Sunday, January 24, 2016


ROUND-UP FOR 1-24-2016

Not the regular Round-up today.  I’ve gone to every second Sunday, so the next one will be January 31st.  Today’s entry is an open letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and I’m running it here because this is the only soapbox that I’ve got.

January 24th, 2016

Dear Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences,

In a rush to rectify what many see as an injustice in awards nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences appears to be on the verge of perpetrating a much greater injustice upon its own members.  Along with the perfectly reasonable goals of greater inclusion, it has been suggested that Academy Members who have not been active in the film business in a decade should lose their voting rights.

To disenfranchise the very people who built this industry and art because of their age would be horrendously cruel and unfair.  The Academy is an honor society for the most accomplished and respected members of the film business.  Their work has been judged to withstand the test of time, which means almost by definition that its age-range will skew older.  It is not a union, which would have a legitimate concern whether those voting on contracts are in fact currently employed. 

I am not an Academy member, but I have known many over the years, quite a few of them in their eighties, and I have always marveled at their dedication.  Many of them plan much of their lives around viewing the hundreds of movies that are required to be seen if they are to cast their votes in good conscience.  I can think of no more conscientious and fair-minded a group.  I cannot count the number of times a member has told me that, while they disapprove of everything a given filmmaker stands for, they are still voting for them because of the quality of their work. 

And on a practical note, remember too that these retired or semi-retired Academy members are the ones who have the time to watch all of the films.

If you agree with me, please share this message as widely as possible.  As I am not an Academy member, I don’t have access to their membership lists.  If you are an Academy member, of if you know any, please be sure to share it with them.  And please feel free to add your name.

Much obliged,

Henry C. Parke

Please comment on Facebook, and on Twitter using #OscarSoAgeist

Wednesday, January 20, 2016



4-Oscar-winner BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID (1969) will be showing in 650 theatres across the nation, on Wednesday, January 20th.  This event comes to you from the fine folks at Fathom Events, TCM, and 20th Century Fox, and is the kick-off for a year of national screenings of classic movies.  If you’re a Round-up Facebook follower, you’ll know that I gave away two sets of tickets to a pair of readers who successfully answered the following:

Two classic Westerns, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and THE WILD BUNCH, were released in 1969, and both told the story of the same group of men.  One actor was in both films.  Who?  Did you know the answer was Strother Martin? 

Strother Martin in BUTCH CASSIDY

BUTCH won Best Original Screenplay, William Goldman; Best Cinematography, Conrad Hall; Best Score, Burt Bacharach; Best Song, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, for ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.

There are two shows on Wednesday, at 2 pm and 7 pm. THIS LINK will take you to the official Fathom site, with all of the theatres listed by city, and you can buy tickets there as well! 

Peter Duel & Ben Murphy in the...uh...
derivative ALIAS SMITH & JONES 

I saw the movie on Sunday, and was struck by how beautiful Conrad Hall’s photography is, and how many things I saw on the big screen that were lost on television.  I went home and watched, of all things, the pilot TV movie for a series that was an homage – or shameless rip-off – of BUTCH CASSIDY, ALIAS SMITH AND JONES.  And now we’re getting pretty obscure, but for no prize at all, what actor is in both BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, and the TV movie ALIAS SMITH AND JONES?  Familiar character actor Charles Dierkop, who plays Flat Nose Curry in BUTCH, and an outlaw named Shields in SMITH. 

Charles Dierkop

I guess next I’ll be re-watching BLACKTHORN (2011), starring Sam Shepard as an aging Butch Cassidy, living in Bolivia, and wanting to go home. 


Clu Gulager in THE TALL MAN

At noon on Wednesday, January 20th, the first WORD ON WESTERNS luncheon at the Autry for 2016 will feature three very interesting gentlemen discussing their Western-making memories:  CLU GULAGER, who starred as Billy the Kid in the series THE TALL MAN (see it Saturdays on getTV) and Sheriff Ryker in THE VIRGINIAN (see it on INSP).

Bruce Davison & Burt Lancaster in ULZANA'S RAID

BRUCE DAVISON, (who to me will always be WILLARD, the kid who sic’d the rats on Ernest Borgnine), who starred with Burt Lancaster in ULZANA’S RAID, and just completed a new Western, ANY BULLET WILL DO.

And PHILIP PROCTOR, founding member of the brilliant comedy troupe THE FIRESIGN THEATRE, who also co-wrote ZACHARIAH, The First Electric Western!  It should be a great show – get there early, buy your lunch and snag a seat!


March 17th through the 20th, Old Tucson Studios, the original home of the HIGH CHAPARRAL series, where the ranch-house still proudly stands, will be the site of the HIGH CHAPARRAL REUNION 2016!  Coming back to their old galloping-grounds will be series stars Don Collier, Rudy Ramos and BarBara Luna.  They’ll be joined by a posse of stars from other Western series, including Robert Fuller from LARAMIE and WAGON TRAIN, Darby Hinton from DANIEL BOONE and the recent TEXAS RISING, Roberta Shore from THE VIRGINIAN, frequent John Wayne co-star Eddie Falkner, and Stan Ivar from LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE.  Also on-board are HIGH CHAPARRAL producers Kent and Susan McCray, and writers and historians Boyd Magers, Charlie LeSueur, Neil Summers, and Joel McCrea’s son Wyatt McCrea. 

