It's been a busy month for all The High Chaparral folks, so catch up on what's happening at the ranch in this edition of the newsletter:
- Special message from Kent and Susan McCray
- Payment deadline for The High Chaparral Reunion registrations
- Henry Darrow appears in a new production of My Fair Lady
- Jan Pippins article on Marie Gomez - HC's Perlita, and a vintage reprint featuring Marie.
- Getting to Know You with Susan McCray News.
- Questions and Answers
- Upcoming cast appearances
Remember to watch for The High Chaparral 2009 Reunion News, and make plans to attend!
Meet Kent and Susan McCray (producer and casting for The High Chaparral) at the
2009 High Chaparral Reunion.
Kent and Susan McCray (Producer and Casting on The High Chaparral) send a special welcome message to all Chaparral fans, along with a teasing preview of what we can expect in Tucson!
Kent McCray was the producer for The High Chaparral and knows every detail about the show. Susan Sukman McCray worked in casting and is the daughter of Harry Sukman, who composed most of the HC music themes. She has a unique and detailed perspective on the casting, talent, and behind the scenes stories.
Listen to this personal message from the McCrays, and make your plans to meet Kent and Susan - along with the rest of The High Chaparral cast and crew - at the 2009 Reunion.
Visit The High Chaparral and meet
the stars of the show at the Reunion.
Make your High Chaparral Reunion reservation TODAY and SAVE!
3-day package before July 1: $225
Cost increases on July 1: $300
All other costs increase as well, so be an early bird, plan ahead, and save! For details and to register visit The High Chaparral Reunion website.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Henry Darrow as Alfred P. Doolittle in My Fair Lady
Henry Darrow continues his active career by appearing in the Wilmington, NC Opera House Theater Company production of My Fair Lady. He sings and dances his way into the hearts of the audience as Alfred P. Doolittle - and is receiving standing ovations from the crowd.
To see a short clip of Henry's performance, watch this video from WECT TV6 on the production.
Marie Gomez as Perlita
Smartly dressed, hair neatly coiffed, make-up impeccable and smile dazzling, Marie Gomez looks like a movie-star even when examining papayas at the Farmers’ Market. “I know you’re somebody,” declared the fruit-stand owner. “I know it!”
Warm and funny, Gomez is a very special somebody. Although she portrayed sexy, manipulative Perlita Flores and other women of dubious virtue, Gomez is devoted to friends, family and charity-work. If you can’t imagine Perlita as a staunch Presbyterian who feeds the poor and helps orphans, read on. That’s why it’s called “acting”.
“I was raised in a good Christian family. I believe in God. I go to church,” she says. “My father always told us to help the ones who are less fortunate. He was the best human being I’ve known in my life. He had a great heart for the poor. My mother was like this, too.”
Her father did not want her to become an actress, but she dreamed of Broadway. “When I became of age, I said, Papa, this is what I want. I’m going to New York.”
He replied gently but firmly, “Listen, Marie. You’re a big girl. I cannot stop you, but one thing I’m asking you: Make us look good. Don’t bring shame.”
She lived with her sister while singing and dancing on Broadway, then left New York for Hollywood. First came small parts in films like 1965’s Marriage on the Rocks, in which she met Roberto Contreras. Her break-out role came in 1966 with The Professionals, a critically acclaimed film in the vanguard of new, gritty Westerns. Directed by Academy Award winner Richard Brooks, it starred Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin and Claudia Cardinale. Capable character actors like Contreras had brief, meaty scenes. Relative newcomer Gomez played Chiquita, revolutionary and ex-lover of demolitions expert Bill (Lancaster). Making the movie was grinding hard work. Gomez dug in, passing up parties to rest and prepare for the next day’s shoot. “When a man, an actor, has been out late, drinking too much, he looks bad, they say, what a good actor! When it’s a woman, they say, what happened to her? She looks terrible!”
