Doug McClure as Trampas


Trampas-1  This is my favorite photograph of Doug McClure as Trampas. It was the first color photo I ever saw of Trampas as a kid in the BBC Radio Times. I envied anyone who owned a color television.

Trampas was also my favorite character on “The Virginian.” A natural athlete with plenty of charm. It was a pleasure to speak with his daughter Tane and ex-wives BarBara Luna and Diane McClure for my book. It’s just a pity I didn’t start my book some years ago when Doug was still alive.

[Since my move to America I spell the American way. You must respect the culture of the country you live in. 🙂 Thanks to Barbara Townsend for the photo]

Author: PGreen

Published work in U.S.A. for McFarland & Co. Inc. : A History of Television’s The Virginian 1962-1971 (2006, 2009 Softcover edition) Pete Duel : A Biography (2007, 2009 Large Print edition; Kindle edition) Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns (2009) Jennifer Jones : Life and Films (2011)

51 thoughts on “Doug McClure as Trampas”

  1. Yes Paul
    Its nostalgic to look back. I remember as a child my envy of the first family with the first color T.V. In the street.
    If memory serves correct (I was born in 63) we only had 3 Channels BBC1 & 2 and Itv.(I remember Captain Scarlett , Champion the Wonder Horse, Time Tunnel & lost in Space, Georgie Best football show and Follyfoot.)
    It was as a teenager in the 1970s I learnt that it was in the 1960s the Beatles declared “THAT ALL WE NEED IS LOVE”
    Where did it all go wrong. I wouldnt expect anyone today to envy me if I had 1000 channels with a wide screen 44 inch T.V. But I now understand what “Bowie” meant when he wrote “LIFE ON MARS.”

  2. More is often less Michael. Quality is what really counts. I have approx. 100 channels with DirecTV but the majority are infomercials or shopping channels. Nobody told us the airwaves would be hijacked by advertisers when cable began. It would be 100 channels of choice. We were all so naive to actually believe this could ever happen.

  3. Hi Paul
    Yes indeed I am very interested on the effect that T.V. shows and commercials have on our lifes-
    I am of the opinion that the real question is to quantify that effect and how and why specific aspects of television effect us in certain ways.
    I am sure that moral appeals from concerned citizens (parents) will not influence the T.V. industry to reduce the amount of violence and sex on T.V. The bottom line is profits actually determine what programmes and commercials are shown on T.V-
    So advertising is so powerful that it is responsible for the state of our entertainment and for much of the ills in our society. It is a great shame that in seeming to entertain us T.V. in a very real sense has left its audience lonley and rejected and suffering psychological damage as its viewers fail to live up to the unreal definitions of masculinity / femininity on the T.V. screen.

  4. Yes Michael. TV shows are often nothing more than commercials for their sponsors. The bottom line is always profitability. It is a business. Creativity and artistic achievement are often secondary. That is why a successful formula is repeated time and again. Who dictates all the CSI and Law & Order clones? The sponsors. They see an easy formula for making money and selling their products.

    The public does have some power in this mix. They can decide not to watch these shows. But they don’t. Dissecting corpses for entertainment appears to be popular. Not with me.

  5. Hi, Paul, This is my favourite pic of Doug,too, and from the same source, as I mentioned recently on The Irish Virginian forum. I saw the Radio Times article before I saw the show in color. In your blog, you mention speaking to his ex-wives BarBara Luna and Diane McClure for your book, although Doug did have an ex-wife named Diane (No 4), Diane Furnberg was still his wife at the time of his death. I just wanted to clear that up in case anyone thought he was divorced from her , too!

  6. Good point Nic. I should have made that clearer in my comment. It’s all explained clearer in my book of course.

  7. I had the good fortunate to promote some of Doug’s art after he spent a number of months recovering from his drug addiction in Arizona.

    During his recovery, he took up painting and sketching; I still have 3 originals – one was a gift from him as a ‘thank you’ for the work I did on his behalf, to let the public know what a fine artist he’d become in such a short time.

    We had dinner with a number of his friends; his wife (Diane), and we both chuckled about the fact my name is also Diane.

    I was saddened to see him look so happy and healthy such a short time before the cancer took hold, and grabbed him up quickly.

    Doug did admit he’d quit his heavy drinking and use of drugs; however, he claimed he still had to rely on his ‘smokes’ because he used them as a calmative.

    A very kind and wonderful man; great actor – super out-going, and decent to everyone.

  8. Thanks for posting Diane. I own a copy of Doug’s art calendar that a good friend of mine named Barbara Townsend bought from you as a gift.
    I talked with Diane for my book and she also mentioned she owns many pieces of Doug’s artwork. Which you know already of course. :))

  9. Hi – I thought I’d mention that I have the original painting Doug did as a ‘self-portrait’ of him sitting astride a horse.

    I could take a photograph of it, and send it to you for your collection if I had an e-mail that accommodates a reply and the photograph.

    I have a very large on he did – it’s him (although not a 100% self-likeness) on a horse – twirling his rope over his head; he said it was ‘him in spirit’, but he didn’t try to recreate it as a self-portrait as he did on the one that definitely shows him looking straight ahead; the big smile and bright white teeth that always were his trademark (to me, anyway).

