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 Posted:   Oct 15, 2008 - 9:24 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

2. Forty Rifles.

After the high-octane introductory dramatics of the Pilot, we always felt the Powers That Were made a serious strategic mistake in not capitalizing and consolidating the seeds already planted and harvesting them for optimum effect immediately (they didn't do that till the one after this).

When Nick's Civil War Commander shows up (accidentally-On-His-Own-Purpose), he deliberately starts sowing dissension among the Barkley ranch hands towards Heath.

This surly agitator is played by one of the stalwarts of the era where dependable intelligent character actors are concerned - the always watchable Andrew Duggan.

This one sorta sets the future pedigree for a lot of what follows in that the story is set-up at the beginning and the remainder is on Lee Majors's more-than-capable shoulders to pull off.

Which he does in his own effectively direct, take no prisoners - and especially no b.s. - manner ... wink

 Posted:   Oct 15, 2008 - 10:53 AM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

This surly agitator is played by one of the stalwarts of the era where dependable intelligent character actors are concerned - the always watchable Andrew Duggan.

Andrew Duggan I have an extra appreciation for because of a non-film role of his. From 1975 to 1993, it was his voice that came from the audio-animatronic narrator of the "General Electric Carousel Of Progress" at Walt Disney World, guiding viewers on a tour through the century of all the great advancements in technology and progress (his vocal tracks replaced the original narration from when the Carousel was at the New York World's Fair in 1964-65, and then at Disneyland from 1967-73). Andrew even got to sing the program's theme song composed by the Sherman brothers "Now Is The Time!"

Duggan's "voice of authority" fit well with the program, and I've never cared for the current narration in the show at Disney World which features the late Jean Shepherd in the role of narrator/father, chiefly because whereas Duggan was a voice of authority talking confidently about the virtues of progress, Shepherd gives voice to a passive doofus not always aware of what's going on (this is in keeping with how so much of Disney World today has changed for the worse over the last fifteen years).

Duggan also played Dwight D. Eisenhower twice, first in the miniseries "Backstairs At The White House" and in one of his final roles, the 1987 cable movie "J. Edgar Hoover."

 Posted:   Nov 3, 2008 - 11:19 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

Much obliged for the info, Eric, as we weren't aware Mr. Duggan's repertoire extended beyond his always-anchored performances. As to that, he was also particularly effective (in a loony kinda schizoid way considering his character) via "In Like Flint" as the President who wasn't (see the flick for full details).

Actually, the whole conceit is a delicious set-up for the scene where James Coburn delivers the film's most memorable line (we won't spoil it for those still blissfully unaware of the context but we'll give you a clue: it profoundly foreshadows - nay, presciently predicts - Ronald Reagan!).

Which has absolutely ZIP (no -adeedooda! big grin) with our beautifully battlin' Barkleys,

who will return anon, we promise ... wink

 Posted:   Nov 3, 2008 - 6:49 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

Yes, neo, I know the joke you mean. smile

Although Andrew's voice no longer can be heard at the Carousel Of Progress, his version does live on through the wonder of home video shot before the 1993 makeover.

 Posted:   Nov 10, 2008 - 8:30 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

3. Boots with My Father's Name.

After the diversionary sidetrip comprising the second ep, the show regained its striking footing with this thoroughly engrossing tale as an anguished Victoria journeys to Heath's birth place to try and ascertain whether her husband truly loved her - or Heath's mother.

With a taut and touching teleplay by Mel Goldberg and firmly focused direction from Joseph H. Lewis, the stage was set for an equally noteworthy outing with the spitfire substance that was Stanwyck, to say nothing of some of Majors' most sincere and subtle work as well.

Guest-stars are Jeanne Cooper

and John Anderson

as Heath's conniving relatives (with Cooper especially a fine foil and match for Victoria]. This was the first of several appearances both made in the series along with Beah Richards

(tho the always-authoritative Miss Richards is the only one to play the same character - Hannah, Heath's pseudo-guardian when he was young and still-protective friend of his late mother).

The final sequence as Victoria and Heath approach Tom Barkley's statue in the square - embodied and beautifully embolded by George Duning's inspirational music -

is an early highlight not to be forgotten ... smile

 Posted:   Nov 10, 2008 - 8:53 AM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

At the risk of staying with the theme of voice work for the Disney park attractions, neo, I can't help but on the heels of Andrew Duggan also note the similar contribution of the aforementioned John Anderson. Even though he passed away a decade ago, his voice can still be heard in EPCOT's "American Adventure" attraction as the voice of the Audio-Animatronic Mark Twain who co-hosts the program with Ben Franklin (Anderson also does FDR in the Great Depression segment of the program, which is appropriate since he was FDR in the "Backstairs At The White House" miniseries where Andrew Duggan was Dwight Eisenhower).

