The High Chaparral

The 2005 Reunion Brunch

Sunday Brunch:
The highlight of the reunion, of course, was the Sunday Brunch, which got underway at 10AM with the last guests not leaving until after 3PM.  With even more guests than the 2003 Reunion, we packed the banquet room.  There was so much socializing among the guests and the fans that eating was definitely not a very high a priority for many attendees.  The program included the presentation of awards to David Dortort from the Governor of California, the Governor of Arizona, and the California State Senate.  After the awards we watched the updated version of Charlotte's slideshow tribute, then assembled the guests for a discussion panel and photos.  Then back to more socializing with guests and fans who lingered long past the normal time frame for a brunch. 

Ginny greets early arrivals

Don and Vickie

Jimmy Victor and Malachi Throne

Press Release


Fans of The High Chaparral honor TV series pioneer, David Dortort


STUDIO CITY, CA -- Executive producer and TV series creator David Dortort, along with the cast and crew of the highly-acclaimed NBC Western The High Chaparral, gathered to meet on Aug. 21 with their long-loyal fans in a reunion almost 35 years after the last episode was aired.


The Reunion was unanimously declared a success by the guests who attended.  Cast   members Don Collier, Bob Hoy, and Rudy Ramos were among those who swapped stories with fans. Also in attendance were guest stars Maria Gomez, Malachi Throne, Warren Stevens, Gregory Walcott, BarBara Luna and Morgan Woodward. The production side of the show was represented by production manager Kent McCray and his wife, casting director Susan Sukman McCray, stuntmen Alex Sharp, Jack Williams and Neil Summers, cameramen Wallace Johnson and Don Whaley, and soundman Bill Wistrom.


Organizers, cast   members and fans from around the globe are looking forward to the issue of the ground-breaking show on DVD, although a release date has not yet been named. Fan-driven support   to expedite the release includes an on-line petition and write-in campaign.


Dortort received special honors for the occasion. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, and California State Senators Sheila Kuehl and Jim Battin, all sent official certificates and commendations recognizing the contributions Dortort has made to the television industry.


Originally broadcast from 1968 to 1971, The High Chaparral told the story of the Cannon family, carving out a life in the wild Arizona Territory of the 1870s. Created and produced by Dortort of the famed TV classic, Bonanza, the High Chaparral brought the rich history of the Southwest to life.


He reached out to under-represented communities by casting American Indians to portray Indians, and Latinos to play Mexicans. Dortort recognized the contributions of both American Indians and Mexicans to the history of the American West, and for the first time in a western television series, presented North American audiences with more than a one-sided approach to these groups.


Dortort, a long-time resident of southern California with Rose, his wife of sixty-five years, said, “…we can enjoy these wonderful Reunions many years in the future …The High Chaparral alive in the hearts and souls of people all over the world.”

Morgan Woodward and friends

Alex and Bob


Carol Anne's Reunion Notes

    Wow, it was wonderful.  Still drinking it all in!  So many people were there who helped make our show special.  It was just amazing to see how well they all got along, still, and how glad they were to see each other.  Their camaraderie showed how well they worked together back in the day, and how well it showed through the excellent show that we came to love in the 60's and will never forget!

    Don started off the free for all panel discussion (we started with a couple of written down questions, but almost immediately just let them run with it!) with a hysterical story about how, back in those days, his and Bob's drink of choice was "BOOZE".  He told how once they were drinking in the bar in Tucson after work and David Dortort walked in, so Bob told the waitress in a loud voice, "I'll have ANOTHER Coke, please!" ,and Don hollered out, "Me, too!", and then they both yawned and exclaimed how tired they were and that they should get to bed because they had a long day of filming ahead of them the next day. So they went off in opposite directions, then Don peaked around a corner, to see Bob giving him the thumbs up/all clear sign, meaning Mr. Dortort had left the bar and that they could get back to drinking again!  What made him tell this story was the beautiful cut glass bowl that was presented to the Dortorts for their 65th wedding anniversary present from their HC fans.  Don said that bowl would've made a good "shot glass" for Bob back in those days!!!