    I’ll have to search the web to see if there are any of those calendars for sale; didn’t get one of those, and would love to see one. Regards, Diane

  10. Hi, Diane,
    Thanks so much for this insight into Doug, his art and how it helped him recover from his drink and drug problems. I think his drug addiction was confined to prescription medication, pain killers for his bad back, at least that’s what I’ve read, rather than “hard” drugs. When he was making At The Earth’s Core, he asked for a bar in his dressing room,meaning an exercise bar for his back, and they put a mini-bar in, probably having heard of his drinking!

    It is nice to hear another testimonial of what a great guy he was, he was my hero when I was 10, and has lived up to that hero worship, according to everything I have read about. No one has anything bad to say about him and he had nothing bad to say about any body, I try to be like that.

    I would love to get one of those calendars or the book Barbara Townsend has, with some of Doug’s paintings, the only example I have of his art is a little caricature he did of himself on BBC Radio in 1974 which was reproduced in a book on handwriting analysis. One of his paintings is in The Essex House Hotel in New York, mentioned in the Warren Beatty movie, Love Affair. Also interesting to read that Doug didn’t quit smoking altogether, just like his friend James Drury.

  11. Thanks so much, Paul, I got that. I think the date is 1985 on the drawing. I started an oil painting of Doug, from that Radio Times photo we talked about, about 40 years ago, and as I’m getting back into art, I might try and finish it or start a new one. When Diane sends you that self portrait of Doug,maybe you could put it up here, if Diane doesn’t mind, so we could see it. It’s a pity Doug didn’t take up Yoga instead of smoking, it has a very calming effect.

  12. Hi, again, Paul,
    I’ve just remembered that the photos of Doug and Jim in The Radio Times were NOT the first colour ones I saw, that photo of them with Lee J. Cobb on the banner of The Irish Virginam Forum, used in The RTE Guide last year and, of course on the cover of the soft cover edition of your book was in “Western Stars of Television and Film”, published by Purnell in 1967, just inside the cover. I took it out at the time to put in my scrapbook of Doug and the book is in sad state of repair now! That was a couple of years before The Radio Times Article in 1970.

  13. I’ll be posting the painting of Doug on his horse later today or tomorrow Nicholas. Diane has kindly given me permission.

  14. Thanks, Paul and Diane, I look forward to seeing it. I’m writing some biographical notes on Doug for The Irish Forum as a couple of fans there have asked about him.


    1. Hi Ann : Thanks for posting. Glad you enjoy the site. 🙂 To answer your question Trampas’ Christian name is never mentioned in the series. We do learn his father was named Frank Trampas. When I spoke with executive producer Frank Price for my book he told me Frank Trampas was named after him. 🙂

  16. On her website, Barbara Townsend gives a good explanation of the origins of the name Trampas. It comes from the Spanish for trap, Trampa, which can also mean “cheat” and Owen Wister choose this name for his villain (As he was in the book) to indicate his character. There are people with the christian name Trampas, thre’s one on Doug’s Facebook page whose second name is Trampas. The Virginian was unusual in having two major characters who didn’t have a proper name, one know only from the state he came from the other by his surname. Apparently Paladin in Have Gun, Will Travel had a secret name, too, that wasn’t revealed.

  17. Thanks so much for all you do. I am a huge fan of Doug McClure as I grew up watching the Virginian. He was my favorite actor. It seems that Doug was quite gifted in just about anything he wanted to do. I haven’t seen the calendar – is there anyway to purchase one. I would love to see his artwork. It’s such a great expression of one’s self. Doug just seemed to have such a great personality – I wish I could have met him. I understand the guys did some rodeos back when the show was airing. It would have been tremendous to have been there. I love the North American Championship Rodeo that comes to Louisville, Kentucky each year. I wouldn’t miss it. Thanks again for everything!

    1. Hi Sandy

      Thanks for your kind comments. Diana Blair is the lady to contact for any calendar or artwork sales. Her contact details are on the site. I don’t know if you’ve read my book but Randy Boone talks about his experiences with Doug McClure at rodeo events in the 1960s. It’s quite amusing.

  18. Did Doug McClure make a commerial for Zest Soap? I seem to remember it, but my husband thinks I’m wrong. Please help me

  19. In one of the episodes Trampas says he is as Furry as a Ring Tail (oval) (not sure what he says). This statement is used in advertising the show everyday on the Western Channel. Does anyone know what animal? he is talking about?

    1. The whole phrase may be: “I’m as curly as a ring tail oval ~ my night to howl!”

      Not sure if “furry” is what he is saying ~ his mouth does not appear to form an “F.” it could be “Curly” as a reference to an “American Curl,” a cat whose ears are pointed towards the back and possibly to Doug’s curly hair. Dunno.

      Johnny Pal, Virginian fan (also Cheyenne, Gunsmoke and Paladin). Hawwwwww!

