It is impossible to go to press with this issue without addressing the senseless ramming of our aircraft into the Twin Towers of New York City, and the horrific annihilation of thousands of Americans at the hands of treacherous barbarians.
We offer our thanks to the heroes who have reached out to help in so many ways, including the police officers, fire fighters, rescue teams and citizens, for their diligent efforts throughout this national crisis. And thanks to Mel Gibson, for his film, The Patriot, which not only grasps the spirit of America, but also serves as an inspiration.
To aid the victims’ families and the communities affected by these catastrophic events, a portion of the proceeds generated from the sale of this issue will be donated to the United Way of New York. Contributions to this fund may be made directly online at www.september11fund.org, or pledged by telephone at 1-800-710-8002. Thank you so much for your support!
We chose Michael Landon for the cover of this issue because few cowboys have been so beloved. A man of character, dignity, and many talents, he was also a man who died long before his time. Join us now as we salute Mr. Landon in a pictorial retrospective of his career in Westerns.
We’ve also rounded up some terrific interviews for ya’: Emmy award-winner Robert Vaughn who gave a stirring performance in The Magnificent Seven, ever-beautiful Dawn Wells (A.K.A. Mary Ann of Gilligan’s Island) who has been a cowgirl all her life; Vegas crooner turned TV lawman Don Durant of Johnny Ringo fame; movie gangster Marc Lawrence (He was Key Largo’s “Ziggy”!) who went West many times as an actor and director; outstanding character actor Edward Faulkner who became a member of John Wayne’s stock company; Paramount Studio’ #1 public relations man A.C. Lyles who prolifically produced action-packed B-Westerns; and the “Cowboy King of Cool” Robert Fuller who was in a saddle long before he took the doctor’s kit in hand for Emergency!.
We’d like to welcome two guest writers this time around—Ermal Williamson Walden and C. Courtney Joyner, director and screenwriter of science fiction and chiller films.
Returning with their wonderful columns are F Troop’s lovely and talented Melody “Wrangler Jane” Patterson and The Moody Blues’ ingenious musician, singer and songwriter John Lodge.
We are pleased to add another celebrity writer to our staff—The Big Valley’s Peter Breck. In classic Nick Barkley fashion, he explains why people should take a liking to Westerns, and fast! Incidentally, Breck, along with Dale Robertson and James Drury, have formed a company in which they will sing and do poetry. Soon they’ll be taking their act—Tres Hombres Plus One—on the road, so keep your eyes and ears open for them at a venue near you.
The Autry Museum of Western Heritage recently honored the legendary singing cowboy and humanitarian, Monte Hale. Hosted by Bob Eubanks, those in attendance included Dickie Jones, Morgan Woodward, Ruta Lee and Ken “Eddie Haskell” Osmond. At the podium, Adrian Booth, who starred with Hale in many films, paid a wonderful tribute to her leading man. Also, during the Palm Springs Western Film Festival, a reception was held at the home of gun leather craftsman John Bianchi and wife Nikki, in memory of George Montgomery. Beautiful cowgirl Carroll Baker and distinguished actor Patrick Macnee were in attendance. Jim Roberts’ Round-Up was a big hit, as many celebrities, including Boot inductees Clint Walker and Loren Janes, gathered together to enjoy the evening. Recently, veteran beefcake actors assembled at Muscle Beach 2001 in Venice, California. Many of them, such as Richard Harrison, Mickey Hargitay and Gordon Mitchell, starred in Spaghetti Westerns. Future stories about their Italian Oaters are in the works.
Christopher Perry, producer of unique silent movie presentations, will be presenting the very first Western ever filmed–Edwin S. Porter’s 1903 epic, The Great Train Robbery–at the Western Silent Movie Show in Yucca Valley, California. For more information, call 760-365-0475.
For 20 years, James Arness rode tall in the saddle portraying Marshal Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke, the longest running series in the history of television. To recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of this legendary cowboy and television superstar, Wildest Westerns and the James Arness Hall of Fame Committee invite all fans and admirers of Gunsmoke’s James Arness to join us in an effort to have him inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. Letters of suggestion or nomination on his behalf may be sent to the Hall of Fame Selection Committee, c/o ATAS, 5220 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.
Hope this issue will be of some comfort to you in these trying times.
God bless you all,
Ed G. Lousararian