Carol Anne


Andy and Charlotte

Rudy, Don, and Bob

Bryan Boggs and Carol Anne

Carol Anne Continues . . .

    Oh, Speaking of BarBara Luna....she could only stay for the first part, as she was going to attend James Doohan's memorial service. Gosh she's still so gorgeous - there ought'a be a law!   She was wearing the pin from that alternative universe ep of Classic Trek that she was in - remember, the earth with a sword going through it?  But she had it on upside down in memory of James Doohan.  Anyway, I told her I recognized the pin, and she said, I'm going there this afternoon.  And I said, to the alternate universe?  And she laughed and said, wait, isn't THIS the alternate universe?  (Sorry, I guess if you don't know that Trek ep you won't get the joke, I'm sorry, not trying to leave anyone out.)

    Anyway, we broke after brunch and Charlotte's AMAZING DVD tribute presentation to "wash hands" and get dessert before the panel discussion began.  When we were ready to start up again, BarBara grabbed all the HC cast and crew members and lined them up for a group photo, which she really wanted taken before she had to leave.  And thank goodness she did, because It was like herding cats!    BarBara yelled out, "Okay, I'm directing here, now let's move it!"  This was after I said (on mike), "I was just telling Mr. Walcott here that, for a bunch of actors, y'all sure don't take direction very well!"  That got a good laugh.  And Gregory Walcott told me it was because they were all "so ornery"!

    More to come, as it settles in and I settle down....suffice it to say, it was WONDERFUL.  I'm already saving for two years from now!!!

Carol Anne

Bob Boggs and his fiance with Wally Johnson

Rob Mitchell

Mickie, Carol Anne and Mary Ann
Vickie's Reunion Notes

    Yes, I too am trying to come back to earth after one enormously special weekend.  And it is getting late, and I do have to get back to work tomorrow so I need to try and hold back from saying everything tonight.

    I got there Friday afternoon, met up with the some of the HCers on the cafe patio.  They promptly took off for different parts of town, Nebraska Cathy, (who didn't bring my Wimmers sausage), and her sister Nancy, aka Sharon, took off for Malibu.  Bonnie and Elsa went looking for the ocean, any ocean, Elsa had never seen one.  John and Denise Lynch and Jackie took off for Bronson Canyon/Caves, nice pics, John.  And Vickie...well, I headed to the pool bar for a red eye, here's to ya girls who couldn't make it, bottoms up!

    As I lounged around the pool on the lookout for actors, Jackie finally came back and said the party's at the Lynch estate, I mean room.  They were now back and ready for action, I mean laughing and eating, and eating and laughing, oh, can't forget drinking.  Folks came and went and finally we resorted to searching for Linda Cristal and sundry others on Zaba Search, Denise's secret search engine, oops no longer a secret, that one. Oh well.  When Andy entered the room we even searched him out on Zaba, I think we actually scared him a little to see his name come up, and listed several times!   

    Next day was Saturday and off I went to the Terrace Room for coffee and crumpets and well, whatever else we had to eat.  We started up those treasured eps of HC and we were all in hog heaven from that point on.  We all contributed on own asides as the action unfolded on screen.

    Forgot to mention the marquee out front of the hotel said Welcome High Chaparral.  Now that was too cool.  I don't remember that from 2003.  The jewelry stand in the hotel even welcomed us with a sign that read, High Chaparral Reunion 20% off.  Again, too cool!  Anyway, now we get to Sunday and off I go to the Reunion Brunch.  Everything was set up so nicely, hats off, except Carol Anne's of course, to all those responsible for that end, you did a good job girls!

    Mary Ann and I were lounging out front when Andy led Malachi Throne and wife and Morgan Woodward and companion up the walkway towards us.  Again too cool!  We were introduced and they headed inside, we quickly followed.  Gradually the rest of our guests came in and the love fest was officially started.  Author/stuntman Neil Summers, I love his books, was at the table I picked.  He was the perfect gentleman and pulled out my chair for me.  When I spotted David Dortort I hugged him and got a bonus kiss.  That man is so sweet!

