Allen D. Hiott recently contacted me with the following information:
Doug McClure singed an original water color of himself on horseback with the Mesa Verde Mountains in the background and gave to my dad Ben Young who was friends with Doug. My dad did some construction work on Doug’s home in California back in 1991 which is the date he signed and gave to my dad on the back of the painting. My dad was also a small time actor back then and he became friends with Doug and his wife Diane. I can only assume that this water color was a gift between friends at that time. The front of the painting also has his signature dated 1988. I would love for someone that is a collector in the western art world to possibly buy it.
My dad passed away in 2010 and I required the painting at that point in time.
If anyone is interested in purchasing this original art from Allen please e-mail him at Allen.D.Hiott@Williams.com
RLJ Entertainment are preparing a June 3rd release of Barbary Coast on DVD! This 4-disc set with English subtitles will be priced at $59.99 SRP. The short-lived series from 1975 had 14 episodes, which included appearances by Michael Ansara, Lynda Day George, John Vernon, Bill Bixby, Pat Hingle, Lance LeGault, James Cromwell, Marcy Lafferty (Shatner’s wife at the time), Joan Van Ark, William Daniels, Francine York, Martin E. Brooks, Joseph Campanella, Tige Andrews, Severn Darden, Gretchen Corbett, Bernard Fox, John Dehner, and Judy Strangis. Package art isn’t available yet, but here’s the studio description of the title:
Golden Globe winner William Shatner (Star Trek, Boston Legal) is Jeff Cable, an undercover agent patrolling the wild streets of 1880s San Francisco. Filled with casinos and saloons, this bustling slice of post-Gold Rush California runs on corruption, greed, and violence. And it’s Agent Cable’s job to crack down on the numerous criminals who have made a home there. Even top public officials can’t be trusted, so Cable weaves elaborate ruses to uncover the Barbary Coast’s many plots.
He also relies on the slick but beleaguered Cash Conover (Doug McClure, The Virginian), proprietor of the Golden Gate Casino. Conover reluctantly puts his business and well-being on the line for Cable time and again. The charismatic pair often find the cards stacked against them, but that doesn’t stop them from having a rollicking good time as they police a town mired in vigilante justice. Also starring Richard Kiel (The Spy Who Loved Me), this Emmy-nominated series is a playful take on traditional Westerns with a terrific cast.
From host Ed Robertson: “The Virginian, a show that still has a very strong following today, particularly among female viewers. The third-longest running Western on television (nine seasons, second only to Gunsmoke and Bonanza), The Virginian was also the first 90-minute Western series produced for network television. My book A History of Television’s The Virginian: 1962-1971 not only features interviews with many of the actors and behind-the-scenes personnel of The Virginian, but shows how the series helped paved the way for the made-for-TV movie, while also playing an important role in the career of Roy Huggins.”
Pre-dating The Quest by one year was another failed TV Western series featuring a star of The Virginian. Barbary Coast (1975) was set among San Francisco’s Barbary Coast in the 1880s. Doug McClure played casino owner Cash Conover, friend to undercover federal agent and master of disguise Jeff Cable (William Shatner).
Unlike Matheson and Russell who complimented each other on The Quest Doug McClure and William Shatner lacked chemistry and the show soon found itself losing viewers. A clumsy mix of The Wild Wild West and Mission Impossible, Barbary Coast was yet another victim of early cancellation with only 14 episodes completed.
It might not be common knowledge but Doug McClure and Michael Landon were good friends dating back to their early days on The Virginian and Bonanza. Both were born within a year of each other and receiving their big breaks on TV Westerns. Landon spoke affectionately of Doug McClure in the late 1980s and Doug returned the favor in an interview in 1990.
“Doug has always been one of the really nice people in the business. He was always like a kid,” Landon told freelance writer Tom Ito.
Doug told Ito, “The spirit of our friendship during those early years, I think, was the living of our dreams… there was a sense of friendly competition in the way that we were trying to do the best we could being Little Joe or Trampas.”
Sadly they would both succumb to cancer at a relatively young age. Micheal Landon in 1991 and Doug McClure in 1995.
As I was writing this post I learned of the death of Bonanza creator and producer David Dortort on September 5 at the age of 93.
Quotes are from Conversations With Michael Landon by Tom Ito. Copyright Contemporary Books, Chicago 1995.
Diana Blair has a new Doug McClure art print for sale. This print is taken from Doug’s original sketch from 1985. It replaces the old # 6 print which is currently unavailable. The size of the print is 8.5 x 11.5 on 90 lb paper at $25.00 each. Shipping is $6.00 within the USA. The strip of paper on the scan isn’t part of the original artwork but has been placed there for copyright purposes.
In response to questions I’ve received I am not personally involved in the production or selling of these prints so please contact Diana direct at : firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Diana Blair kindly sent me this photograph of herself recording a duet with Doug McClure. The song “One Too Many Times” was written by Diana and can be found on her compilation CD that can be ordered direct from Diana for $15.00 plus $5.00 shipping and handling at email@example.com
Tracks : One Too Many Times (duet with Doug McClure), I’m Pretending, I’m the Girl. Happy (duet with Jim Dale), Look At Me Now, Do I Hafta Say Please?, Lucky For Me, Out in the Parking Lot, Telephone Blues, Angel, Ole Cowboy We Miss You (with Aaron Mesa)
I thought I’d share with you some of my thoughts on the people I interviewed for my book. Personalities stand out immediately when you conduct interviews. James Drury is a commanding personality who speaks with great authority and care for his choice of words. Gary Clarke is a great storyteller and a funny guy. Roberta Shore still has the girlish charm that made her so memorable as Betsy. Randy Boone was one of my favorite interview subjects. Genuinely down-to-earth and humble about his achievements. Sara Lane is an enthusiastic, upbeat lady who I loved to interview.
The most knowledgable person I interviewed was without doubt Frank Price. He knows more about The Virginian than anyone alive today, having written the original format for the show and serving as executive producer. He literally gave me months of his time and many rare behind the scenes photographs for my book. His wife, former actress Katherine Crawford was also extremely helpful. She provided the story behind her on set friction with James Drury on “Felicity’s Spring” and working with Doug McClure.
It was obvious Tane McClure had great love and affection for her father Doug as she told me she was looking at his framed photograph on her desk as I interviewed her. Tane also kindly provided family photographs. I attempted to capture the personality of the people I interview by presenting my interviews in a Q&A format. I hope it worked.
After my book was published a few people stand out in my memory. I’ll always remember my wife telling me James Drury was on the phone as I came from our mailbox. He told me how much he enjoyed my book. I thought it very kind of him to take the trouble to call me personally. Another pleasant surprise was receiving a handwritten letter from Randy Boone saying that he actually appreciated The Virginian more after reading my book. I’ve posted the reaction of The Virginian cast and producers in my Reviews section.
Of course there were people who didn’t respond to my attempts to interview them. That is always out of the control of any author. Timing is a factor. People may be unavailable because of work or family commitments or they simply might not wish to talk. I was able to contact Sara Lane with weeks left on my deadline. So I am always extremely thankful for the people who agree to be interviewed on any of my projects.
Writing my book on The Virginian television series was not only a challenge, but also very rewarding on a personal level in that I got to speak with many of my favorite actors, actresses and producers about my favorite television Western series. Back when I was watching The Virginian every Friday night on BBC 1 I never imagined I would one day speak with the cast and producers and write a history of the show.