October 2007                                                                                   Editor: Penny McQueen
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The High Chaparral Newsletter

Past Newsletter Archives on NEW HC website

Announcing a new Chaparral website - Highchaparralnewsletter.com. From here you can view past issues of the newsletter, and a subscription form is available. Stop by and take a look. Suggestions for improvements are welcome - send them to info@highchaparralnewsletter.com.

Letters to the Editor
This edition introduces a new section - letters to the Newsletter editor. Want to write us? We're all ears! Send a telegram via Western Union, send up a smoke signal, email us at info@highchaparralnewsletter.com. Read this month's letters here.

Chaparral Events

Dr. Buck's Wild

Western Festival

September 28-30
Phoenix, AZ
Don Collier, Bob Hoy, Ted Markland, BarBara Luna, and many other western stars!

Meet Bob Hoy, Don Collier, and many other western stars at

Rex Allen Days

October 4-7
Wilcox, Arizona

High Chaparral Radio

LIVE Getting to Know You
October 23

On Tuesday October 23, 2007, "Getting To Know You" will air Live at 6:30 p.m. pacific 9:30 p.m. eastern. The KSAV phone lines will be open for Susan to take your calls and answer your questions. Call 800-407-5728 to ask Susan questions about High Chaparral, Michael Landon, Harry Sukman, Little House on the Prarie, or any of the many achievements and experiences in her life.
Hear the promo!

Hear The High Chaparral Suite Online

Susan McCray's very special two-part Getting to Know You on her father, Harry Sukman, is available on the KSAV Radio archive site. Full of Sukman's award winning compositions, each episode is a delight. You won't want to miss the chance to hear The High Chaparral Suite in it's entirety. Check out the KSAV archive, and be sure to listen to The High Chaparral Suite on the Harry Sukman special.

You can always email Susan your thoughts, comments or questions at susan@ksav.org.

Listen to Harry Sukman, Getting to Know You, and The High Chaparral Suite

Hear Joe Butler

On September 18, yet another special High Chaparral guest, Bob Hoy, appeared on Getting to Know You. Don't miss Bob's wonderful stories, including the warm memories he and Susan share about their days on High Chaparral. Click HERE to listen.

Reunion Photos

Fans Donna and Nancy graciously provided access to their wonderful photos taken at the High Chaparral reunion - here's a selection:

HC Producer Kent McCray and Fan Ariel.

Tanja gets her cast photo autographed by head wrangler Denny Allen.

Denise Billen-Meija listens as Henry Darrow describes the action in an episode.

Malachi Throne enjoys meeting Charlotte and Ariel.

Marie Gomez poses with Donna and Ariel.

Marcie and Tanja meet Henry Darrow.

Ted Markland, Donna, and Ariel during the brunch.

Don Collier with his newest fans, Nancy and Donna.

Kent McCray, Donna, and Nancy.

Henry Darrow and Don Collier discuss photos.

Don Collier is interviewed for the video.

Bob Hoy and Tonia Caruso (Anthony Caruso's widow).

Mr. and Mrs. Greg Walcott.

The always stylish Marie Gomez.

High Chaparral on the Web

The Official High Chaparral website
The High Chaparral Reunion website
The High Chaparral Newsletter
Don Collier
Henry Darrow
Bob Hoy
Ted Markland
Susan McCray
Rudy Ramos
Mark Slade
Out West Entertainment

To subscribe to The High Chaparral newsletter, send an email to info@highchaparralnewsletter.com.

October's Newsletter goes multi-media, with many HC sound files. First on the list is the upcoming High Chaparral Reunion special, followed by articles and announcements:

  • Re-vist the reunion with a special broadcast of on-site interviews
  • For the many fans who've asked for more Buck Cannon information - an interview with Cameron Mitchell! No, we haven't taken up seances or even taken leave of our senses. Read on for a vintage reprint of a 1968 TV Channel article from the Baltimore News-American.
  • In the wake of the reunion, HCDG moderator Tina Sweet provides a great description of what it's like to meet one of our High Chaparral heroes for the first time. And Tina's meeting was very special indeed - Linda Cristal.
  • Announcing a new High Chaparral Newsletter website.
  • Events, fan memories, Letters to the Editor, and more!

High Chaparral 40th Anniversary Reunion
Radio Broadcast
October 2
6:00 pm Pacific

Mark your calendar! Don't miss this very special 90 minute broadcast on KSAV radio. Listen to all your favorite HC stars, guest stars, production crew, and fans as they talk onsite from the Sportsmen's Lounge. In the background you'll hear the excitement of this incredible event - it's the next best thing to being there. Tune in to KSAV.org on October 2, 6:00 pm Pacific, 9:00 pm Eastern.