The packages vary from a bare-bones $30-per-day deal to $475 with all the trimmings.  To take your pick and make your reservations, check out the official site HERE.

And here’s something special for all HIGH CHAPARRAL fans, and it’s free!  Last year the Reunion inaugurated a live Webcast of the event.  It was not cheap, but it was very entertaining and informative.  HIGH CHAPARRAL REUNION Top Hand Penny McQueen has decided that this year’s Webcast will be FREE!  You’ll be able to watch it HERE starting March 17th


It’s been a rough week for passings.  About 100 days after the death of Kevin Corcoran, the Disney child star who will forever be remembered as Moochie; and as Arliss, the younger brother in OLD YELLER, his sister Noreen Corcoran died.  Known best for starring in the series BACHELOR FATHER, Noreen also appeared in episodes of ADVENTURES OF KIT CARSON, RIN TIN TIN, GUNSMOKE, and her last onscreen appearance was in an episode of THE BIG VALLEY. 

Rocker David Bowie, who starred in one spaghetti western, GUNSLINGER’S REVENGE, died, as did screen-villain Alan Rickman, who made one very memorable Western appearance, opposite Tom Sellick in the Aussie-oater QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER.

The loss that hit Western fans the hardest, of course, was Dan Haggerty, the screen’s Grizzly Adams.  A big bear of a man with a manly, handsome face, irresistible grin, and a wreath of hair, Haggerty was mostly seen in biker films until 1974, when he was cast as the 19th century mountain man and animal trainer.  That tiny, outdoor picture, shot without synchronized sound, became an astonishing hit due to the charm and talents of Haggerty.  Made for a reported $140,000 (and I suspect a lot less) it would take in $45,000,000 (the franchise, including the TV series, would gross $140 million), and create the ‘wilderness family’ western subgenre. 

Haggerty would go on to star as the title pioneer in THE ADVENTURES OF FRONTIER FREMONT (1976), play Grizzly Adams in several other films, and make many other film and TV appearances, in big roles and small.  He also lent his baritone voice to many cartoon characters.  Among his better later performances was as the trading-post operator in CHEYENNE WARRIOR (1994). 

A few months ago I wrote an article for TRUE WEST MAGAZINE about the ten best Mountain Man movies, anticipating THE REVENANT, and sought out Haggerty.  He had recently been diagnosed with cancer, and when I reached him by phone, he was in the hospital.  I apologized, and almost hung up, but he wanted to talk, and we did for a few minutes, about the movies, the character, and even more about the historical Adams.  Then he had to go for an MRI.  He asked me to call him back the next morning to continue the interview, but when I did, he had lost his voice.  We said we’d try again in a couple of weeks, and I tried, but it never worked out.  The last thing he said to me in our interview was, “Thanks for remembering me.”  I will.


Okay, she returns in spirit. On January 31, at 1:00 PM, experience Helen Hunt Jackson’s January 23, 1882 visit to Rancho Camulos which inspired her to include this vestige of the Californio lifestyle as one of the settings for her novel Ramona. Re-enactors will engage and delight you as they portray this event which forever changed the peaceful life at Rancho Camulos. “A Women with a Mission”, a presentation on the life of HHJ by author Patricia Clark Doerner will follow the reenactment.
The museum is located on Highway 126, 10 miles west of the I-5 freeway near Piru. Details at (805) 521-1501,, or

Also, docent-led tours are available Sundays at 1, 2, and 3 and by appointment.  See the “Home of Ramona” including the 1853 adobe, 1867 chapel and winery, 1930 schoolhouse, and beautiful grounds.  View the 1910 silent film “Ramona” starring Mary Pickford that was filmed on location at Rancho Camulos. The suggested donation for the tours is $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for children over 5.  Entrance to the non-profit museum which is on private property is only allowed with a docent escort.  Check the website before going in case of closures due to weather or special activities. The museum is located on Highway 126, 10 miles west of the I-5 freeway near Piru. INFO: (805) 521-1501,, or


I’m sorry for the lengthy delay of the Round-up, but I’ve got a great excuse!  Over the past couple of weeks, both for The Round-up and True West, I’ve been conducting a slew of interviews with personnel involved in several up-coming Westerns.  I’ve been talking to stars, writers, directors and producers of THE KEEPING ROOM, FORSAKEN, and THE PRICE OF DEATH.  But best of all, I’ve had the chance to speak at considerable length with a pair of icons of the genre, and personal heroes of mine, THE VIRGINIAN’s James Drury, and LONESOME DOVE’s Robert Duvall!  Doing it right takes a lot of time to prepare, and a lot of time to transcribe.  You’ll be seeing the results soon, and I’ll bet you’ll say it was worth the wait!



One of the true joys of writing the Round-up is the knowledge that it’s read in over one hundred countries across the globe.  It’s always fun to check and see who is reading, and what posts are the most popular.  Generally I’m read more in the United States than anywhere else, with other English-speaking countries usually next in numbers, often followed by Germany or France.  The remarkable pattern of the past couple of months is that the Round-up is often read by greater numbers in Russia than in the U.S.!   I’m delighted to have found such a large following in Russia, and I would love to know what about the Round-up appeals to them.  If you are a Russian Round-up Reader, I’d be grateful if you took a minute to leave a comment about it.  Of course I’m very eager to hear from any and all of my readers everywhere!

Happy Trails,


All Original Contents Copyright January 2014 by Henry C. Parke – All Rights Reserved