The Autry National Center : The Virginian TV Series 50th Anniversary 2012

The Virginian Television Series 50th Anniversary
Celebration at the Autry National Center

The Autry National Center in Los Angeles, California and Gene Autry Entertainment will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the ground-breaking western television program The Virginian on Saturday, September 22, 2012. The day’s events include a panel discussion with cast members, episode screenings, autograph session, and more.

The Virginian cast members scheduled to appear are James Drury, Randy Boone, Gary Clarke, Sara Lane, Diane Roter, Roberta Shore and Don Quine.

Owen Wister’s 1902 western novel The Virginian was one of the first great novels of the American West. Set in the semi-mythical town of Medicine Bow, Wyoming in the 1890’s, it chronicled the lives and relationships of the people who came west and settled the wild land. Starring James Drury in the title role, The Virginian was the first 90 minute television western, airing in prime time on NBC from 1962-1971.

Event Details

Saturday, September 22, 2012
10:00AM to 4:00PM

The Autry National Center
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027
www.theautry.org

Autry Museum Members: FREE
Adults: $10
Students with current ID & Seniors (60+): $6
Children (3-12): $4
Children under 3: Free

Free with current ID for active military personnel and veterans, peace officers, and park rangers

Parking: Free

Contact: Maxine Hansen
mhansen@autry.com

The Virginian (2000) starring Bill Pullman

I’ve just watched the TNT production of The Virginian (2000) on the GMC cable network. This is the first time I’ve watched it for many years. I still find it a melancholy, gloomy and slightly depressing film totally lacking in humor or any sense of camaraderie. For those about to watch this film for the first time place everything you love about The Virginian TV series to one side. As we all know the TV show took liberties with Owen Wister’s original novel. Trampas was transformed from being the villain and the Virginian’s love interest Molly sidelined midway through the first season.

The TNT TV Movie is more faithful to Wister’s novel but is deficient in many areas. Bill Pullman is a pleasing Virginian but lacks any sense of being a Southerner. He comes across as an educated northerner despite telling us he’s from Virginia and had little education. James Drury makes a brief token appearance late into the film as “Rider” but is wasted. John Savage has little to do but is effective as the tragic figure of Steve. Trampas isn’t explored in depth and Colm Feore never comes to grips with the character. Diane Lane as Molly Stark gives the standout performance and is one of the few characters who displays warmth and kindness in the hostile environment she reluctantly finds herself a part of.

Filmed in Canada, the overcast leaden skies and Pacific Northwest landscape doubling for Wyoming fails to convince as an authentic Western setting.  I know this film has many fans but I’m not one of them. Mainly because of the inauthentic location work, choppy editing and slow-paced direction by Pullman. Medicine Bow is not the kind of place you’d ever want to visit in Pullman’s vision.