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The Virginian: TV Show Cast of Classic Western Reuniting

The VirginianThough it isn’t remembered by many TV viewers today, The Virginian TV show was one of the most popular Westerns in its day. The NBC series ran for eight seasons, from 1962 until 1970. The characters returned in the 1970-71 season in a different format and the show was renamed The Men from Shiloh.

The Virginian series follows the adventures of a strong-willed man known only as the “Virginian” (James Drury) who works to maintain order on the Shiloh Ranch in Wyoming. Other regular actors during the run of the series include Doug McClure, Lee J. Cobb, John McIntire, Charles Bickford, Stewart Granger, Clu Gulager, Gary Clarke, Randy Boone, and Roberta Shore.

It’s often been remarked that The Virginian had such high production values that each episode looked like a feature film. The 249 installments are 90 minutes apiece and were all shot in color; a rarity for its day.

Now, nearly forty years after the end of the series, members of the cast are reuniting as part of the 10th Annual Saddle Up festival in Pigeon Forge, TN. On Saturday, February 27th, Drury, Clarke, Shore, and Boone will come together for a special three hour event that will include a meet and greet reception, a Q&A session, clips from the series, and autograph sessions.

The event will also mark the release of The Virginian on DVD. The complete first season is being released for the first time on DVD. Episodes have been restored and will be accompanied by special extras. The first season is being released in two ways; in a pair of half-season releases and also in a 10-disc, special collector’s edition tin. Patrons of the festival can be among the first to purchase the DVDs since they won’t be available in regular retail stores until May 25th.

Tickets for the festival are $20 each for adults or $50 for the four day weekend, February 25-28th. Kids under the age of 17 are free. Aside from the reunion, the festival also features Western-themed concerts, shows, poetry readings, and dining. The Virginian castmembers will be attending each day, in addition to the reunion event.

 

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{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandra M. Peterson September 23, 2010 at 8:42 am

Sept. 23,2010 We just read about the Saddle Up Festival and 40-Yr Virginian Reunion. HOW CAN WE PURCHASE A DVD OF THIS 3-HR SPECIAL?????? We hope it is or soon will be available since we had no idea this was happening and wish to own this if at all possible. Every day we watch THE VIRGINIAN on Encore Westerns #305 and love every episode more than the next. Thank you so much. Sandra & Leonard Peterson

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Carlos September 14, 2010 at 3:19 pm

It’s hard to believe watching the Virginian, Doug McClure passed away in 1995. I was about 10 years old in 1965. I remember watching the Virginian, but I don’t remember seeing so many famous actors as guest stars on the show. I guess at that time, many of the actors were just starting their careers. I am glad James Drury is still in the land of the living. His character always had a serious look on his face even with a smile. Trampas was a trickster and he always made me laugh. Lee J. Cobb aka Judge Garth was my favorite owner of Shiloh. I wished Encore would play the Virginian at 8 p.m. nightly 7 days a week. This would give others who work during the day a chance to see this great show. Many of the baber boomers in their 50′s and 60′s still work and haven’t retired.

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Susi September 12, 2010 at 2:10 pm

I bought the complete set of the Virginian and am watching them whenever I have a day off work. Back in the 60′s I had to spend all my time studying for high school trigonometry, so couldn’t watch the show, but vowed to see them someday. When I was at college, my brother phoned me. He was sobbing, with the news that Trampas had died. He was really torn up about it. We grieved together. The show was so intelligently written, thought-provoking, riveting, and humorous. I love James Drury and the other regulars. It is like a modern-day morality play, teaching us the value of love, friendship, honesty, truthfulness, restraint. It was so well produced. They don’t make shows like that anymore. It will be very valuable as a collector’s item, showing life in the late 1800s.

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rick gonder September 8, 2010 at 3:10 pm

The Virginian was a very good show.However what ever happened to all tyhe onwers of shilow?Lee j cobb /charles bickford etc.

