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 Posted:   Jan 22, 2007 - 6:04 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

For those distinctive dinosaurs amongst us who recall reveling in that sadly extinguished era of the late ‘50s and early-to-mid ‘60s when Westerns ruled the teevee roost, it’s probably impossible for those hatched afterward to truly appreciate just how rich the frontier pickings were in that now far-off titled time.

From Warner Brothers’ revolving repertory (CHEYENNE, MAVERICK, SUGARFOOT, BRONCO, LAWMAN) up to WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE plus HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL yet also including BAT MASTERSON and WYATT EARP.

Sacrilege it might be to say it, try as we might, we could never quite buy into GUNSMOKE (a tad too dry for our evolving tastes) or, particularly, BONANZA (which was wayyyyyyy too patriarchal).

But we did - and still do - adore (1965-69)

Aside from it being sumptuously produced and extremely well-directed over the course of its entirely-too-short four-year run (with Virgil W. Vogel helming the majority), the series also boasted an exceptionally fine stable of impressive writers who purposefully penned an attractive array of meaningful morality tales couched inside an incisive intelligence and wry humor rarely encountered then or now.

Actually, it was that recognizable sense of a real family atmosphere one could effortlessly empathize with that lent VALLEY so much of its anchoring authenticity.

Granted, they endlessly argued and fought and yelled and got on, under, over, around and through each other’s last nerves, defiantly disagreed, made up and then promptly got in one another’s equally hot-blooded face yet, when it all came conclusively down (and up) to it, they finally came together as a collective unit if not originally bound by blood then ultimately by their commitment of character.

You never doubted for a solitary sanitary second The Barkleys (tough name, that) and their gritty spunk of triumphant spirit, whether twas from Victoria’s noble strength, Jarrod’s balanced fairness, Nick’s no-nonsense ruggedness, Health’s quest for personal validation and Audra’s charming growing pains.

And - o my, hang about, hang about - that consummate cast!

Just try to imagine corralling any ensemble that’s a close cousin to its cumulative charisma and all-around acting aces, starting with the utterly unmatchable Barbara Stanwyck. Ala Katharine Hepburn, Stanwyck remains in a rarified class of her own and, as the show’s pivotal sparkplug, she was the commanding center around which everything else royally revolved. Next in luminous line is Richard Long (one of our all-time favourites); as to that, he was the only one who could impressively meet, match, balance, blend and equal Stanwyck’s formidably subtle power.

Peter Breck remains marvellous as hot-headed, fast-with-his-fists Nick (plus those black leather outfits were incredibly cool to us impressionable youngsters). This was Lee Majors’ breakthrough role, and he hasn’t done anything since that even comes close to capturing the thoughtful sensitivity and intelligent integrity he invested Heath with. As for lovely, drop-dead-and-resurrected alive gorgeous Linda Evans, we ASK you, has there ever been a more beautiful, breathtaking vision of young womanhood on the passionately emotional, hormonally hot threshold of – everything?

Toss is an absolutely astonishing galaxy of on-the-cusp- guest stars (Charles Bronson, James Whitmore, Colleen Dewhurst, William Shatner, Jill St. John, George Kennedy, Katharine Ross, Bruce Dern, Susan Strasberg, James Gregory, among many others) and George Duning’s still-thrilling main title (ever muscular and memorably robust) – eventually aided and tunefully abetted by Lalo Schifrin and, especially, Elmer Bernstein – makes it crystal clear the series has lost none of its individualistic luster.

[ Mind you, Season Two has just been issued on DVD but 20th Century Fox oughta be tar-and-feathered for its highway robbery price tag compared to the more affordably accessible Season One. ]

Be that as it is, THE BIG VALLEY remains a timeless classic even forty-some years after its auspicious unveiling: Boy howdy! ...

 Posted:   Jan 22, 2007 - 6:57 PM   
 By:   Stefan Miklos   (Member)

Be that as it is, THE BIG VALLEY remains a timeless classic even forty-some years after its auspicious unveiling: Boy howdy! ...