The Professionals garnered several Oscar nominations and a Golden Globe nomination for Gomez, but more people recognize her for her reoccurring role on The High Chaparral than for her films. Whether in Sweden, Spain or at the local market, Gomez meets fans. People love Perlita, especially men. “Because she is what she is, you accept her or not,” says Gomez. “But she wanted to get married. Perlita loved the clothes. She thinks if she gets married, she’s going to wear that long white dress!”
Marie Gomez as Perlita loses her stolen hat when she causes Manolito to
lose the big race in this scene from Champion of the Western World.
Can't see the videol?
Marie Gomez treasures working on Chaparral, choosing brilliant Champion of the Western World as her favorite episode. It spotlighted Gomez’ comedic flare, but she was initially afraid she couldn’t carry it off. Encouragement came from always-supportive Henry Darrow, who calls her a professional and an instinctive actress. “He said, you can do it. Any emotion, you can do it.” She ad-libbed the stand-out scene where Perlita shows off her new hat to furious Victoria and hat-thief Manolito.
Her heavily ad-libbed scenes with Darrow were great fun, but she enjoyed working with everybody. “I appreciated them very much. Roberto Contreras! Oh, what a funny guy he was!” she says. “Linda Cristal is a very good actress. She does scenes so beautifully. I liked Cameron Mitchell. What a guy! He was a pro.”
Perlita argues with an ailing Buck Cannon in Stinky Flanagan
Can't see the videol?
She remembers Leif Erickson as “always a gentleman”, but not everyone was so restrained. Says Darrow, “Guys were always hitting on her, so she isolated herself.”
“This is my problem in this business, when you have a certain look,” responds Gomez, who refused to do movies with nudity, including one with Gene Hackman and Al Pacino. “People I don’t even know, they say they have dated me, people you would not believe would lie like that.”
Lies are an unpleasant part of show-business and she recalls an incident when she was guest-starring on Chaparral. An early-to-bed, early-riser who had to be on the set at five a.m., she was in her room when a raucous group of non-actors next door disturbed her sleep. Wearing a robe that covered her from neck to toe, she knocked on the door and asked them to be quiet. When the story broke, it said Gomez came to their room in a negligee. “That’s not my style, not me at all!” says appalled Gomez and Darrow agreed. “He said, but I saw you, Marie! With the robe, the high neck!”
“Henry was always very respectful. He is not only a fine actor, he is a man with style,” she says. “As an actor, he is in the same class as Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin. But he has more joy on the screen than they do.”
However, onscreen kisses between Perlita and Manolito, like kissing Burt Lancaster, were just part of the day’s work. “I don’t like it, because you have lots of people looking at you. And it is so professional, that kiss. I don’t feel a thing.”
But Marie Gomez feels deep compassion for the needy. For eleven years, she spearheaded a relief project for Mexican orphans, delivering busloads of food, toys and clothing. Today, she volunteers for The Lord’s Lighthouse of Hollywood Presbyterian Church. As part of this cross-cultural ministry, she commits time each week to serving hot meals, donating clean clothing and providing spiritual support to hundreds of impoverished men, women and children.
When not helping the less fortunate, energetic Gomez is busy acting, socializing with friends and family and exercising to stay fit. As for ambitious Perlita Flores, Gomez believes it’s possible that Perlita became the madam of a successful Tucson bordello, her wardrobes bursting with pretty dresses and hats from Paris.
© Jan Pippins 2009
Perlita, the fairest flower in all of Tucson
Can't see the videol?
Marie Gomez (High Chaparral's Perlita) had "a face for Vogue but a body for Playboy."
Vintage article reprinted from 1966
Put two glamour girls together and you can have big trouble. But Marie Gomez says that she and Claudia Cardinale got along beautifully during the shooting of The Professionals. That's Richard Brooks' big new adventure film, and it may make Marie a big star.