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Rick Barr July 30, 2010 at 8:02 am

I just saw the first few episodes of “The Virginian” on satellite and was really taken aback at what a quality show it was and very watchable. I’m 49, and though i do remember it starred Drury and McClure, I didn’t remember much else about it and was pleasantly surprised to see that Lee J. Cobb was one of the stars (in the early years). He is in some of my favorite classic movies (On the Waterfront, 12 angry men, etc) and a great actor. One of the first episodes had Brian Keith and Ben Johnson as guest stars and was excellent. In another one Cobb, as the judge, told a flashback episode concerning a family of troublemakers threatening the judge and the whole town to release their convicted relative from the gallows. This set up a very interesting moral dilemma for the judge as he was determined to see the criminal hanged, yet he is putting the town in great danger. A really good story that plays well and with the production quality of a theatrical movie. I was surprised when i saw it was made in 1962 yet was in color, as most TV shows were still b & w in 1962. Again, really surprisingly good and I agree with other comments about the state of TV shows today (and entertainment in general), total garbage. Oh…and yes, this country is in a horrible state on every concievable level, the only enjoyment I get is thru history and some of the greats of the past when americans had pride and dignity that shined through in the things they created…like the TV show “The Virginian”.

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Jim Brunsvold July 1, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Did Doug McClure do any real cowboy work? I have, and know what its about. He rode like a professional bulldogger, handled a rope as good as any i’ve seen, like he grew up with one in his hand. Riding and roping as well as he did can only be learned from hours & hours of doing it, especially roping, you don’t just pick up a rope and have the ability to handle it with the ease that he did, unless you have roped so much, it’s like an extension of you.

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Carlos May 17, 2010 at 12:05 am

To All:

I was at the Sound Garden, a music and DVD store on last Saturday in Baltimore, Maryland. I asked about the first season of the Virginian. I was told by a Sound Garden employee, the Virginian would be out on May 25, 2010. I look forward in ordering my copy from the Sound Garden on the 25th of May.

Dan I too enjoyed watching Cheyenne staring Clint Walker. Doug McClure was the best in my book and Robert Wolders aka Texas Ranger Erik Hunter from the series Laredo was a close second. LOL I enjoyed Neville Brand aka Reese. I now own season 2 of Laredo staring Robert Wolders. I have to add in the Big Valley. I own season 1 of the Big Valley with Mrs. Victoria Barkley aka Ms. Barbara Stanwyck. Barbara Stanwyck was a true DIVA on the big and small screens. I don’t recall Ms. Stanwyck being in any of the Virginian series. Those were the good old days. I am approaching my 55th birthday and I wish some of these actors were alive today.

Does anyone else find Randy’s (Randy Boone) character to boring?

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Dan Maloney May 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Clint Walker is the best with James Drury a close second.I never missed a Cheyenne episode and seldom a Virginian.If the show looked as though Mr.Drury may be stepping in and out…it bugged me.

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Carlos May 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I agree with you Dot 100%. I look forward in seeing the Virginian daily on Encore Westerns and especially when Trampas is the focus. Trampas character was comedic and he made me laugh. Trampas was masculine, but he also showed his human side many times. I was born in 1955 and I’m approaching my 55th birthday in June. It seems like yesterday I use to sit around watching westerns like the Virginian, Big Valley, Laredo, Bonanza, High Chaparral, and Cheyenne. Watching these old series makes me feel good inside and to forget about the depressing things going on in the United States. Our country is in a mess with liberal progressive policies, political correctness, and the lack of morals. I look forward in joining Doug McClure aka Trampas soon, because it’s depressing to live in today’s society with both the Democrats and Republicans dictating how we should live our life’s.

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Dot Mahaffey May 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Hi all:

I have been meaning to drop by for several weeks but got a bit overwhelmed with projects.

