on busses to the events, and I’m working hard on your name tags. That’s a whole other thing. I could tell you what they look like but why spoil the surprise…

You just have to show up to see them <grin>

So we gave you a glimpse of the auction items, and you can download photos of La Posada and look around Tucson and all that right on your computer. What you are really gonna miss is the pure enchantment of being able to talk with, dine with, pal around with and stand goofy-footed and all smiley at your Western heroes.

I’ve been on the HCDG (ed. note: High Chaparral Discussion Group) list for 10 years and I even get all blushy and gushy for celebs I haven’t met yet. But, hey, we all get that way. That’s no excuse to be shy and miss the entertainment and graciousness of all the people who helps bring HC to your TV.

And now is the time to get the lowest price before the costs jump.

Do it now. For those of you who made sponsor donations to the event…Thank you very much! Oh, and congratulations to all the fans who have already registered… there’s a lot of good times ahead and overwhelming memories you’ll be taking home and reliving in your heart over and over again. Believe me. I know.

Best to You,


post About Our Authors

June 7th, 2009

Filed under: Interviews & Articles — admin @ 6:07 pm
About Our Writers

Penny McQueen headshotarrow Penny McQueen is the editor, publisher, webmaster and main contributor to The High Chaparral Newsletter and website. She is an experienced Information Technology executive working at a major medical manufacturing firm. With a background in technology, department, vendor and project management, large systems purchases, budgeting, analysis, marketing, and an ability to work across all levels of an organization, her writing includes design and technical documentation as well as executive and client presentations.

Penny is the webmaster for Susan McCray, provides web editing for Don Grady, and is the web designer for Share-A-Vision Productions. She serves as the business and project manager for The High Chaparral Reunion 2009.

When not gathering Chaparral related news or working on the next High Chaparral Reunion, she occasionally writes fiction, scuba dives, travels, and fights off Apache in her back yard.

Jan Pippins, authorarrowIf Jan Pippins didn’t write, she’d have spare time.

If she didn’t have horses, she’d have more money.

In spite of being short on time and horse-poor, she’s a pretty happy person.

Jan is currently working with Henry Darrow on his biography, Lightning in a Bottle.

Rusty LaGrangearrowRusty LaGrange is a freelance writer specializing in concept and sales writing for small businesses.

She’s a member of the R Bar Regulators, an award winning Western reenactment group.  In her character as Rusty Rose of the Rusty Bucket Ranch, new school marm and museum curator, she shoots everything from black powder single shot rifles (just like the one Manolito shot in the first HC episode) to ladies’ derringers, Colt 45s, Marlin rifles, Winchester double actions, shot guns of many calibers, and the fast draw. She’s been known to hit every one of her targets.  She writes western novels as a hobby and is one of the original Yahoo High Chaparral Discussion Group members.

arrowTanja Konstantaki is our Foreign Correspondent – she makes her home in Crete, and is a steadfast fan of Blue Cannon and Mark Slade.  She enjoys the visual arts, playing with photography and computer videos for her friends, and occasionally writing.

arrowWendy St. Germain is an experienced writer and co-author of many titles.  A Science graduate from Sydney’s prestigious Macquarie University, she specializes in Zoology & Genetics with a particular interest in the rehabilitation of large, captive carnivores. She has written nearly three dozen non-fiction books, most of which are science texts, independently or co-authoring with highly respected biochemist, Peter Gribben.

Her works are popular and are gaining an international audience due to her unique ability to explain complicated science topics in ways that are clearly understandable. The relaxed approach she brings to her writing explains much of Wendy’s appeal. Published science works include several titles written in conjunction with the notable Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, numerous other educational resources including CDs, teaching programs, practical activities and testing materials. Wendy has also written several children’s books.

When not writing or co-authoring her own material, Wendy works as a free-lance Science Consultant, Project Manager, Reviewer, ghost writer and tutor to her home schooled children.  She is also studying screen writing with a view to expanding her writing skills. An author with a vivid imagination, who has also studied the art of writing for children and teens, Wendy continues to write, promising to keep her readers happy for many years to come.

post 2009 Reunion Reservation Deadline

June 7th, 2009

Filed under: High Chaparral Reunion 2009 — admin @ 5:59 pm

June is the last month you can make your High Chaparral Reunion reservation at the early discounted price of $225 per person, so don’t miss out. Get your reservation together right now and join us in Tucson. A variety of payment options – Credit Card, Paypal, or check, are available.

$225 for the 3 day package until June 30th- Increases on July 1 to $300

Register today for The High Chaparral Reunion, October 16-18, Tucson, AZ.

Mark Slade as Blue Cannon in the Pilot for The High Chaparral

Visit The High Chaparral ranch set at Old Tucson in person – join us in
Tucson at The High Chaparral Reunion, October 16-18.

Questions? Email

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