Second hour: Author Paul Green helps Ed revisit the life and career of Pete Duel, the star of Alias Smith and Jones who took his life on Dec. 30, 1971, at the height of his television celebrity. Paul recently updated his book Pete Duel: A Biography with new information from not only Duel’s family and friends, but the many fans who have kept the memory of Duel alive, more than four decades after his death. Also in this hour: Tony and Donna remember the thirty-fifth anniversary of the death of John Lennon, while Ed plays an excerpt from his December 2010 conversation with Keith Eliot Greenberg, author of Dec. 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died.
I’m happy to announce my Roy Huggins book was published on Friday January 24. You can order it from my publisher McFarland & Co. with immediate effect or if you want an author signed copy please contact me. Amazon and Barnes & Noble online stores also have my book in stock.
A chapter on Huggins’ involvement in the first season of The Virginian is included with comments from executive producer Frank Price and director Richard L. Bare.
Huggins’ daughter Katherine Crawford, well known to fans of The Virginian, has also contributed to my book.
Great news for The Virginian fans in America. Cable network INSP will be broadcasting The Virginian starting September 22. Scheduled for broadcast over over a three year period the show will initially be part of the Saddle-Up Saturday line-up.
The Virginian premiered Wednesday September 19, 1962 on NBC at 7:30 PM so the INSP broadcast marks 50 years and three days since viewers were first introduced to the occupants of Shiloh Ranch.
Joining The Virginian will be another fan favorite and one of the best TV Westerns of the late 1960s The High Chaparral.
Late last year I was very pleased to learn that cable station INSP were broadcasting all four seasons of The Big Valley (1965-69). As a long time fan of the show and its wonderful theme music I began watching episodes and became a fan all over again. Wonderful location photography, fine acting and thoughtful scripts plus some fine work from The Virginian’s L. Q. Jones who appeared in five episodes.
Of course the Barkley family was the backbone of the show. Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Long, Lee Majors (The Men From Shiloh), Linda Evans and Peter Breck as Nick Barkley. The hot tempered member of the family always ready for a fight but also willing to listen to reason. He was a sucker for a pretty girl and more often than not they led him into trouble. The romantic life of a TV Western character was never easy. Breck’s strong personality and personal integrity shone through the character of Nick Barkley. You symapthized with him. He stood up for himself and his family and wouldn’t tolerate fools gladly.
Peter Breck guest starred with James Drury in an episode of Black Saddle (1959) and also appeared in The Virginian episode “Rope of Lies” (2:25) and The Men From Shiloh episode “Hannah” (9:13). James Drury has recorded a wonderful tribute to Peter Breck which you can view on Peter Breck’s official website.
After watching The Big Valley re-reuns it was my intention to begin work on a book on the series. I contacted Peter Breck’s wife before his sad passing. She told me the company who owns the rights are very protective of their property and charge high fees for permission to publish photographs from the show. So I placed my project on hold. I would love to write a book on the series but for now fans can watch the TV show on DVD and INSP weekdays (three episodes per day).
Although Peter Breck is no longer here with us in the flesh his spirit lives on in his fine screen performances. Rest in Peace.
Director Charles S. Dubin passed away September 5 of natural causes at his Brentwood, California home. He directed seven episodes of The Virginian from season 4 through season 7 but is perhaps best known for directing over 40 episodes of M*A*S*H. Brooklyn born Dubin also directed many popular TV shows including Hawaii Five-O, The Defenders, The Big Valley, The Rockford Files and Murder, She Wrote.
The Virginian Season One opening credits complete with the introductory NBC animated peacock logo.