Tuesday, October 16, 2012


THE VIRGINIAN Part 4 – James Drury on Jumping the Shark!

VIRGINIAN cookies!

On Saturday, September 22nd, hundreds of fans, and eight stars of THE VIRGINIAN television series gathered at The Autry to mark the 50th Anniversary of the show, which had returned to the airwaves that very day via INSP.  This is the 4th and final part of my report on those events.  One of the day’s high-points was a panel discussion, moderated by one of the premiere writers on the Western movie, Boyd Magers, of the WESTERN CLIPPINGS magazine and website: http://www.westernclippings.com/
Here is the second part of that panel’s highlights.

BOYD MAGERS: Jim, what do you think that Clu (Gulager) brought to the show?

JAMES DRURY: A unique and palpable sense of danger and mystery.  You never knew what he was thinking.  You almost never knew what side of the law he was on, because he’d never dig down on one side or the other until he was damned clear which was right and which was wrong.  It was such a joy and a pleasure to work with him.  He constantly threw bolts of lightning at you, and you’d try to catch them and throw them back.  I’ll never forget working with Clu, and what he brought to the show was a whole new dimension, and I mean that sincerely, and you should have won an Academy Award for some of that stuff.  This man, he’s such a pleasure to be around, and he doesn’t even know it. 

Drury, Shore, Gulager and Clarke

BOYD:  On the other side of the coin, what happened in the last year?  All of a sudden Doug McClure’s got this big mustache, and Lee Major’s on it, and you’re not on enough.  They changed the title (to THE MEN OF SHILOH) and put Stewart Granger in there. 

JAMES:  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. 

BOYD:  Don told me a very interesting story about Charles Bickford.  Why don’t you tell it?

DON QUINE:  Charles Bickford, as most of you know, was a very handsome copper-haired actor. He was working at MGM, up until he got in a fight on a film there.  And someone said, ‘We don’t have to put up with this any more, Mr. Bickford.  You’re fired.’  And he was a very good businessman.  What he did, there was a vacant lot right on the corner of Culver, that faced MGM.  And he bought that corner lot, and he bought a couple of old junker cars, and put a huge sign up there that said Charles Bickford’s Used Cars.  (big laughs from the audience)  And about two weeks later he got a call from MGM saying, ‘We’d like to buy that property from you.’  He said no thank you.  They offered more; he said no thank you.  After about the fifth offer, they offered him a lot of money, he said okay.  When he got fired out of MGM he couldn’t get a job in the business, and he started working these real low-grade B movies.  There was one in which he had to play a lion tamer (EAST OF JAVA, Universal 1935).  And he still had his wonderful copper hair.  They said, ‘Mr. Bickford, would you mind giving us another shot?’  He did two or three more shots with this lion he was supposed to tame.  They said just one more shot, and he said, ‘This is it.  I’m not doing any more after this one.’  He went in and the lion mauled him – almost killed him.  He was in the hospital, and his hair turned to silver.  And that was the end of Charles Bickford the leading man.  As a character actor he went on to be nominated for Academy Awards several times (for SONG OF BERNADETTE (1944), THE FARMER’S DAUGHTER (1947) and JOHNNY BELINDA (1949)). 

Don Quine
Boyd Magers then gave members of the audience a chance to ask questions.  The first man wanted to know if any episodes, which were shot in eight days, ever went over budget.

JAMES:  There were a couple of episodes that went to twelve days.  And it was almost an atomic explosion at the top floor of The Black Tower (the executive building at Universal.).  Couldn’t have that, so we didn’t get those directors back, and we didn’t get those writers back.  We made most of the shows in eight days, and one time we tried to make one in seven days.  And we made it in seven days, and then they came in and said, ‘We’re going to make the next one in seven days.’  And I said, ‘No you’re not.’  The first year the pattern budget was, believe it or not, $130,000 a week to make an eight day show, a 90 minute show.  The show was a big hit, so they said, ‘Well, we’ll just cut $12,000 out of the budget, take that $12,000 arbitrarily and put it in our pocket.’  I said, ‘No you won’t.’  They tried these things from time to time, but no, they didn’t.  They said the Universal Studio Tour took precedence over production.  They were allowed to come anywhere they want to come.  And I said, ‘No, you’re not.’  We had a scene, with bank robbers, where there was a big explosion – they blew the bank.  After a short time, bank robbers came out, piled on their horses and took off up the street just as fast as they could go.  Within moments a posse was formed; while they were forming, there was a buggy-wreck; horse went clear over on his back, and the buggy went over his back.  In the meantime, in the center of the shot, I’m having a love-scene with Angie Dickinson!  And they run a tram through the back of the shot!  (nasally) ‘If you look to your left…’  I got in the car and I went home.  I said, ‘When you get rid of the tram, I’ll be back.’  They said, ‘We can’t do that.’  I said, ‘Yes you can.’  I had to do that two years in a row, go home because of the tram.  And the third year they kept the trams completely away from THE VIRGINIAN set, and we never had any more problems with it. 