 Posted:   Nov 10, 2008 - 9:34 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

Not at all, Encyclopedic One - always feel welcome and foundationally free to add your intriquing observations and anchored facts.

Mr. Anderson had one of the richest and most deeply dramatic voices ever, so learning of other vistas that took advantage (and enlarged the exposure of) his virtue is quite nice to know.

Matter of fact, his next visit in the Valley (as Matt Bendell) is even more impressive than his conscience-tortured appearance in "Boots".

frown Sad to hear he expired;

the gent had a long and graceful career ...

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2008 - 7:43 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

4. Young Marauders.

The delicious, ever-delectable Miss Evans didn’t have as much opportunity to shine during Season One as her more accomplished actoral compadres, yet when called upon she did deliver more than the sumptuous window-dressing she so effortlessly excelled at. This ep wasn’t one of ‘em, tho but it provided some interesting conflicts when Audra is rescued by a mysterious man (Sean Garrison) who turns out to be ramroding a deadly gang of mustang rustlers in the Valley.

The core sequence is when he’s invited to the Barkley ranch and her suspicious big-brothers (especially wonderfully hot-headed Nick) accost the guy in front of their sister’s horrified gaze.

Natch, it doesn’t end well and she’s left to nurse her heart’s wounds which ( being a Barkley) she takes a brave ride alone out into the country - to boldly take on whatever awaits whenever it comes

with spirit unbowed and unbroken ... wink

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2008 - 8:36 AM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

That "Dynasty" era poster certainly shows how Linda was among those who hit their peak when they reached the big 4-0! (joining the likes of Stefanie Powers etc.)

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2008 - 11:26 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

Among Others, HooRaq Department:

among august Others ... wink

 Posted:   Dec 16, 2008 - 11:49 AM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

Many thanks for the wonderful Xmas present, Neo. smile (Will try to reciprocate in due course)

 Posted:   Jan 21, 2009 - 7:07 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

5. The Odyssey of Jubal Tanner.

One of the traits that thoroughly distinguished this series is its format could accommodate intriquing dissections on the grand issues of morality and character as well as family ties that break and bind whether of ancestry or anchored commitment.

This particular ep spotlighted all those aspects as an old friend - Jubal Tanner – returns to lay claim to a parcel of land that was put aside for him by Victoria and her husband many years ago.

Now, as you might anticipate, this unexpectedly tricky piece of info proves a sticky current conflict ‘cause the land sits smack on top of where Jarrod’s spearheading the Valley’s resolve to erect a much needed dam there. All his legal wiles bear no frustrated fruit when he tries to persuade Jubal and his mother to consider another parcel of land (which, later in the episode, he learns precisely why that patch of ground is so profoundly personal for both Jubal and Victoria)

Mr. O’Connell is appropriately feisty and resolute in not backing down an inch in his emotional resolve to claim what’s his no matter the bullying tactics of townspeople who think they can intimidate him or drive him out and away.

As previously alluded, although the acting on this show is uniformly impressive across the thespian board, it approaches Master Class Artistry whenever the always-superlative Stanwyck is magnificently matched by

– and this installment offers pretty much our favorite between the two (tho when Jarrod gets married some episodes on, those encounters are pretty memorable, too).

It takes place midway in the show when, despondent and at his wits end trying to juggle the competing desires and obligations of the Valley he represents vis-a-vis the family he’s a permanent responsible part of, he’s in the family study contemplating what course of action he’ll ultimately take.

(Here's where Paul Savage's niftily nuanced and maturely balanced script really excels).

His mother joins him, aware of the conflict confounding him; the resulting dialogue is marvelous at revealing the understanding give and empathetic take between them (both as actors and characters) as she doesn’t try to change his mind or get him to see another side: instead, she simply - sagely - offers examples of what course Conscience can take.

The key is when she reminds him of her husband (and his father)’s seemingly futile fight against the railroad that led to his death. [ "There are those who believe your father’s principles killed him. Well, he was a man who would rather die for a Principle … than live without one.” ]

Having previously quoted from Thoreau about the rights of the individual, this final proclamation of perception from Victoria ignites an illuminated wisdom inside Jarrod.

