Dear High Chaparral Fans:

40 more days until the reunion but a mere 23 more days left to register. Please don't miss out on the chance to meet the cast and crew of the greatest TV Western. They are, without exception, warm, wonderful people who are looking forward to meeting you. You will return home knowing you have made new friends and been reacquainted with old ones. Kent McCray can answer any question about the show that you have. Susan McCray may want you to be on her radio show. Henry Darrow will charm you. Don Collier and Bob Hoy will treat you like an old friend. Ted Markland will make you laugh. You'll rush home to watch the fourth season after meeting the captivating Rudy Ramos. Interested in horses? Talk to stunt man Jack Lilley, who trains them for TV and movies. Want to hear what it was like to work on Gunsmoke? Neil Summers and Alex Sharp will be waiting for you (Alex doubled James Arness!). A John Wayne fan? Guest Star Gregg Palmer worked with him, and does the best impression of the Duke you've ever heard. Jerry Wills was on Chaparral all four years, as was his father, Henry. Since he doubled Mark Slade, he might have a story or two about our Blue Boy.

And surely you want the opportunity to say thank you to David Dortort.

The High Chaparral
2007 Reunion
August 17-19, 2007
 Sportsmen’s Lodge Hotel
 Studio City, California

(Note that full payment is due by July 31, 2007. Your registration is non-refundable. Cancellations made before July 1 will be refunded in full, and a 50% refund will be given to cancellations made after July 1. Unfortunately, no refunds after August 1.)

High Chaparral News

Don Whaley, a camera operator on Bonanza, attended past reunions with High Chaparral cameraman Wally Johnson. Don sends his regrets, but thoughtfully sent along information he recently learned about Leif Erickson.

While carving an empire out of the hostile desert, John Cannon needed courage, intelligence, and every talent a man could draw on to succeed. We know him as an extraordinary man of many accomplishments. So was the actor who portrayed him. Leif Erickson, in addition to his fine singing voice and acting, served as a navy photographer during World War II.

Leif Erickson early in his career

He studied photography in 1942 at the Naval Training School in Pensacola, and after graduation taught as an  instructor/lecturer. It comes as no surprise that he was assigned to a Combat Photographic Team, shooting stills and movies in combat zones, until he left the navy in 1945, a Chief Photographer’s Mate. Life experiences that must’ve added richness to the role of John Cannon.

Leif Erickson as we know him

In 1969, Leif returned to the Training School, a famous Hollywood actor. The staff and students, including one of his former pupils, were delighted as he talked about the latest motion picture equipment in use on the hot NBC hit, The
High Chaparral.

Giberson, Art (2000). Eyes of the Fleet: A History of Naval Photography.
Florida: Wind Canyon Books, Inc.  


Now Hear This

The High Chaparral Promo

Recorded by Susan McCray especially for The High Chaparral Reunion.

Speaking of Don Whaley, The High Chaparral cameraman had this to say in a recent letter: 'You produce a highly intelligent, well-written newsletter and I'm grateful that you sent it.  The general quality of the photos, IN COLOR YET, speaks well for the entire operation. As I understand it, one of the goals is to prod whomever has the final say to release HIGH CHAPARRAL to market on DVD.'  It's difficult to figure as BONANZA has been bouncing aroundfor a number of years, first on VHS and currently on DVDs. And this while an L.A. channel (30) runs chopped-up BONANZA's one-a-day, five days a week. They gotta be wearing out the sprocket holes.  I don't get the politics of it at all.  In my later years I ran a camera on TAXI and CHEERS, and they've been available in the after market for a long time.'

High Chaparral on the Web

 The Official High Chaparral website

The High Chaparral Reunion website

Don Collier

Henry Darrow

Bob Hoy

Ted Markland

Susan McCray

Rudy Ramos

Mark Slade

Out West Entertainment






Rather than share memories of past reunions, we present the following
special announcement for

The High Chaparral
Reunion 2007 & 40th Anniversary Celebration.