She's an exotically beautiful creature, half-Friench, half-Spanish. "The Marie is French," she says, "so be sure to put down Marie and not Maria."
She used to be a model in New York, but had some problems. She couldn't do high fashion layouts - she wasn't skinny enough. "The photographers used to tease me," she says, in her delicious French accent. "They said I had a face for Vogue but a body for Playboy."
As for her realtionship with Cardinale, Marie shrugs and that's an exciting gesure, because she has a lot to shrug with. "Why should we not get along? There were two girls in the script and she cannot play them both. She is nice - different from Gina Lollobrigida. Once, in Italy, I met Lollobrigida and she gave me a very funny look. I wonder why? I only just met her."
Is it possible to get sheet music for the High Chaparral themes?
There was a music book published in 1970 called The High Chaparral Song Book. It contains piano arrangements for many of The High Chaparral themes - Manolito, All For You (the main theme song), Blue's Theme, Buffalo Soldiers, El Burrito, Friends and Partners, Guns of Johnny Rondo, Montoya, Moonfire, Ridin' the Trail, Victoria. As a bonus there are cast photos and bios of creator and executive producer David Dortort, composer Harry Sukman, musical director David Rose, and Joe Lubin. The music book turns up occasionally on Ebay, so that is your best chance to get sheet music.
Send us YOUR questions! If we don't know the answer we'll ask the right Chaparral contact and find out for you! Email email@example.com with your puzzler.
Can't see the videol?
Visit YouTube to watch the video.
If you're a fan of The High Chaparral, you can't miss this chance to see the actual Cannon ranch house at Old Tucson, and meet the stars who made our favorite western!
Guests who plan to attend include Henry Darrow (Manolito Montoya), Don Collier (Sam Butler), Bob Hoy (Joe Butler), Ted Markland (Reno), Rudy Ramos (Wind), Neil Summers (Stuntman), Kent and Susan McCray (Producer and Casting), Bob Shelton (Creator of Old Tucson Studios), and more.
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Old Tucson Features High Chaparral Reunion
The High Chaparral Reunion 2009 is making news!
Old Tucson Studios, the location for the major reunion event at the Cannon Ranch location set, is promoting the reunion on their website.
See Old Tucson's promotion here.
The Kansas State Teachers College, Pittsburg, KS requested a copy of Susan Sukman McCrays Getting To Know You tribute to Page Cavanaugh. The show, which aired on January 6, 2009, will be placed in the KSTC library archives in a Page Cavanaugh section. Listeners can hear the show at susanmccray.com in the archives.
Getting To Know You with Susan McCray has two upcoming interviews of special interest to the HC generation: Bobby Goldsboro on March 10 and Don Grady on April 7. Getting to Know You airs on KSAV.org:
6:30 p.m. Pacific
9:30 p.m. Eastern
3:30 p.m. Pacific
6:30 p.m. Eastern
Musician, composer, lyricist and performer Bobby Goldsboro recorded a long list of top forty hits including Honey, Watching Scotty Grow, Little Green Apples, Autumn of my Life, and With Pen in Hand. As host of his own television show he developed a loyal fan base that followed his career as a writer of children's books, video producer, television musical director, and painter. Check out his website for examples of his work, greeting cards, and everything Goldsboro.
On Getting to Know You, March 10 on KSAV.org. Or listen in the archives on Susanmccray.com.
As Robby Douglas on the classic television show My Three Sons, Don Grady is a familiar face to baby boomers. He was also a Disney Mouseketer and a serious young actor. But music was his first love and continuing career. His recent CD release, BOOMER, JazRokPop is available on his website, along with sound samples.
On Getting to Know You, April 7 on KSAV.org.
Do you have a suggestion for someone you'd like to hear on GTKY? Send it in to Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or email email@example.com.
Mark Slade in the years after High Chaparral
Do you have a favorite piece of memorabilia, or an article you'd like to share with other fans? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll do our best to add it to a future newsletter.