We won’t spoil what happens from that point on; suffice to say, this sparkling sequence is why Mr. Long is one of the most definitive and influential actors in our own acting evolution.

Y'know, movies have arrogantly (and presumptiously) pre-empted the idea of Great Actors, as if only within that medium can such sterling examples exist. Well, here’s a faithful flash for such a nitwit notion: Television is every inch the equal of either Film or Theatre in that regard.

Richard Long (like Robert Culp) is example A

on that Extolled List of Excellence

 Posted:   Mar 16, 2009 - 1:07 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

What’s a Real (not neurotically unreel) Professional Department:

“People keep asking me what’s the difference between doing pictures and TV, and I really can’t see any difference. You’re making film. The techniques are exactly the same. In television, you work a little harder and faster, that’s all.

"… ‘They’ want action shows and have a theory that women don’t do action. The fact is, I’m the best action actress in the world. I can do horse drags and jump off buildings, and I have the scars to prove it.”

As Virgil W. Vogel (who directed her in 45 episodes – she appeared in all but 7 of the show’s entire 112 segments – and of whom she said “knew as much about making Westerns as the old master, John Ford”) noted: “No physical action ever frightened Barbara. She has as much courage as any person I have ever known. She also had great confidence. I would give her all the protection possible. I checked each stunt carefully, but in her extreme dedication to her work she always gave a little more than she was instructed to. If I asked her to jump eight feet, she would do ten.”

THAT’S the definition of an admired (and admiring) Pro smile

not petulant non-existent “perfectionism” by musical divas (no matter how titanically talented) roll eyes

 Posted:   Mar 16, 2009 - 5:06 PM   
 By:   MICHAEL HOMA   (Member)

BARBARA STANWYCK has been quoted as saying that one of the reasons she agreed to do the series was it had a similar concept as THE VIOLENT MEN , a now all but forgotten western she made with GLENN FORD and EDWARD G.ROBINSON, but in that one she was an ambitious matriarch, and not nearly as loving and kind asthe one she portrayed in THE BIG VALLEY. still,,,,,,,, whether that be true or not , i do not know , i just know that i read it in one of the biographies on her.

 Posted:   Mar 17, 2009 - 10:33 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

I always thought of Andrew Duggan as a Jay C. Flippen for the small screen. Duggan was in the H5) pilot and a few more episodes during the series' run. Love both his and Flippen's work.
And speaking of westerns, Flippen had one of the best names ever for a character:

"STRAP DAVIS" (from 1955's Man Without a Star)

 Posted:   Jun 29, 2009 - 8:59 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

As we make ready to play ketchup on our brilliantly-belated updates to this thread, wethot
we’d showcase one of the earlier discussions re the show’s memorable theme music

by original composer George Duning

and the third-season’s

striking re-orchestration by

Mind you, we bow to no Vulcan in our cemented admiration for Mr. Duning’s dynamic, catch-you-by-the-dramatic teeth contribution but we also gotta admit Elmer Bee’s lyrical and equally inspiration take take on the battlin’ Barkleys

always leaves us with a purty special smile, too wink

 Posted:   Oct 14, 2009 - 7:03 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

Just So You Cavortin’ Cowpokes Are Aware Department:

We’ve Barkley back-tracked and added some choice YouTubes for the embryonic eps discussed earlier.

Upcoming is a fuller visual teevee appreciation of our all-tyme hallmark segment featuring (after Missy)
our favorite cast member.

Subtle-as-an-A-Bomb Hint Department: HooRaq graciously birthday gifted us with a bevy of beautiful
screen captures celebrating it awhile back. See ya soon –

oh, and Silas want’sa know what you want fer dinner wink

 Posted:   Oct 14, 2009 - 6:56 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

"Whatever that's supposed to mean."

To find out, Neo, see if you can track down a documentary about Bezzerides. (There are TWO of them!)

It's quite a story.

 Posted:   Oct 14, 2009 - 7:51 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

I also went back and upgraded my old Youtube links as well, Neo. Nice addition Lukas made to let them be viewed from the threads! smile

And I'll be happy to see your spotlight on that favorite episode of yours soon.

 Posted:   Oct 15, 2009 - 8:35 AM   
 By:   Justme   (Member)

You know, combining two interesting threads - wouldn't it have been cool if Victoria Barkley could have met Robert McCall (the Equalizer)? What a combination. But like many TV series, Big Valley morphed from what started out as a great concept with distinctive characters to something more tame and predictable with the characters beginning to blur together. There were occasional good episodes later on, but the best ones were in the beginning.

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