    Other observations...Don Collier is a large man, Bob Hoy, a much smaller man, can't tell on camera though.  Nice to see both of Haskell Boggs' grandsons this time and Rob MItchell, Cameron Mitchell's grandson.  Marie Gomez (Perlita) was a character, very much like, well, Perlita.  Had a short chat with BarBara Luna - now I know what you guys were referring to when I heard that pin mentioned.  I mentioned how we didn't enjoy Into The West, he was in complete agreement with our comments, as was Neil Summers.  In fact Neil said we did this several years ago much better, it was called Centennial. Got to meet the first singing Black cowboy of the movies, Herb Jeffries riding a different kind of horse now, a motorized scooter, his was a hand I just had to shake, a true western pioneer of the genre, again way cool! 

    Spent a lot of time talking with Wind, Rudy Ramos, and he is just as nice as his emails, and looks very nice also!  He was the new kid on the block at 20 years and just starting his career and Henry and Cam made him pay his way with the many jokes they pulled on him.  He commented I guess they must have liked me pretty well.  I said it was lucky you were such a good sport.  He mentioned on the panel he would have payed them to work on Chaparral it meant so much to him.  He said the bunkhouse boys taught him to drink and Cam taught him how to gamble on the greyhounds in Nogales.  What a way to break into the business!  He was completely shocked and humbled to discover our group and to find out just how deeply we care about our show and each other.  It pretty much floored him and I know whenever he finally did leave the Brunch he must of had a smile a mile wide on his face.

    And on that note, I think I will head for the barn.  And once again, thanks so much to all of you involved with making this happen.  The Reunion version 2, could not have been better!


Charlotte and Rudy

Rob and Mary Ann

Herb Jeffries and Vickie

Thank-you Note from Rudy Ramos


Thank you so much for the pictures and the DVD's. I'm sorry I didn't get back to you right away to let you know they arrived. October has been very busy up to this point but now it has mellowed and I am getting to things I should have already gotten to. Also I have to say again, how much fun Kathy and I had at the reunion. Your "party" was so well organized and the people who came from all over just blew me away. Honestly Charlotte, I had no idea about THC site, or that there was ANY interest in "Wind" or me. You and your team brought it all together and I am very grateful for the opportunity to have seen old friends. I am also grateful for the opportunity to have made new friends and that would include you. Stay in touch when your time permits and I will keep you posted when I am doing something new. Thanks again and hugs and pats on the back to everyone who made this "SPECIAL" day happen!


Denise and Rudy

David Dortort

Kat, Marce, and Mary Ann
Thank-you Note from Malachi Throne

My dear Charlotte

  I must apologize for not contacting you sooner but Marjorie and I left LA almost immediately after the High Chaps reunion, for our vacation in Alaska----and we have just returned this evening---having had a wonderful time.  I know I said I would call you in the AM for Breakfast but It got too late to  make it as we had to run---so here is what I wanted to say----It was lovely meeting you and  sharing that time  together---and I thank you for all your attention with regard to the reunion---I hope to continue our contact even if it is via this machine.

Best regards


Bill Wistrom, Wally Johnson, Susan and Kent McCray, Greg Walcott, Don Collier, Bob Hoy,
Alex Sharp, Malachi Throne, Marie Gomez, Jack Williams

    Thank-you Note from Don, Bob, and Rudy

    DON COLLIER, BOB HOY AND RUDY RAMOS send thanks and Kudos for the extraordinary "High Chaparral Reunion" on Sunday Aug.21,'05. At Sportsmen's Lodge, Studio City, CA. The friendship and love which was exhibited on that special day was a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the High Chaparral Fan club. Denise Billen-Mejia was the driving force behind the whole Day. And we thank  her!!!