Birthdays - Don Collier

The best ranch foreman in the Arizona territory celebrates his birthday this month. Wish Don Collier a Happy Birthday on October 17. Send email greetings via the link on his website at Doncollier.com, or a card to Ginny at OutwestEntertainment.com.

Behind the scenes
Mitchell: no changes please

reprinted from The News American/TV Channels, Baltimore, July 14-20, 1968

With NBC’s High Chaparral moving next fall from 10 p.m. Sunday to 7:30 p.m. Friday, there’s some talk around the network that brother Buck Cannon (Cameron Mitchell seen on the cover) may have to be cleaned up a little instead of continuing to be the whiskey-drinking, primitive-speaking and dirty-looking character he was the first season.

“Maybe we’ll east up on some of Buck’s drinking on camera because the show will be seen at the earlier hour,” says producer William Claxton.

If this is done it will be over Cameron Mitchell’s dirty dead body. He’s convinced that Buck Cannon is being played just right by him.

“Did you know that the English are going for this gray, dirty character who’s kind of in between a good guy and a bad guy? Well, they are,” says Cam. “And what’s more, the Mexican’s love the show because Linda Cristal plays Victoria as a regal lady, and a white man, me, is a dirty sloppy kind of a bum.

“You should see the letters I get. A mother asked me for some pictures of Buck which she’s going to mount against a background of other western stuff and give to her son for his graduation gift. I got a 47-page letter from a 65-year old gal in Pittsburgh who thinks I’m the greatest thing on her TV set. These things move me. When a person believes something, you’ve got to take him seriously.

“I even get letters from alcoholics, sympathizing with me and the fights I get into and the old gals Buck sometimes ties up with. This is the way it really was with a lot of these western characters. You spend three months out in the sagebrush, then come in town and anything looks good to you.

“As for the dirt, which NBC complained about at first, well, you ride for two hours in that stuff around Tucson and try not to look dirty. I’m that kind of a guy anyway. I spill more things in real life than most people,” explains Cam.

Photo from the collection of Gloria Fiore.

He has become friendly with Nino Cochise, the great-grandson of the genuine Cochise. Nino is 94 now and acts as technical adviser on High Chaparral. Cam got him a big drunk one afternoon and tried to worm out of him how many white men Cochise had actually scalped.

“Nino wouldn’t tell me. He’s a sly one. Do you know he’s going to get married to a 50-year old gal? To him she’s a regular teen-ager,” Cam reports.

When he started playing the role of Buck Cannon, brother of John (Leif Erickson), there was some discussion about the bad grammar Cam was using. Did it have to be that bad?

“I said yes, it did. These cowhands, most of ‘em were illiterate and when you showed them a watch they weren’t too sure whether it was the big hand or the little one that told the hour,” says Cam.

So, it doesn’t look as if High Chaparral will be changing too much for its earlier hour and second season next September – at least not as far as Cam Mitchell is concerned.

“I like to play things for real, and we Americans kid ourselves a lot about other people. I was in Europe for 10 years making movies, many of them behind the Iron Curtain, and those people over there are miserable, but the Commie leaders told them it’s because of Yankee imperialism. If we’d pull out of Vietnam right now, that argument would collapse and the Commies with it. I wish just one of our presidential candidates had the sense to see that.”

You can see that Cam has other things on his mind, too, besides acting the sloppy, dirty cowhand in High Chaparral, and he is not shy about expressing his feelings.

The Day I Met Linda Cristal
by Tina Sweet
I met Linda Cristal on June 13, 1998. I also met Henry Darrow, at Rocky Whitehead’s Autograph show in Anaheim, California.

When I met Bob Hoy, at a Western Film Festival in 1996, I asked him if Linda attended any festivals. He said she had retired and rarely did autograph shows.

In my search for High Chaparral photos and memorabilia, I found Roger Crowley’s Old West Shop (www.oldwestshop.com) then Kathy Lewis and the Mark Slade Fan Club. That led me to Rocky Whitehead’s website, The Cannon Ranch, the predecessor to thehighchaparral.com. The Cannon Ranch had a message board and a chat room, and a dozen or so regular fans were active.

