Talking with Henry Darrow was most enjoyable and like reconnecting with an old friend. He was warm, charming, and more than happy to answer some fan questions.
If you love Westerns, WWN-Wild West News on Facebook is the place to be. Mosey on over now and click on Like to keep updated on interviews, horses, and all things cowboy. Maybe you can ask a question of your favorite Western actor.
Our first question is from Kathy Tanner
Henry laughed and said, “Jack Lilley, I haven’t heard that name in several decades. That’s correct, I couldn’t ride until the third or fourth year, then I became a good rider. I was always comfortable around horses.”
Henry explained how his first horse, Diablo, was more horse than he could handle. One time when they were working with 30 or 40 head, Diablo worked his way to the front to lead. The bad guys from behind started shooting. Diablo bolted for the trees and there was no stopping him.
"Diablo knocked out a couple of branches while trying to knock me off. When we got to the top of the hill, I got off and never got back on Diablo again.
“Carl Petty, my stunt man made things look easy. Stupidly, I tried to fall with a horse after getting hit over the head with a sugar bottle. The bottle didn’t break, then I fell through a balsa wood table and a big splinter just missed my eye."
Kathy also said, “One of Jack’s favorite stories to tell is about the Thanksgiving Turkey Episode of The High Chaparral. What does Henry remember about that one?”
Henry smiled and chuckled several times before he shared the story. “Good episode - all these turkeys making turkey sounds and so was Jack. Some one said, “Let’s ring it’s neck.”"
“Jack said, “Speaking on behalf of the turkeys, maybe that’s not such a good idea.” It was funny and that was a great time. We had guests for Thanksgiving, a Scottish neighbor, Indian Chief and other friends. Manolita had given Perlita, his girl friend on the show, a dress or shawl of Linda’s and she wore it to the Thanksgiving celebration."
The next fan question is from John Wice
“Who was Henry’s weapons coach and what was his favorite part?”
Henry said Carl Petty taught him everything and he loved playing the role of Manolita Mantoya.
Henry as Zorro
"In an episode of The New Zorro, I played his father and got a chance to get even with the guy that killed my brother. Zorro hears my plans. The four of us are horrible and Zorro does everything. Yeah we got the bad guys.”
How the Brady Bunch and Partridge Family ended High Chaparral
Sounds crazy that a story of a lovely lady with three little girls and a man named Brady with three boys of his own, could be the end of such a good television Western. However, that’s exactly what happened. Henry explained that due to the riots going on at the time, they should agree to no violence on the show. No one was supposed to be killed or hurt severely enough that they couldn’t have a complete recovery. They had to shot people in the leg so the person could later state they were okay. If you appreciate Westerns and the tough violent days of the old Wild West, you certainly understand why that wouldn’t work and it didn’t. Hard to imagine the Brady Bunch and Partridge Family took down such brave hombres.
Howard Hughes bought the studio and Henry’s original William S. Hart guns disappeared after the television pilot. They had octagonal barrels with white cow handles and were beautiful. Howard took them, along with other items from the set. Henry had copies made of the guns at that time.
Julia Macias Brooks asked, “What was his most memorable film location?”
Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to ask this question, but will try to get an answer soon for Julia.
Henry’s book with Jan Pippins, "Lightning In The Bottle," has more great stories from Henry, along with photos, that span his first 75 years. The book is available through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other fine online booksellers including the publisher, BearManor Media. The book is getting great reviews.
Till Next Time~~~Happy Trails