    2. Good lord, I wish someone knew what Trampas is really saying! I agree with Glenda, they run this soundbyte ALL the time and it’s driving me crazy not getting the line. It certainly sounds like “curly ring-tailed oval” – but that makes no sense. The episode the clip was taken from was on recently and I STILL couldn’t figure out the phrase even in context. Can’t someone here shed a little additional light on this?

      1. El Lobo is the nickname for the Mexican wolf. And wolves howl. But wolves don’t have curly ring tails. The American Curl can have a ring tail but it originated as early as 1981. So I can say for certain Trampas isn’t talking about an American Curl. The howling wolf seems the most likely answer but it’s still only a guess.

  20. I am a long-time ‘Virginian’ fan and am enjoying the episodes daily on Encore Westerns. The theme music is among the best in TV history. I found this site while reading about Doug McClure on the internet. He is missed. I like seeing James Drury in his interview segments on Encore Westerns. Such a kind and intelligent man. I wanted to reply to the question about ‘Trampas’ and what he is saying in his exuberance and throwing of his hat while among his friends. “I’m a furry ring-tailed lobo and it’s my night to howl”. I smile every time I hear that, and I like saying it, too!

  21. I just stumbled upon this site and glad I did…loved those early tv westerns…as to Paul G doing a painting of Doug on his horse-where was it posted…would love to see it.

    1. You can find the painting Doug did (I’ve sent Paul two of them) in earlier posts on this same blog.

      Both paintings are very nice and I think Paul has posted some of Doug’s sketches as well – just go through all the posts from the last 6 to 8 months and you’ll find them.

  22. I’ve just up loaded scans of a sketch and a painting from this photo, Paul, along with some others, to my Facebook art work album. Brad, one of the Memphis Posse, put up a sketch, too. I also started an album of Doug’s art work using some of his paintings from here, I hope it was alright to share them with his fans there.

    1. Diana Blair and Diane own the original paintings and sketches so it’s up to them if they’re okay with it Nic. Always ask the owners before you share items on this site kindly donated by others. Thanks. :))

  23. It’s fine by me, Nic, anxious to see your collection. Diane

    Note to Paul: Thank you for mentioning the importance of getting permission before posting pictures on FB. I know FB has rules about it as well as there is always a certain courtesy involved too.

    I have another picture that belongs to a friend of mine – I’ll mention the idea of that painting being added to Nic’s collection and if I get the okay, I’ll let Nic know directly on his FB page. Diane

    1. Yes I know Nic means well so there’s no problem but I have had my copyrighted Diane Roter bio placed on Wikipedia without my permission and without any mention of me being the original author or a link to this site.
      This happens far too often on the internet and a site such as Wikipedia should know copyright law.

  24. I’m sorry, Paul, I should have asked, I also put up Cheryl’s paintings, I geuss I assumed because they had put them here, I could share them with other fans. I have asked Janet and Virginie on the Irish Forum for permission to use their photos and given them full credit as I did with the paintings. I mentioned I got Diane’s and Cheryl’s paintings from here.

    The Diana Blair ones were ones she E-Mailed me when I was buying some and the ones that I bought, but I did what she did and put a strip of paper across them so they can’t be copied. I will add her contact address for people who want to but them.

    I would like to put some of yours in my album, Paul, especially the one of Doug, if you could E-Mail them to me.

    My apologies once again to all concerned ,

  25. i really miss him but i still him heres a potet in honor
    some of the actors are a fail but most are epic
    people miss the dead ones like Doug McClur
    people worrie about the old wise alive ones like James Drury
    When people that love Doug heard of the big death they cried and cried and cried and cried
    But we will be there someday someday not today
    by me To honor Doug McClure T-T i miss him

  26. I especially love two episodes of The Virginian. The first is when Trampas planned to marry a woman who had a crush on him when she was younger. The actress who portrayed his love interest is Belinda Montgomery. Trampas is such a gentleman as he asks to borrow money from Mr. Grainger so that he could build a home for his future bride.

    The other episode features Trampas, The Virginian, and Steve helping a single woman who is caring for foster children. The three men showed their innocence and tenderness as they listened to the woman as she read a passage from Oliver Twist. It was refreshing to see these tough cowboys captivated by the story. When the woman concluded her reading, sweet Trampas asked The Virginian, who had previously read the novel, what happened to Oliver.

    These episodes exemplify the love and warmth that all of us should strive to project onto others.

  27. Thanks for your comments Gail. The character of Trampas was uplifting in many ways. Helped by Doug McClure’s fine performances of course. 🙂

  28. I just watched the episode where Trampas is helping return two kids (one was Clark Howard)to their mom in Laramie. He meets up with a woman (played by Dita Talbot) who helps him and travels to Laramie with him. They end up falling in love and he is supposed to come back for her. Apparently the show didn’t pursue that. Ms. Talbot was beautiful and they seem to have had great chemistry.

    1. Just to correct a few typos melmoo – it’s Clint Howard and Nita Talbot. Yes I agree, it’s a pity their close relationship wasn’t pursued in any future episodes – but back in the 1960s episodes tended to stand alone and not be continued. They seemed like a good match.

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