On May 15, 1967, the Universal Studios backlot caught fire resulting in roughly $1 million worth of damage. Denver Street (Medicine Bow) was one of the sets destroyed in the fire. It was rebuilt to enable filming on “The Virginian” and other Universal TV series and films to continue without major disruption. (UPI photo)
The iconic Shiloh Ranch set was built in 1962, specifically for “The Virginian” TV series. A few years earlier the same location (minus Shiloh Ranch) was used in the final scenes of “Spartacus” (1960) where Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) was crucified along with many of his followers.
Happy birthday to James Drury who is 84 today. His talent continues to shine through the years.
The locations used in “The Virginian” are always of interest to viewers. One particular set was used frequently in Universal TV Westerns in the 1960s and early 1970s. The waterfall set was often used as a backdrop. Originally built in the 1920s the “Falls Lake” set remained intact until 1980 when it was re-modeled in a large construction project. The ground level was raised considerably.
“The Virginian” is 55 today. It was first broadcast on NBC September 19, 1962 where it was promoted as the first 90 minute TV Western (length before adverts approx. 74 min.). A testament to its lasting quality is the fact the show is still in syndication today.
Starting September 30 at 2 P.M EST the cable station INSP will start broadcasting “The Virginian: The Men From Shiloh.” This was the final, revamped season of “The Virginian.” Sadly for fans of the first eight seasons INSP will no longer be broadcasting “The Virginian.” The contract has run out. “The Men From Shiloh” was something of a departure, with Trampas and the Virginian no longer wearing their regular costumes and most of the stories taking place away from Shiloh Ranch. The only episode featuring Trampas and the Virginian together at Shiloh Ranch was the first episode of the season.
For those who aren’t aware James Drury and his wife live in Houston, Texas. The devastating floods over the weekend have left thousands of people homeless in the area. Mr. Drury’s home is above the flood level and he and his wife are safe.