ROBERTA SHORE:  We also used to do two shows at a time, to reach our (budget) goals.

JAMES: I appeared in five episodes in one day.  Five units were shooting.  It was a logistical nightmare, and it could not be done, but we did it.  And I sure never had more fun in my entire life. 

A woman in the audience asks Clu and James which episodes they did their best work in.

JAMES:  There were great episodes, there were great scenes, there were great moments.  But it’s difficult to isolate any one.  I was pretty satisfied with most of the work.  I was delighted with some of it, and I was disappointed in a little bit of it, so if you’ve got a series going for nine years, and you’ve got that kind of a record, you don’t have to stand back for anybody.  That’s how I feel about it. 

CLU:  I can’t top that answer.  That’s very honest, from an acting artist.  He was trying to analyze how an acting artist can evaluate his work, and you really can’t.  You have to let other people evaluate your work.  I know that I wasn’t on the VIRGINIAN much.  I came in the third year and (producer) Frank Price was, as I said, a good friend.  I said Frank, I’m hungry, I need work.  I have two children, a wife and a home.  He said okay, so he put me on as the Deputy Sheriff.  Before that, the first or second season I did an episode where I played a deaf mute.  A deaf mute; I said, boy, this is going to be home free!  I don’t have to memorize a damned thing!  I got on that show the first day, and I realized it would be the hardest job in acting that I had ever, or would ever, have to do.  It was almost impossible.  I’ll tell you why:  I didn’t have to remember words, but all of my actions, my looks, my feelings – everything had to be memorized.  I couldn’t come up there and ad-lib and improvise with other actors, they would have said, ‘What are you doing?’  I can’t believe, to this day, how hard it was.  I could never ever duplicate the difficulty of that.  I liked that episode, because of the intensity I had to muster; I had never done to that degree even on the stage.   That was my favorite episode because I just liked the whole experience of it. 

A woman in the audience asked for favorite stories about the horses the actors rode in the show.

JAMES:  The horse that I was privileged to ride for the first eight years, Jody, 7/8th quarter-horse, 1/8 Appaloosa, was a unique horse – and I’ve never seen another horse do it, before or since: if his head was between Boyd and I, and we were having a conversation, if Boyd said something, his ears would go over there and listen.  (audience laughs)  If I said something they go over to me.  This didn’t just happen once in a while, it was in every conversation.  For eight years, that horse knew what was going on. 

SARA LANE:  I used to hang out with the wranglers.  One of the most special things was the first year I rode big old buckskin named Buck, a sound, sensible horse, but not a very special horse.  And in the second season, James had a horse that I think he had trained up for himself, named Easter Ute. 

JAMES:  He wasn’t big enough for me.

SARA:  And somehow I got to ride Easter Ute.  This was a reining horse, and if you were a horse-crazy kid, you could never have afforded a horse (like this).  I trained all my own horses, which means not much, and the pleasure of loping up to your mark, and just kind of sliding into it, having a horse totally sensible, patient, that will wait, and then turn you around – it’s sort of like having a hot-rod car if you’re a young boy.  It was too much; I was so honored to have an animal like that as a partner.  Another one was a 17 year-old stallion.  This horse had been trained to be in a movie called PEPE (1960) with Cantinflas, and had been trained to sit on a pool table – I don’t know how they managed that.  By the time that we got him, he was quite a handful, but that was a wonderful experience.  My poor welfare worker probably didn’t know what we were doing.  She kept me away from the boys, which was not important, because everyone was so protective on the set.  It’s a girl’s dream, to be around wonderful people and wonderful horses. 

DIANE ROTER:  My first day on THE VIRGINIAN I was not the horsewoman that Sarah was. 

SARAH:  She was an actress; I wasn’t. 