I finally ordered TBV season 1 at Amazon for $19.
I used to watch it 30 years ago but I didn't remember it.
I wish they could release "Gunsmoke" as a season DVD set!
I have to wait 6 years to watch the seventh season of "Rawhide". A long time.
I still hope MGM/UA will release "Stoney Burke": my favourite cowboy series.
Stay with us, Stoney Boney!

 Posted:   Jan 22, 2007 - 10:56 PM   
 By:   zooba   (Member)

Yes, George Dunning's Great Main Title Theme was always a favorite.

I love Dunning. I'm about to order THE DEVIL AT FOUR O'CLOCK from SAE. I have the old LP from years ago and his Themes and Score are just Wonderful.

Check out a bit of this great DEVIL AT FOUR O'CLOCK Main Title :

Beautiful Passionate Love Theme has a somewhat Early Goldsmith Style to it:

More here:

Highly Recommended!


 Posted:   Jan 23, 2007 - 11:03 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I have absolutely NO connection to this series, as it aired WAY before my time and I´m not even sure it was shown over here. However, I do have the soundtrack for this as an LP-to-CD transfer. There are one or two highlights, such as the "going to church" cue in the beginning, but for the most part it was a little too melodramatic for my taste.

 Posted:   Jan 23, 2007 - 11:10 AM   
 By:   zooba   (Member)

One version of the Series Main Titles:

a Better one:

F Troop anyone?

Sounds like Vic Mizzy.

But it's William Lava

It's Catchy.

 Posted:   Jan 23, 2007 - 11:12 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

El Zoob, the "better one" is Duning's dynamic original, whereas the first one you cited is Elmer Bernstein's stirring (IO-ever-UnHO) reorchestration for Season 3.

Oh, and beating around the burning bush doesn't become you, Thor mi amigo.

Ka-mon, don't be bashful, now: how dew u really feel? ... wink

 Posted:   Jan 23, 2007 - 1:09 PM   
 By:   Donna   (Member)

Feel free to enjoy yourselves, but IMHO, this was an awful show!

Barbara Stanwyck showed as much talent in this as she did with Elvis in "Roustabout"! haha

 Posted:   Jan 23, 2007 - 1:29 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

Dolly (Matchmaker) Levi, we ain't embarrassment but ...

mad Sis, have you been introduced to Thor? cool

Gee, it's a good thing (hiya, Martha) we aren't runnin' for Office of the Most Popular Choices ... frown

On anudder subject we DO agree upon, tho:

There's a spanking new Equalizer site - - you might wanna check out.

Peace? ... eek

 Posted:   Jan 23, 2007 - 2:12 PM   
 By:   Donna   (Member)

Peace!! hahahahah Apologies for my opinion here. It was one show that my siblings watched, however, I never quite "got it".

We do agree on The Equalizer!

 Posted:   Jan 23, 2007 - 3:08 PM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

Some of the nosebleed Sky channels run this show (and other Four Star series, yay!).

 Posted:   Jan 29, 2007 - 7:47 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

Got my notice that Season 2, Volume 1 shipped from Amazon today. It's annoying that Fox is going the split season route now, but those who like this show should just buy it anyway and insure that the rest of the run gets put out. Besides I have to see the Season 4 season premiere again some day where Adam West, in his first acting job after "Batman" plays a psycho murdering cavalry officer.

 Posted:   Jan 30, 2007 - 2:14 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

And West did a more than decent job at it, too, Eric.

Then again, the show was known for its uniquely unorthodox casting-against-expected (meaning lazy)-type: Robert Goulet and Buddy Hackett made remarkably reputable guest-starring turns.

As for 19th Century Fox' greed, they really leave us no choice 'cause, as you ascertain, there ain't gonna be no more future Barkley adventures if these present editions aren't profitable.