I was able to attend the Spirit of the West festival in Scottsdale, AZ in March and boy oh boy, did I have a great time. There were so many of the Western stars of yesteryear in attendance. Most notably for me was James Drury who is well into his seventies now. He was super gracious and accommodating and I talked him into having a picture taken with me. A true treasure for sure. They set up interview tables for all the celebrities and a moderator asked questions in front of an informal and intimate audience, five celebrities at a time. Some of the stories they had to relate were hysterically funny. Besides James, Bruce Boxleitner, Peter Brown, Robert Fuller, Ty Hardin, Robert Horton, Tommy Kirk, Denny Miller and Clint Walker were in attendance. Clint is in his eighties but getting along quite well I am happy to report. James Drury was presented the Cowboy Spirit Award which was very nice.

I too am lucky to be able to watch the Virginian every day on Encore. The stories, the acting and the morality that was displayed in those wonderful episodes is sorely missed today. And I also, as does Carlos, really bristle at all the so-called reality shows which are nothing more than cheaply produced non-reality shows. I like a good old story, thank you very much.

The Virginian, Laramie, Cheyenne and Wagon Train were my favorites when I was a youngun. They had class, strength, scruples and knew how to stand up for themselves in a righteous way. And no, political correction was not something to worry about then. I do miss them but it has been great to watch them again. I too purchased the Virginian DVD set that is advertised on the net but when I got the discs I found that three were totally blank (15 episodes) and the entire 9th season was missing. Disappointing but I understand that this collection was a compilation built from several fans who have copied them to a VCR from TV so it is understandable that the quality and completeness is not up to snuff. My understanding is that the professionally remastered DVDs will be available for purchase at the retail level sometime this summer. Not all seasons right now but a beginning. Sounds great to me.

Sorry to ramble on so, I’ll try to do better next time. LOL

Dot

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Gabor Szepesi May 8, 2010 at 9:53 am

I ma a big fan of Western movies and TV series. The Virginian as many other so called old TV series had one significant difference to all what we see today: They were humans, with human fellings and emotions, There was no need to overdue the blood presence or the violence. Is always good to read MILD VIOLENCE. Those TV series actaully are timeless. I enjoyed them while a kid and now at 61 years Film and video producer.

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Carlos May 2, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Correction:

I was born in NYC and I enjoyed watching the Virginian as a child. My favorite character was Trampas. I didn’t like Randy’s character. The character was boring! I watch the Virginian daily on Encore thru my Comcast cable company. I wished the Virginian was showed daily on Encore Westerns. I recently caught an episode of the Virginian on the IFC cable channel at night. I miss Doug McClure, and he passed away too early in life. My other favorite character was Deputy Sheriff Ryker. Those were the good old days in my life watching television growing up. It would be nice to see a new western series today on television, but I don’t think it will be like the westerns in the past. Most programs today on television is garbage. I hate all these darn reality shows, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Gossip Girl, etc. Laredo was another western I enjoyed watching as a child. Several of the actors in Laredo were guest stars on the Virginian. I purchased the 2nd season on Laredo last year on DVD. I am considering purchasing the Virginian as part of my special old school collection.

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Carlos April 18, 2010 at 10:24 pm

I was born in 1955 in NYC and I enjoyed watching the Virginia as a boy. My favorite character was Trampass. I didn’t like Randy. He was boring. I watch the Virginian everyday on Encore thru my Comcast cable company. I wished the Virginian on everyday more than once on Encore. I caught an eposide of the Virginian on IFC a cable channel at night last week. I miss Doug McClure and he passed away to early in life. Those were the good old days watching television. Most stuff on television today is garbage. I hate all these darn reality shows, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars.

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Frank Fiumano April 6, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Did “The Virginian” character have a first name. We have purchased the entire series, and have viewed almost all of it and no first name. It was extremely noticable in the episode where he almost marries, but his intended dies at the wedding rehearsal.

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admin April 6, 2010 at 1:51 pm

@Frank Fiumano: Nope. As far as I know, they never revealed it. Unless it was “The.” lol

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marianne denning May 4, 2010 at 1:32 pm

nope, they never said his name…

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bruce April 6, 2010 at 8:34 am

I liked Gary Clarke too.I wonder why he was written out of the show.

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