DIANE:  I did have a lot of experience as an actor, but not much on a horse.  I was on a horse, and they had just started the (Universal Tour) trams, which was Jim’s favorite thing.  So I’m out there with the wranglers, getting some experience on a horse, and a tour guide on a megaphone said, really loudly, ‘Oh, there we have an actor riding a horse!’  And as soon as he said that the horse went – (she does a braying sound) – and that’s the last thing I remember.  I woke up in the ambulance for a minute, and then I woke up in the hospital.  So I was okay, but I had a concussion and a sprained back.  I was back at work pretty soon, but my back was pretty sore.  And I got back on a horse – I know it’s cliché but it’s true: you get back on a horse.  And the horse must have just sensed something, like, ‘Oh boy, I’ve got one.’  I got on that horse and he took off.  I was scared to death, because this horse was going, going, going, and I was really scared.  And guess who saved my life, literally: Doug McClure.  I looked over and there was Doug, and he just stopped the horse, got me off.  I mean, he was the real thing. 

GARY CLARKE: Diane just reminded me of a story about Doug.  Jim and Doug and I were doing the Rose Parade (New Years Day in Pasadena), lining up on Orange Grove Street, and there were all these old, very expensive mansions, and all the people had opened up their homes to us, so we could go in while we were waiting.  We would go in, grab a cup of coffee or a donut.  We were inside when they called us, and I had tied my horse up to an iron rail, a railing that went up the front porch to this mansion.  ‘Alright THE VIRGINIAN – they’re ready.’  And I ran out toward the horse that I had only met about fifteen minutes before.  He reared, and the feet came up in the air, and I said first he’s going to kill me, and then he’s going to end up in South L.A.  And out of the blue came this person with a red cape with a big ‘D’ on it, and it’s Doug McClure.  And he wraps his arms around the horse’s neck, bites his ear, and the horse stops like that.  And I swear I heard that horse say, ‘Okay Doug!’  He’s got one arm around the horse’s neck, the horse’s ear in those eighty-four teeth of his, and with his free hand he’s putting the bridle back on.  He stepped in front of the horse, and looked at it, and said, ‘Don’t ever do that again.’  The horse said, ‘Okay Doug.’ 

BOYD:  How about the credits, that opening scene, where Jim and Doug and you had to ride?

GARY:  Yes.  They were testing my mettle.  Jim and Doug and my stunt guy were the only ones that knew I couldn’t ride, but they wouldn’t tell anyone, because they liked me.  I thought I’d have time to learn how to ride, but I never took advantage of it – there was always something else to do.  Well, the first shot of the first show of THE VIRGINIAN was Jim, Doug and me herding fifty horses.  Camera-car, fifty horses, first Jim.  Jim had worked on a dude ranch, had been born on a horse, I think.  Camera-car took off, horses took off, Jim took off.  It was something, just incredible, and those horses did just what you wanted them to do.  Cut!  Doug’s up; incredible, and he could still smile while doing it.  So I am up next, and what is that phrase you used?  Sh*tting in the pants?  Because nobody knew – and I’m talking to my stunt-guy and his dad, and they’re kind of laughing.  ‘We’ve got just the horse for you; we want you to meet Babe.’  I looked at Babe and said, ‘She looks okay.’  Babe started laughing.  Fell on the ground and rolled, and I know she said, ‘Are you kidding?’  So it’s time for me to go.  All I had done is practice mounts, how to get on the horse and not look ridiculous.  And the assistant director came up and said, ‘You want to ride up to the start-point, Gary?’  ‘No, I’ll walk.’  So I walked up praying, and Jim and Doug are watching.  So I jump up – I’d been practicing one of these mounts – it’s the one where you jump up, stick your left foot in the stirrup and swing your right leg over.  And if you don’t do it, you’re either dead, or close to it.  I did it, and it worked, and the director just happened to be looking my way as I settle into the saddle, and he goes (thumbs up).  So I’m talking to Babe, and I say, ‘Okay, whatever you want – carrots, apples, whatever, for the rest of your life.  Please get me through this shot.’  Cameras are lined up, horses are lined up, I’m lined up.  I said, ‘Babe?’  She says, ‘I’ve got it covered.’  Action!  And we’re off!  I jab my spurs into Babe, (audience groans) probably the smartest thing I could have done.  She takes off, and it’s perfect; so much so that I let go of the horn.  (laughter)  Did I say something wrong?  So I’ve got the reins in my left hand, and the horses are doing just exactly what Babe wants them to do.  And Babe starts cutting in and out, closer to the camera.  They couldn’t use stunt doubles, because the camera would move in and out, to prove that Jim knew how to ride a horse, and it was truly him, and it was Doug, and it was Gary.  But I said to Babe, ‘What are you doing?’  She said, ‘Shut up – this is for your close-up.’  So we finished the shot, they say, ‘Cut!’  And I aim the horse toward Del and my stunt-man Gary Combs, and everything’s gone quite well.  I’m reining in, and then my beloved Babe starts (he makes lurching, bucking motions).  So I grab the reins, I jump off like I know what I’m doing, and the director comes running over, ‘Gary, that was sensational!  Jim, Doug, why couldn’t you do it like that?’  (big applause)  It all went well, and Del and Gary say to me, ‘Good job.’  I say, ‘But why was Babe doing this?’  (He does the lurching motion).  ‘You’re supposed to stop the horse with the reins, you pull in on the reins, and you did that well.  But when you do that, you don’t grab the horse with your spurs!’  Big lesson, well learned.