Now all loyal fans of The High Chaparral can participate in the 40th Anniversary Reunion. Announcing the Virtual Reunion – a private, online web conference designed specially for the event.   

Hosted by, any fan with a broadband internet connection and browser can connect to the reunion brunch on August 17th.  A webcam will provide a live video feed, along with chat and voice, direct from the Sportsmen's Lounge.  Get your questions ready, because you'll be able to ask the cast, crew, and guest stars via your web session, and hear and see their responses.  

This unique internet meeting allows all Chaparral fans to be a part of this year's very special reunion, whether they can attend in person or not.  In addition to the excitement of seeing the cast, crew, and guest stars, the capabilities of will be available throughout the reunion.  Participants who have their own webcam will have two-way video, everyone can chat, and so paid participants can meet with onsite fans at specific times during the weekend.   

Plans are to have a fan conference at Friday evening's Hug and Howdy check-in, so we all can meet virtually. Additional online meetings will be available at other times Saturday, and during the main event – the celebrity brunch on Sunday.  

The cost to participant is $55.  Contact to arrange the paypal payment and receive your username and password.'s web and video conferencing service is browser based and system neutral.  Any operating system – Mac, Windows, Linux – can take part in this internet meeting, without installing any special software.   

If you know you can't attend the reunion in person, make plans to be there anyway, by attending the Virtual Reunion!   

My Favorite High Chaparral Episode
by Ginny Shook

The Covey
(written by
Alex Sharp, directed by William F. Claxton. Original air date October 18, 1968

With Buck in charge for a change, the men from the High Chaparral take a mule team into Tucson, load up with supplies, and plan to return home after a short time for some fun in town. But when two mountain men observe the "richest, fattest mule train ever seen" they convince our favorite bandido, El Lobo, to ambush the Chaparral crew on the return trip. El Lobo has broken out of Yuma Prison and is more interested in revenge on Manolito for putting him there

 than what the mule train holds. He traps the HC men like a "covey of quail" and lets the hot sun do the work for him. When it looks like he is going to succeed, Buck comes up with an ingenious plan that saves the day.

This episode is full of fast-paced scenes with snappy, funny dialogue that writer Alex Sharp excelled at. One running gag has Sam asking for the five dollars Joe owes him. "What five dollars?" Joe asks ever-so-innocently. Sam reminds him that he was playing poker with Pedro and drinking. "Sam, you know better than to lend me money when I'm drinking."

Later they have a wonderful fist-fight in the saloon. But when they have been trapped by El Lobo in the blazing sun without water and it looks like the end is near, Joe wants to make things right. He tries to give the money to his brother. "Keep it and pay me later," Sam tells him. "If there is a later. 'Cause where I'm going everything is free. But where you're going - you might need five dollars."


Other favorite moments include Sam, Joe, and Pedro huddled over a horse trough, trying to wash away their hangovers. Rubbing an aching head, Joe asks Pedro what Tequila is made out of it. "This morning I don't know," Pedro moans. "They say it's made out of cactus." "Cactus, huh?" says Sam. "Well, I sure wish they'd take the stickers out before they bottle it." 

Buck asks Blue is he's seen any strange looking men around. "They're mountain men - they smell funny." "I didn't smell any," Blue says innocently.

When Blue is trying to sing along with his new guitar, Buck, with a grimace asks, "Blue Boy, how much you pay for that guitar?" "Only two pesos," Blue replies. "I'll give you three to shut-up." (Blue is not discouraged and continues his impression of singing throughout the episode).

One interesting note - the script for The Covey reveals that there was an opening scene that didn't make it into the episode. At least, not this episode. It starts with the ranch hands playing polo with a beat-up ball and broom sticks. In this version, the Butler Brothers even use their broomsticks like sabers when the game gets heated. Buck is enjoying the fracas but Big John puts a stop to the fun.

Don Collier, Bob Hoy and writer/stuntman Alex Sharp at the 2005 reunion.