C'est la guerre ... cool

 Posted:   Feb 2, 2007 - 12:37 PM   
 By:   David in NY   (Member)

I watched every episode of Season One. I got it for $19.99 at Tower Records on sale (remember them?) and enjoyed every episode. I've been to Stockton and well, it was probably a lot prettier back in the times of The Barkley's. Sure the show was way melelodramatic, even with Victoria and Audra helping to add an unusual balance to the proceedings, but the episodes are enjoyable - at least to me. Yes, there was a fistfight in EVERY episode as well. And yes the Men's pants were usually WAY too tight. Especially Lee Majors and Peter Breck's. (Hey, I'm not complainging) Did anyone notice on an episode of season one when there was a big barfight and you can see Peter Breck's pants completely split up the middle showing his tighty whitey's underneath? Surprised the editor never cut it! And Lee Majors sweated through all his shirts almost down to the waist. In one episode, Majors is wearing a light colored leather vest atop a shirt, and the LEATHER was soaked down to the waist...just an observation....

 Posted:   Feb 6, 2007 - 8:08 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

A.I. (Albert Issac) Bezzerides, one of the co-creators of the show, died recently at the age of 98.

According to Ronald Bergan of The Guardian, Bezzerides' [ parentage came from an Armenian mother and Greek father, he put himself through college driving trucks (ala his pere), he had substantial friendships with the likes of William Faulkner, William Saroyan, Humphrey Bogart and Robert Mitchum whilst, from 1942 through 1959, also being one of Hollywood's top screenwriters.

Although he scripted war movies as well as westerns, his substantial claim to filmic fame were his scripts for a trio of classic film noirs: Jules Dassin's Thieves' Highway (1949), Nicholas Ray's On Dangerous Ground (1952) and Robert Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly (1955).

... In the 1960s, he turned very successfully to television, creating the Barbara Stanwyck series The Big Valley, though he complained that its ethnic richness was diminished by the producers. ]

As Jarrod would say, "Whatever that's supposed to mean." cool

 Posted:   Apr 28, 2007 - 2:32 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

For those enjoying the complementary (and complimentary) Stanwyck Centenary thread, wethot mayhap you might find some meager morsels of interest with this previous ode to our favorite example of (and to) her ever-lasting excellence

 Posted:   Apr 29, 2007 - 5:48 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

I have absolutely NO connection to this series, as it aired WAY before my time and I´m not even sure it was shown over here. However, I do have the soundtrack for this as an LP-to-CD transfer. There are one or two highlights, such as the "going to church" cue in the beginning, but for the most part it was a little too melodramatic for my taste.

I have vague recollections of watching the series here in the UK, probably early/mid '60s, and can recall my parents referring to Barbara Stanwyck as a big movie star.

But the one remaining memory is that of the title music - or so I think. At school (junior school: '65-'69) the Head/Deputy Head would often play a piece of music (on an old turntable) whilst we children filed into the hall for morning assembly. For a long time I was convinced it was the theme from The Big Valley (!!!) - only towards the latter part of those years did I find out it was the middle section onwards of Jupiter (from Holst's The Planets' Suite).

So can anyone tell me now: is there any similarity between these themes or was I totally mind-twisted as a child ... leading me into the wicked (expensive) world of movie scores?

 Posted:   Apr 29, 2007 - 6:22 AM   
 By:   Stefan Miklos   (Member)

I finally watched the entire season 1 and I am amazed that it still is an engrossing series to follow. The leading characters as well as the guest characters are very interesting. The list of guest actors is quite impressive.
For the people who are sensitive to unsettling film-making, I advise you to watch: "The River Monarch" directed by the late Sutton Roley.

 Posted:   May 3, 2007 - 8:25 AM   
 By:   Stefan Miklos   (Member)

Watch out! The season 2 set is not restored.

 Posted:   Jun 28, 2007 - 9:52 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

Stef, Eric: presumably by now you've waded through Season Two. Is the visual quality so abysmal it totally sabotages one's overall enjoyment or should we break down and overlook it all?

Inquiring Barkleys wanna know ...

 Posted:   Jun 28, 2007 - 11:23 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

Truthfully, I didn't have too many problems with it. Granted, the episodes weren't given a remastering treatment but this is the kind of show where I tend to be more grateful that *some* episodes are out.

The worst case of low quality prints on an official set I've ever seen are the random episodes of "Emergency" (not true of all of them just ones that don't have the original opening) that look like faded 16mm prints with dirt and scratches galore.

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