Roberta Shore with me
ROBERTA:  I wasn’t injured, but I was scared to death of horses.  I was not a horseman; I had one lesson before I started the show.  Lee J. Cobb and I were the laughing-stock of the cutting-room floor because there was so much distance between us and the horses we were riding. 

A man in the audience asks the female stars about how long it took them to feel like part of the VIRGINIAN family.

DIANE:  I have to say that Clu made a very big impression on me before I was on THE VIRGINIAN.  I consider him my mentor in a lot of ways, because I knew Universal was interested in me, they had offered me a contract, and I was going to take a screen test.  I didn’t know it was for THE VIRGINIAN – I think it was before it was known that Roberta (Shore) had gone off into that marital sunset, so to speak.  And the head of talent at Universal, Monique James, set a time for me to meet with Clu, and he would go over the accent for me, which was actually for a test for TAMMY.   I knew I wasn’t testing for Tammy, because all of the other girls were blonde, and they had southern accents.  And I had barely lost (my accent) – my first language was French, and I still had a slightly different way of speaking.  I met with Clu and he was just the ultimate professional, great coach, and he put me on the phone with his mother-in-law, was she from Georgia or Arkansas?  And went over the accent with me, and it was great.  And after that I found out that I was up for THE VIRGINIAN, and it was wonderful – I felt very integrated right away.  For one thing, people said that they shot more than one show at one time, and ironically, Roberta shot her last show at the same time as I shot my first show.  So we were on the set at the same time.  It was great to be able to see Glenn Corbett’s eyes for one thing, and I’m thinking, oh, she gets to go off and be married to him!  It couldn’t have been more seamless, it was great, and I already knew Clu and felt so comfortable with him, and so safe, and Jim, there’s no way not to feel safe with Jim around.  Randy, what can I say.  People ask me this question a lot.  In the opening credits, Randy says something to me, and I laugh.  And people ask me, what did Randy say to make you laugh like that?  Do they ask you that?

RANDY BOONE: Welllll…nope.

DIANE: Well, they ask me that, and here’s the truth.  Randy didn’t have to say anything.  He would just have to stand next to me, and I would start to giggle and laugh.  I was just pretty overwhelmed with his charm, I was sixteen or seventeen.  And it looks like he tells me a pretty funny joke, but he really didn’t have to do much.  It was a great experience for me. 

SARA:  I think, with my tenure on THE VIRGINIAN, they had cast you first, I think, and then I had a screen test with Don (Quine).  And it’s my fancy that we looked alike and got along so well, and then I did so much better than I might have done without him.  That same week I thought I had gotten a commercial for yogurt.  I was pretty sure that I had that one, but I was so scared that I hadn’t done well on THE VIRGINIAN test, because that’s the one I wanted.  And when I got the word, everyone was so kind, and it was kind of like coming into a new family.  We were all new together, but we were a substantial block, and treated so nicely, welcomed so warmly.  You know more about the process than I do, Don, because he was definitely there before me.

DON QUINE: Well, I don’t know the process of hiring, it comes in different formats, but I remember very distinctly how impressed I was with the idea of being able to play with Charles Bickford, because he was an actor who I greatly admired.  And he told me, when Frank Price introduced us, that he and wife were big fans of PEYTON PLACE, which I was on for six months, and he liked my character.  I was kind of a hot-headed kid who got into a lot of trouble.  So we got along tremendously well, got to know him personally, and had dinner at his house quite a few times.  When Sara was cast as my sister, she was just the sweetest little thing, I felt like her brother almost immediately.  It was great, the three of us, Charlie and Sara and I.  And doing the show, me and Jim – he was The Virginian, by the way – he ran Shiloh, and there was this sense that if anything went wrong, go to Jim, he’d take care of it, end of discussion.  And Doug as Trampas, always made you feel totally taken care of, protected; sweetest, most wonderful guy in the world.  So it was a terrific experience for us, we felt extremely grateful and welcomed. 