One day, a new name appeared on the board – “Jordan.” That got my attention because I knew Linda’s youngest son was named Jordan. Could it be? The message title read, ‘I loved the Chaparral when I was a kid…’ So I opened it up and to my delight, it was from Linda’s son, Jordan. He talked about playing with Leif Erickson on the set and that Victoria was his favorite character and also his mother. The cool thing about the message board was that you could right click on the name, and have the email address of the sender. I did, and his email address popped up in my email program. I was so excited, it took me a day or two to decide just what to write to him. There was so much I wanted to ask!! Finally I wrote to him, and he answered immediately. Next thing I knew, I got an email from his brother Greg, too. Emails began to flow back and forth, and their email boxes overflowed with email from HC fans!

They set up an email for Linda, which went to Gregory’s office and he printed them up for his mother to read. While she had internet access, she wasn’t too keen on email; she prefers to talk on the phone or to write letters. But she would read the email and tell them her response and they would respond, with a few occasional exceptions. One day, I sent an email to Greg asking a question. I got a response, but as soon as I started reading, I knew it wasn’t Greg writing. I skipped down the page to see who had responded and nearly fell out of my seat. Linda had responded in person!! Apparently she had been visiting Greg when he received my email that day so she answered it personally!

When Rocky started to organize his autograph show, he wanted members of the HC to attend. Henry Darrow agreed to come, and Rocky really wanted Linda to come. With a little prodding from Jordan and Ted Markland, Linda agreed to appear. She also endured quite a bit of pleading and begging from fans. When Rocky emailed me and told me Linda had confirmed her appearance, I made my plane and hotel reservations! I remembered Bob saying she didn’t do many appearances, and I knew this might be my one and only shot at meeting her. The kicker was, I had only flown once before and never this far. But it didn’t matter.

Meeting her that day was an absolute thrill. When I arrived at the room, I couldn’t see her, but I could hear her giggle. There were about 5 people around her. Henry had 2 people talking with him. That was okay, because I was terribly nervous, and I needed to rid myself of my mounting anxiety. By the second time around the room, Henry was free, and it was time to say hello. Henry was such a gentleman. I brought some of my photo collection for him to sign and I picked up a new one from him to add to my collection.

As I was having him autograph it for me, a handsome young man came up to me and seemed to know who I was (boy, I like California already!). I knew it wasn’t Rocky, I had seen his photo on the website. Had I not been so nervous, I would have had a 50-50 shot at realizing this had to be either Greg or Jordan. It was Jordan. He introduced himself. We talked for a bit with Henry. Then he asked if I was ready to meet his mother. My lips said yes, but everything inside was screaming wait, wait, not ready, not ready! Let’s see, 2 laps for Henry; 5-6 for Linda around the room. But Jordan had other ideas, and before I could stop him, he announced me, “Look Mom, Tina’s here!” There was still a crowd around her, so she had to stand up to see me. And when she stood up, she stepped from an image on the silver screen to a real live person just a few feet away.

It was at that moment that I totally froze. My feet literally would not move. She waved hello, and I did manage to wave back and say hello. Jordan tried to move me forward, and I couldn’t move! I was in shock. I swear I heard the words and Scottish brogue in my head of Scottie saying, “Captain, we need more power to the engines! I’ve got no power, Captain!” I managed to say to Jordan, I’ll walk over as soon as they’re done. Let those folks finish up, or something like that. I remember seeing Henry to my left grinning, because he saw my initial reaction when I first saw Linda. He saw the awestruck fan. Jordan, who by the way is completely unaware of what’s going on, finally gets me moving. I’m walking over, and Linda is just a few feet away, and I realize I cannot remember my greeting for her. Linda is standing to greet me – how classy is that – I extend my hand as we do in the South and tell her it is so wonderful to meet her and I hear myself say it and cannot fathom where that Southern accent came from. Holy cow, I sound like Scarlet O’Hara!!! She knows who I am from all the emails, and she’s ready for me! If I wasn’t falling apart enough, when she took my hand, she pulled across the table and hugged me hello like I was her long lost daughter! We hug in the South too, but I wasn’t expecting that from her. I heard her giggle, and later I realized why. Linda is psychic, and she picked up on what I was thinking when she hugged me which was (oh Lord, please don’t let me faint!)

Henry Darrow, Tina Sweet, and Linda Cristal
I never dreamed that a friendship with Linda would grow from that meeting but it has, and for that I am very grateful. Linda is a gracious, thoughtful, classy lady. Her humility is refreshing. She puts you immediately at ease and she’s very easy to talk to. Every time I talk to her, my admiration and respect for her grows more and more!


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High Chaparral Newsletter
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