Sunday, August 18, 2019

Next Week: Christopher Robinson's Interview with James Drury -- The Virginian

Yes, you heard it right. Christopher Robinson, the newest member of the Western Magazine Digest staff, will feature part 1 of "An Interview with 'The Virginian.'" Talk about an article to read. This one will come in two parts, the first to appear on WMD on the 25th of this month and part 2 on the 8th of September (if you recall, our main publications occur every other week now with minor stories and videos in between, such as this week).

Within the pages of Robinsons' interview you also will find a treasure trove of photos involving the star of The Virginian, the one and only James Drury.

Honestly, I remember Drury very well. He was a level headed, powerful ranch foreman, tough but always fair and invariably for the little guy, which comes through in Home to Methuselah, which was Episode 10 of the 8th season of The Virginian. Here's the full Episode on Classic Western TV (YouTube):


Here is what the author of an informative paper on Wikipedia had to say about James Drury, the main character in the first 8 seasons of this 9-season series:
The Virginian

Played by James Drury,[14] the Virginian was the tough foreman of the Shiloh Ranch. Based loosely on the character in the Owen Wister novel, he always stood his ground firmly. Respected by the citizens of Medicine Bow and the hands of the ranch, he was a prominent figure in Medicine Bow. In the series, the Virginian is the ranch foreman from the first episode. This way, the producers were able to establish a feeling that he had been there for a while, and thus keep a consistent story line. In the book, however, the Virginian was the deputy foreman, and only became the foreman after a promotion from the Judge. When making the show, the producers chose not to reveal the Virginian's real name, and little about his past was actually made known. This succeeded in making the Virginian an intriguing and mysterious character. The foreman worked under five ranch owners throughout the series: Judge Garth (Lee J. Cobb), Morgan Starr (John Dehner), John Grainger (Charles Bickford), Clay Grainger (John McIntire), and Col. Alan Mackenzie (Stewart Granger). James Drury and Doug McClure were the only cast members to remain with the show for all nine seasons. James Drury first played The Virginian on the July 6, 1958 episode of Decision. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Virginian_(TV_series))

The Virginian series lasted for 9 seasons, from 1962 through 1971. I was 12 years old when Drury began this first 90-minute Western series (with over 249 episodes), and when the 9th episode was over, I was 21 years of age--just beginning my life while one of the greatest Western television series--probably ever--was ending.

Be sure to tune in to WMD this next weekend when we'll feature Christopher Robinsons' "An Interview with The Virginian."

Allan Colombo


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