A woman in the audience asked if there were any guest stars the cast couldn’t stand, and if any real injuries had to be written into the show.

ROBERTA SHORE:  Most of the people who came on the set I was just in awe of, especially Bette Davis.  Vera Miles was my all-time favorite, but there was one person who’s dead, so he won’t know about this.  Forrest Tucker.  Of course, I was very young, and I was not quite as naive as everyone thought I was.  But he used to bring nude pictures of his wife to show to the crew, remember that, Jim?

JAMES:  I never got to see them. 

ONE OF THE OTHER MEN:  I’ve got some left over here.

ROBERTA: Anyway, I just thought that was so tacky. 

James Drury takes a moment to introduce a friend in the audience, actor Jon Locke, who appeared in four episodes of THE VIRGINIAN, including one where Robert Redford guest-starred as an escaped convict. 

JAMES:  He swings at Redford with the butt of a Winchester, and I stop him just in time, or we’d never have had BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. 

JON LOCKE:  I’d just like to say tonight, Jim, that you are the man.  Let me put it this way; he wanted to take a show to the guys in Vietnam, to entertain them, and we did.  And it was a joy to be in THE VIRGINIAN, and to work with all these wonderful characters here. 

Boyd introduces one of James Drury’s favorite leading ladies, Jan Shepard.

JAMES:  1962 was a banner year for me.  I got to work with Jan Shepard in a movie called THIRD OF A MAN.  You never saw it, never heard of it, it didn’t go anywhere.  But it was an incredibly memorable experience, what we did, what we tried to do in that picture.  We really did pull it off, and Jan and I started right there with a professional relationship that’s lasted through all the years, and I consider her one of my dearest friends, and her husband Roy, and I’m so glad to announce that I’m going to have dinner with them Sunday night.   (note: they also appeared together on a RAWHIDE, a GUNSMOKE and five VIRGINIANS.)  In1962 I did THIRD OF A MAN with Jan Shepard, I did RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY with Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea, and I signed for THE VIRGINIAN – I don’t know how lucky one guy can get in a year! 

Jan Shepard
BOYD:  And you’re going to get to see THIRD OF A MAN on Sunday night, and that’s all due to Maxine Hansen.  I couldn’t find it, Jim couldn’t find it: Maxine found it.  (Maxine is Executive Assistant to Mrs. Gene Autry, and put together THE VIRGINIAN event.)  All I did was call up Maxine and say, “You know, this is the 50th anniversary of THE VIRGINIAN.  I wonder if The Autry would be interested in doing something.”  She said, “That’s a wonderful idea!”  And she called me back in about thirty minutes and said, “Let’s do it.”  So we’ve been working on it for seven-eight-nine months, and this is it.

JAMES: I just want to thank the incredible generosity of The Autry organization putting together this extravaganza here.  From all over the country, wherever we came from, and making it happen.  And Maxine is the one who did that, along with Boyd, and my hat’s off to both of you. 


Lenore Andriel with festival judge and Spaghetti Western
Legend Dan Van Husen

Fans of westerns, spaghetti and domestic, gathered this weekend in Almeria, Spain to celebrate, and to visit the hallowed ground made familiar to us by Leone and Corbucci, by Eastwood and Nero, and several great friends of the Round-up were there to screen their fine new movies.  The beautiful and talented star, co-writer and co-producer of YELLOW ROCK, Lenore Andriel, sent me this report from the front! 

How many times have you seen these mountains?
“We're having the time of our lives and our premiere yesterday (Friday) was mucho bueno! The people here 'have the fever for Yellow Rock' and we're swamped with pics with them and signing autographs!  It is truly gorgeous here, the festival and people who run it are incredible, the food delicious, and we're in heaven!”

HELL'S GATE dir. Tanner Beard, Lenore,
HEATHENS & THIEVES editor Dan Leonard

On Sunday, last day of the festival, filming began there at historic Fort Bravo for OUTLAWS AND ANGELS, with Robert Amstler and Lenore.  All of the accompanying photos are courtesy of Lenore and YELLOW ROCK. 

