Re-mastering The Virginian

I recently came across this comment by Outlaw Territory writer Skipper Martin on the website.  He has excellent taste!

“Oddly enough, I’m having a new love affair with the western right now thanks to my day job.  I’m currently re-mastering the 1960’s classic “The Virginian” television series starring James Drury at Universal Studios.  I can honestly say I’m now an official fan of the wonderful Doug McClure in his signature role of Trampas.  Truly excellent show!”

Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved.

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)

12 thoughts on “Re-mastering The Virginian”

  1. It is hard to resist Trampas! It was such a great cast, but I have to say Trampas was my favorite. It is nice to see that Mr. Martin sees the same thing so many fans see about Trampas and westerns in general. I just wish that the “powers that be” would recognize that they are totally missing a whole section of loyal viewers when picking out the shows that they put on their channels each year. So much junk in my opinion.

  2. I wish someone would take a gamble on a new Western series in the style of the 1960s shows Mila. I have no interest in the “Deadwood” style of Western. It’s depressing and negative. It’s as far from being “real” as the 1960s shows. The only difference is the classic shows were uplifting. We need to get back to this style of Western – minus the saccharin Hallmark Channel gloss.

    1. More expensive than a sitcom or police show Mila. And you have to find sponsors. TV producers today are running scared. Very few hit shows each new season these days. The biggest hits are on cable. USA Network has one hit show after another. Comcast valued NBC network at $0 a few weeks ago in its takeover bid. The valued assets are the affiliated cable networks.

  3. It’s great that Doug is still garnering new fans nearly 15 years after his death. That, I geuss, is the sign of a real star.

    Westerns were more expensive to make, when you think of it, special sets, costumes, and horses to be fed and stabled. Contemporary shows cans use existing buildings, clothes and cars. Any period piece is going to cost more to make, even if it’s set in the recent 1960’s or 1970’s.

    1. Doug and Trampas combined made for a perfect partnership. But without great writing and characterization Doug wouldn’t have been as effective. Just look at Doug’s later work to see how any actor, no matter how talented, is only as good as the role he’s given. I’ve said this before but the writer is the most under-rated and ignored person in any TV series.

  4. I assume he’s re-mastering the footage for both preservation and broadcast purposes Nicholas. That includes the TV broadcasts on Encore Westerns and DVD releases.
    I’m really pleased to see The Virginian will be preserved for future generations and won’t become a “lost” classic.

  5. I agree with your point about how underestimated writers are on shows like The Virginian, Paul. My one regret is that there wasn’t the sort of script editor we have today who could have monitored the scripts for character consistency and references to earlier significant events, such as the departure of certain key characters.

    Regards, Tony

    1. Yes there was an inconsistency in continuity on many shows from the 1960s Tony. I’m certain the producers and writers had no idea their work would be scrutinized in great detail by fans. Their only hope was for syndication. And even that was limited before cable. There was no way to record episodes apart from the 8mm camera pointed at the TV or the reel-to-reel tape recorder.

      The central theme of Shiloh Ranch had a string of continuity but episodes were mainly meant to be viewed as stand alone stories and continuity of characters (as with Betsy in season one) was ditched when producers changed hands. They weren’t intererested in pleasing a fan community because fan communities and conventions didn’t exist at the time. “Star Trek” introduced the obsessed fan into the mix. :))

  6. If Mr. Martin says he is ‘remastering’ “The Virginian” episodes, are we to conclude that the DVDs will be ready to sell soon?
    This article is December 2009. It’s almost a year later, and all I have is Season One off ‘’.
    I bought a ‘pirated’ set, but a few discs didn’t play, some episodes were omitted, and the final season, “Men From Shiloh” weren’t even included. I’m so anxious to get this program on DVDs.
    Since “Encore Westerns’ is carrying it weekdays, I have realized just what quality the stories, and acting, were. Better than other Westerns of the day. Much higher quality stories and character development than BONANZA.
    I have rekindled my love for Doug McClure, and want the opportunity to have ALL the episodes, in high quality format.

    1. I don’t have specific information on Timeless Media’s plans for future DVD releases of The Virginian Kate. They did state they would release the nine seasons over time so we’ll just have to be patient and hope they continue to release various seasons on a regular basis.

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