    The Oregon Mayor Charlotte Lehan put together the fabulous slide show. There were various shots of Cast members in scenes from the long ago.  Also included were slides of all the Guest Stars who appeared on the HC.  It also included a Pictorial Tribute to Cast Members and Guest Stars who have since passed away.  The accompanying musical score for the tribute, "The High Chaparral Suite" was written by Academy Award Winner Harry Sukman.  It made a tear come to the eye!! Thank you Charlotte !!

    We also thank Carol Anne Gordon for keeping the program on track and moving along.  To Denise and John Lynch thanks for the HC hand made signs. 
Let it be known that Bob & Don appreciate Ginny Shook's special contributions to their web sites. She keeps them in the know.      

    To all members of the club who helped make the REUNION such a great success!!!


    Love to all....Don, Bob and Rudy

Rusty, Denise, and Ariel

Greg and Don

Morgan and Malachi

Thank-you Note from BarBara Luna

Hello Ladies:

 I just have to begin by saying how very wonderful all of you are. Your devotion and commitment to High chaparral is so very loving, so touching and dear. It was difficult for me to leave when I did because I really wanted to soak up more of the wonderful feelings in the room but, when duty calls we must obey.

I love that you always include the guests of H C and hopefully next year you will be able to round up more of the actors, I can help if you like.

Thank you for the DVD's of shows I appeared in, and the fun gifts. Charlotte the DVD you made will always be treasured.  I have some photos to transfer, soon as I do they will be sent to you.
Jimmy had a great time too, he was fascinated!

Forever grateful.
Love hugs 'n mwaaaaaa,


Rusty and Jackie

Kat and Marce

Don and Chris
    Ginny's Reunion Notes

    I got back home Sunday evening but my head was still swimming from this most wonderful experience so I decided not to post right away - otherwise I would have started writing and gone on forever. I can say now that this was one of the most special experiences of my life. The Sunday event was kind of like being at a family reunion; everyone was so warm and friendly and I can't remember when I've been kissed and hugged so much! It was great to see how happy the cast and crew were to see each other, and how happy they were to meet their fans, who they obviously consider their friends.

    The first highlight of the weekend for me was Saturday when Don Collier called me from Bob Hoy's car on their way from Bob picking up his "brother" at the airport. They wanted to stop off at the hotel to meet me! We only had a short visit as the two old friends were anxious to spend time together but it meant more to me than I can say. Then at the Sunday brunch they made sure I was at their table, though they wanted to sit with just about everyone in the room! They introduced me to many of the HC guests I didn't know and when they said that I did their websites I got many kudos. I don't think my feet touched the ground at all on Sunday.

    Before I continue with more reminisces, let me just give my thanks to Denise, Charlotte, Carol Ann, Denise and John, Marian, and everyone who worked so hard to make the Reunion the success it was. I just don't think it could have been any better (well, maybe some more of us fans...) It was a pleasure to spend time with all of you. I loved having names to go with the HCDG faces.

    Okay, here's a story from Don. Bob made some joke about being Don/Sam's younger brother (you know that Bob is really older than Don) and Don said, "You know, Joe ended up being my younger brother because of a mistake I made." In the first episode, when Buck goes into Tucson looking for ranch hands, the first glimpse we have of our boys is Buck and Joe having a glorious fist fight in the saloon. It is only after Joe ends up in a heap on the floor that Buck and Sam introduce themselves. "And this," says Sam, pouring a beer over the form we can't see, "is what's left of my kid brother, Joe."  There was no "kid" in the script and Don said it just kind of came out. When the scene was done he told the director he had made a mistake and asked if they could do it again but the director declined. And the rest is history. From the look on Bob's face, I think he didn't mind being the younger brother one bit.



Rudy, Jackie, and Kathy

Don and Marian

Ariel and Don
 Ginny Continues . . .