Lenore and Robert Amstler filming OUTLAWS & ANGELS



I’ve got good news and dubious news.  The good news is Salma Hayek (Ugly Betty) and Lauren Shuler Donner (X-Men) are developing a new version of “…O. Henry’s Robin Hood of the Old West, the Cisco Kid!” for C.B.S.  The dubious news is that they’re “re-imagining the iconic Latino character” into the present day.  Written by THE SHIELD’s Diego Gutierrez, Cisco is now a Marine returning from Afghanistan, as is his sidekick, not Pancho, but Sam.  When Cisco witnesses his father’s murder, he and Pancho – I mean Sam – solve the case, and go on to help the oppressed in The City of Angles (no, I didn’t mean ‘angels’).  

It’s being described as in the vein of LETHAL WEAPON, which Ms. Donner’s spouse, Richard Donner did very well with.  Ms. Donner has done very well in her own right – her various Marvel Comic movies, X-MEN and all of their spawn, have grossed more than $4 billion worldwide.  I understand that Hispanics are considered an under-served TV market, so I certainly see the appeal of reviving Cisco.  I’ve loved all the Ciscos, from Warner Baxter to Cesar Romero to Gilbert Roland (my favorite) to Duncan Renaldo (okay, my other favorite).  Jimmy Smits didn’t do badly, either.  But when you remove Cisco and Pancho – I mean Sam – from their distinct time and place, I don’t what you’ll have left, besides LETHAL WEAPON with an accent.  I guess we’ll find out.





Don Quine, Stacy Grainger on THE VIRGINIAN, had confirmed to me in our interview that his only other western role was in a RAWHIDE episode.   After the interview ran, he emailed me, “I was going through some old photos and came across one that had me in a cowboy outfit where I was a member of an outlaw gang in the ‘Foley’ episode of 20th Fox's LANCER TV series. So I was in three, not two, westerns.”  I just received a photo of him in the role, and he looked so handsome I thought I’d share it with you.



Diane Roter on RAT PATROL

After my interview with Diane Roter, Jennifer Sommers on THE VIRGINIAN, appeared in the Round-up, she sent me a very generous email, but she did catch an error on my part.  “I got a real kick out of reading that I played a French courtesan on RAT PATROL... there is a similarity to the words, but I actually played a teenaged French partisan (a resistance fighter) in an episode called THE DOUBLE JEOPARDY RAID. 
Interestingly enough, however, I once did play a (16 year old mentally disabled Egyptian) prostitute in JUSTINE, directed by George Cukor and based on The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell.”



Gary Clarke, Steve Hill on THE VIRGINIAN, told me that, post-VIRGINIAN, he’d enjoyed working for producer Andrew J. Fenady in his series HONDO, and credited his performance as Captain Richards with, years later, helping him land his role in TOMBSTONE.  But he still had a bone to pick with Fenady.   “He almost ruined my writing career. Because I gave him an outline for a show that I think would have been terrific. I handed it to him. And he took it, and handed it back, and said, ‘Gary, you’re an actor. Act. Let the writers write.’”  Gary was so concerned that he’d be ‘found out’ as an actor that he wrote several episodes of GET SMART under a nom de plume, and even went to the office in disguise.  “I never saw Andy after that, to tell him, so if you see Andy, tell him for me.” 

When I told the creator of THE REBEL and producer of BRANDED and HONDO the story, he was amazed.  “I didn’t mean to discourage Gary.  But everyone in the show was giving me scripts, including Ralph Taeger (Hondo), and we were already full up!  I just wanted him to take it over to BONANZA!”



Those with a hankerin’ for the good ol’ days known as the Great Depression can experience an antique car show, country music, square dancing, food (not much – it is the Depression), historical exhibits of Dust Bowl pictures, artifacts, memorabilia, and tours of Weedpatch Camp, where migrant workers were housed.  At Sunset School.  Learn more at 661-633-1533 x 2105, or visit HERE



Guided walking tour of sites where historical ghosts tell stories of Chumash, pioneers, and eccentrics who once lived in the Valley. Friday-Sunday nights, Strathearn Historical Park. 805-526-66453  Or go HERE .



Wild West entertainment will include stunt ropers, bullwhip demonstrations, roping range, fiddlers, a flea circus, and ‘sidewalk swindlers.’  It’s at the Underwood Family Farms.  805-529-3690 or go HERE .
That's it for this week's Round-up!
Happy Trails,
All Original Contents Copyright October 2012 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved



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