Gene, Roy...and the Bunkhouse Boys?

by Penny McQueen

When talking with one of The High Chaparral stars, it’s difficult to remember they aren’t the characters they played. They use the same voices and gestures, on occasion exhibit similar attitudes, so an occasional dizziness, a little out of the TV screen and into reality deja vue, can be excused.

Bob Hoy is a tough as nails ex-Marine, a working stuntman at an age when most have cheerfully retired. Trim, with a silhouette that mirrors the youngest Butler brother of four decades ago, he is
kind to fans, women, and dumb animals. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Dry humor of the sort that delivers quick one-two punches or British butler impressions with equal ease, I don’t have to cross my eyes to picture him scaring a bunkmate with a bull snake.

When he tells me he once addressed the head of a major studio by an off-color name, I check for the sideways twinkle in his eye. Is it real, or is it Joe Butler, explaining to me that the whiskey in the bottle is called the 40 Rod Special, because he’s going to walk exactly 40 rods after he drinks it, then fall over? Talking to Bobby Hoy, it’s best to keep on your toes.

“Did you ever see the Chaparral musical number?” The conversation started innocently enough. In the midst of playing Bob’s favorite name-that-movie game, he’d just quoted passages from four separate films in rapid succession. I’d guessed two, so he was pleased.

Feeling confident, I answered smugly. Man to Match the Land, the fiesta, Manolito plays guitar and sings. I should know better, it’s unwise to be complacent around a man who was once the foreman of The High Chaparral.

“Nope, not that one. The singing Bunkhouse Boys.” I tried again. Kilroy, riding back from Tucson, singing Buffalo Gals. “No, no, not that one. We were waiting for the Apache to attack. They had us singing as loud as we could.”

While Bob Hoy described the bunkhouse boys, led by John Cannon, gathered outside the ranch house, I racked my brain. “Leif Erickson and Don Collier loved it, because they had deep, bass voices. They took turns seeing who could sing the lowest. We shot it over and over, we sang at those Apache for what seemed like hours.”

He seemed so reasonable, so rock solid sure of himself. No wonder he talked Blue into the mud hole. It all probably sounded right at the time. Singing bunkhouse boys, get behind a cow and push. Sure Joe, whatever you say.

Except there was no giveaway twinkle in his eye, so I knew it was the truth. And I found it. The singing bunkhouse scene. Shot for the pilot, in the Apache attack scene at the ranch, but never broadcast. Here, courtesy of Mr. Trickster Coyote, Joe Butler, Bob Hoy, it is for your reading pleasure.


Big John turns and looks at Manolito: He smiles broadly.

What are you grinning at?

I don’t know – I always grin before I fight. Makes me feel more like dying I guess.

From beyond we HEAR the steady chanting of the Apache
warriors preparing themselves for battle. It grows LOUDER and LOUDER.

What’s all the noise?

They are calling upon the gods to protect them in battle.

Ain’t many men alive’s heard that sound.

Yeah. Kinda puts you on edge, don’t it.

He looks around – licks his lips.

(to Buck)


Yeah –sing. Or whatever it is you call that business you do when you’re drunk.

I only know one song.

That’s good enough.

Buck clears his throat: his voice comes out cracking
and faint – and grows in intensity:

Oh, the corn-fed girls they are
the best…in all the west…
they are the best


The steady LOUD CHANTING fills the air


…and of all the tribe I have seen…May Dee she is the queen.

As he moves into the chorus – the others JOIN THE SONG
we INTERCUT the various defense positions as the men
sing. Even the Mexican vaqueros wing with them – It
becomes a contest of volume between the apache WAR CHANT and

(continuing: singing louder)
Corn-fed girl, see the moon shine bright…
ain’t you coming out tonight?
Ain’t you coming out tonight? --
Corn-fed girl, ain’t you walking out tonight?

As the men sing louder – we SHOOT AND CUT their reactions –
the tension and fear leave their faces. Even Big John  joins in the last few lines: The INTENSITY of the SINGING and CHANTING BUILDS TO A CRESCENDO –
followed abruptly by a WAR CRY – then many Apache YELLS.


The Apache horsemen charge.



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