“I’d done some other promotions for other artists during the art festival they had each year, but Doug wanted a 3-day ‘exclusive’ showing set up after the festival had pretty much congested the town with cars and people; he didn’t want that much ‘traffic’, and said he wanted to be able to meet each and every potential buyer.”
Diana Blair kindly included a photo of herself and Doug McClure from the mid-1980s when I received her calendar a few years ago. The color has faded a little over the years but as you can see Doug looked fit and healthy.
Diana was a singer-songwriter friend who published his “art sketches” in calendar form.
Diane Rambow Stevens has kindly sent me this scan of one of Doug McClure’s paintings from her personal collection.
Diane says. “The colors he chose were in the blues and golds / yellows / tans / brown. While his line-drawings are detailed and ‘busy’, his paintings seemed to always be somewhat muted – not bold and splashy by any means.”
When I was a kid watching The Virginian every Friday evening on BBC 1 I have to admit was always a little disappointed when Trampas wasn’t featured in an episode. The Virginian character became more of an authority figure as the seasons progressed while Trampas retained humor. At times the humor became too broad and slapstick when he teamed up with David Hartman but the character was always appealing to me – until The Men From Shiloh all but destroyed his integrity.
So on a personal level Trampas alias Doug McClure was always my favorite character and actor on The Virginian.
In 1985 Diana Blair published a collection of Doug’s line illustrations for a calendar titled “The Singing Cowboys of the Silver Screen.” The calendar features 12 illustrations by Doug accompanied by photographs of screen cowboys, singers and musicians.
Doug’s line art is illustrated in a sketchy line which adds to a dynamic, kinetic effect in the best examples of his work.
After the disastrous Season 4 executive producer Frank Price returned to rescue the show from cancellation. Wholesale changes included a new family at Shiloh Ranch. The Grainger family was headed by veteran actor Charles Bickford alongside two promising actors, Don Quine and Sara Lane. The season was a success and The Virginian survived, beating out the competition in the ratings The Monroes.
Karen Lindsey kindly confirmed this photograph from the 1979 Western reunion show When The West Was Fun. It featured numerous Western stars including Neville Brand, Henry Darrow, Mark Slade, Linda Cristal, Chuck Connors, Clayton Moore and Lee Van Cleef. And most importantly, Doug McClure and James Drury back together again.
I recently came across this interesting photograph of Clu Gulager and Lee J. Cobb chatting on the set of The Virginian. I wish I had discovered this earlier and included it in my book. But here it is – better late than never.
The enigmatic Clu Gulager played Sheriff Emmett Ryker on The Virginian from 1964-1968 but is best known to modern audiences for his role in the cult horror movie The Return of the Living Dead (1985).
Clu Gulager was a temperamental actor during his time with Universal but like may actors with an edge was also one of their best. He always expressed a desire to direct and found acting in television creatively unsatisfying. He got his wish to direct but still continued with his acting career and became a cult favorite of horror fans later in his career.
Fans of The Virginian will always remember him as Ryker. He was one of my favorite characters and his departure in 1968 marked a turning point for the series. He was impossible to replace.
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]