    I just can't sign off for the night without mentioning that Rudy was the warmest, nicest man. I introduced myself - he and I have been e-mailing back and forth for a while, as I'm trying to help him get his credits up to date on the IMDB and get some links for his website, stuff like that. I got a big hug; I'm sure it was the same for all us HCDGers - like we were just the most important person he could hope to meet. With so many people in the room I didn't expect him to remember me later but he called me by name many times (oh so good for the ego). He stayed at the brunch long after the others had left. I just had to tell him - and I don't know where I got the nerve to make such a personal remark - that the head shot on his website does not do him
justice.  And then I got another hug. He is one handsome man.


Gathering for the Photo 

Getting organized

?, Don and Marie

Notes from Reunion Organizer, Denise hcs

    Hello All:
    It was wonderful!.  I haven't done my sums yet but I believe we had over the 64, yes 64 expected party.  This means 18 HC Fans and 46 ++ guests. Some of the 'showbiz' connections were really impressive and there is a lot of encouragement from the NBC representative that they will release The High Chaparral before they invent something to replace DVD.

Denise with Greg Walcott
and BarBara Luna.

So many people congratulated us on the event (and loved Carol Anne's hat) it's certainly going to happen again, so start saving now.
Denise hcs
PS: BarBara Luna already emailed me to thank us all, and she's joining the invitation committee for next time (as is Marie Gomez).
    Forgot to mention Ginny managed to collect 4 certificates of recognition in honor of David Dortort and THC.  Two State Senators for California, the Governor of California and the Governor of Arizona, which was the one that thanked The High Chaparral specifically. 
    Let's give a round of applause for Ginny's presentations, Denise Lynch's table decorations, including the really cool gate signs with "High Chaparral" burned into them (lots of guests hid them under their bandanas to take home which was funny since they were gifts), Carol Anne's MC performance and hat, a fashion followed by several guests I might add, and Charlotte's much lauded DVD slide/music production which made quite a few cry.
Marie Gomez still looks like "Perlita" and Rudy Ramos was sweet and introduced himself as "I'm Rudy Ramos, I played Wind in the 4th season." 
Denise hcs

The Butler Boys

Don and Bob

Always entertaining as a comedic duo, it's sometimes
tough to tell who is supposed to be the straight man
and who's the comic relief.

    When Don got passed the microphone he opened his mouth but Bob leaned over and said loudly, "Is this going to be a long story, Don?"

Don Collier:
    I'm what's left of Don Collier. I had, I believe, three favorite days on High Chaparral. I went and did some other stuff but I had three favorite days on High Chaparral. The day I got hired. Fridays was the day we got paid. And when we got down to Tucson, the first day we got down there,  Kent McCray would give us our per diem. And that was my three favorite days. 
Bob Hoy:
I'm Bob Hoy. You know, we haven't talked of the women on the show. Linda Cristal would be ready - she'd get up, she'd suit up, she'd put on those damn hot dresses, she'd be out there, 110 degrees with her makeup on, everyday.  She never complained for four years. And she did the job. We never saw her blow lines. There was a thought process at work. She really was the darling of our show – just a great gal.

And our crew was the best. The reason our crew was the best was because of (Kent) McCray. McCray knew the guys, he'd been there, he'd hire them. And if anyone screwed around, screwed up – he was looking for a guy once; a grip. And he said, "Bobby have you seen – I can't think of the guy's name – well, he was hung over and he was in my dressing room getting cool – anyway, Kent gave everyone a second shot and if they screwed up again then they just kind of went home.

And David gave me the break on Chaparral. Called me in his office – I'll never forget – I got there on a Friday, he said "I'd like you to meet Mr. such and such, NBC Chicago, NBC New York , NBC Miami" and I'm shaking their hands and I'm going to myself, "what the hell has in got me in here for, I'm a stuntman?" But he saw some work I did from what they told me and everything was great. And David said, "Well, what do you think, Bob? I want to put you in the cast" and I said "What time Monday?" and he said, "No, no, no, it will be six or seven weeks from now." Anyway, he is a hell of a man, a hell of a skipper, and I was glad to be aboard. 

Reunion 2005 Page Three - Awards and Wrap-Up

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