Then there were the stars – a new patriarch in one-time big-time MGM leading man Stewart Granger; Lee Majors, fresh from THE BIG VALLEY, as Roy Tate, sporting a big, mean-looking mustache; Doug McClure, back as Trampas, sporting an even bigger mustache; and James Drury as the Virginian, sometimes sporting a gun the length of his leg! McClure’s and Drury’s wardrobe, unchanged since 1962, were completely different. Granger played a retired British colonel who had bought Shiloh Ranch, and was maintaining its personnel – but there would be no more nieces and nephews to clutter up the place: this was now a series strictly about men.
“They gave the show a new look, and everybody kind of signed on to it. I got myself a new horse and a longer gun. (big laughs from the audience) From a 5 ½ inch barrel to a 7 ½ inch barrel. Longer sideburns. Much bigger hat. A sense of accomplishment or…a sense of entitlement – let’s put it that way. I smoked cigars on the show. And I just mowed down anybody with my firearms. But the thing is, we all thought it was a good idea at the time; it was a terrible idea. And the worst of the terrible ideas was putting Stewart Granger in the same position that Lee Cobb had occupied, that John McIntire had occupied, Charles Bickford had occupied; that John Dehner had occupied. These were truly great western actors. Stewart Granger came in and decided that he was going to be the big star of the show: fired my crew, fired my Academy Award-winning cameraman, got all new people. He pissed off everyone in the entire organization. And he sunk the show. So thank you, Stewart, wherever you are.”
Some of the included songs are available in sheet music for the first time – eight of them, including WHIRLYBIRD and THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (IN TEXAS, THAT IS) were transcribed from Gene’s recorded performances. Published by Hal Leonard, with an introduction by Gene Autry Entertainment President Karla Buhlman, and featuring photos, including some of Gene’s own Christmas cards, this book is sure to give the musically inclined something new to play and sing around the piano at that special time of year when we all like to think we can carry a tune. You can buy it wherever you buy your sheet music, or direct from Gene Autry Entertainment HERE.
To learn about all the events and all of the movies to be screened – from THE MACCAHANS to GUNGA DIN – visit the official website HERE
And if you've never been to Lone Pine, here's an excellent featurette to show you why you shouldn't miss it!
This weekend The Round-up surpassed 190,000 hits! Thank you to all of you folks who keep visiting the site week after week. We’re read in well over 90 countries these days, and we added two this week, Luxemburg and Bahrain. And this week’s new Facebook followers are from L.A.; Running Springs, CA.; New York City; and Moscow. It’s great to know the appeal of Western stories is still international! Have a great week!
All Original Content Copyright October 2014 by Henry C. Parke – All Rights Reserved