Everybody Loves a Western!


Welcome to Day Three of Jingle, Jangle, Spurs! Before I wrote my first western romance, I wrote science fiction/fantasy time travel and still do under another pen name. What most folks don’t know, however, is that I also wrote a teleplay. And guess what, it was a western!

I had my first western book idea years back and started the book for fun, when lo and behold, I got approached by a very small production company that had joined with a western re-enactment group. These guys wanted a fun story they could shoot a tech reel for, (tech reels are to see what it might look like and how something flows on film) before they got serious about trying their hand at turning it into a major project. So I went to work and the tech reel was shot between Thanksgiving and Christmas. What an education that was! Not to mention a lot of fun. It was shot in Northern California and we all had a blast. I’ve never had a holiday season quite like it. It was definitely a combination of Jingles, Jangles, and Spurs. Lots of spurs, as the re-enactors acting as the bulk of the characters, were in full costume. The pictures are some I took while on the set. Yes, I got to be there!

These guys took their westerns seriously and I found out how much when they took me along to some western events in Los Angeles a few times. Some were friends with old-time actor favorites such as cast members from Little House on the Prairie, Gun Smoke (I got to meet Amanda Blake who played Miss Kitty) and Doctor Quinn Medicine Woman. One gentleman knew a few stuntmen (Steve McQueen’s for one) and I got to meet and hang out with Jack Elam and also James Best (Dukes of Hazard). Those were such fun times but also a lot of work. They didn’t pursue the project due to various circumstances, so I still have my rights to that story. One of these days I’ll get around to finishing the book for fun. But I wouldn’t trade those weeks for anything. I met a lot of great folks back then and had the best holiday season ever. And, got to hang out with folks who were western enthusiasts through and through, both professional actors and re-enactors alike.

 I have to say, my biggest thrill was meeting the wonderful Jack Elam, who shook my hand and thanked me for being a writer. “Without you, we’re nothing,” he said. “it’s an honor to meet you!” As a kid, I grew up watching this actor in Disney movies and various westerns. And yes, he DID look like that! And he also had a wonderful smile. I have pictures I took of him but I’m at my son’s for Christmas and don’t have access to them here. I had to post one of good ol’ Jack though, for those that don’t recognize the name but definitely will the face.

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and get to read a lot of Christmas stories that take place in the old west! Speaking of which, what old-time actors from your favorite western shows or movies would you like to meet and spend time with around the holidays? 

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Kit Morgan is the author of over 100 books of historical and contemporary western romance! Her stories are fun, sweet stories full of love, laughter, and just a little bit of mayhem! Kit creates her stories in her little log cabin in the woods in the Pacific Northwest. An avid reader and knitter, when not writing, she can be found with either a book or a pair of knitting needles in her hands! Oh, and the occasional smidge of chocolate!

41 thoughts on “Everybody Loves a Western!”

  1. What wonderful memories for you Kit. What exciting memories for you.Watching old western with my Dad as a kid and later on in life was one of the memories I cherish. I’d love to have met. Ward Bond from Wagon Train and Clint Walker from Cheyenne. Happy Holidays.

    • That was just one of the places they shot. It was outside of Stockton California. Some of the buildings are from the movie, The Big Country with Charlton Heston and Gregory Peck, which was also shot near there.

  2. Oh what fun! I love a lot of the older westerns. I’ve watched Gunsmoke, The Big Valley and Bonanza just to name a few. They sure don’t make them like that anymore.

  3. What an amazing ing experience. I’d love to have met Janes Arnez, Chuck Conners, and I would love to meet in today’s time, Sam Elliott, Kevin Costner, and Cole Hauser (Rip in the Yellowstone series). Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

    • What an amazing experience! I had no idea you started in Sci-fi and fantasy! I learn something new on P&P everyday! So many of the Western movie actors I would have loved to have met are now gone, Michael Landon, John Wayne, Ken Curtis, Dan Blocker, Gregory Peck… modern day, those still with us, I’d love to meet Sam Elliott, Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Cole Hauser, Robert Taylor. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas filled with all the family, friends and things you love!

  4. Oh I would love to meet James Drury from the Virginian. I absolutely love this show. I watch it when I can catch it on. I meet James Best a few years back he must have been having a bad day for he was most unfriendly at my son but my son did go stand beside him for a picture and he came unglued at my son for coming behind the table and standing beside him but that’s what all the other actors where doing that were there that day but he told my son in a rather hateful way to not stand by him to get back around that table. He died about a year or so later I told my son he may have been feeling bad that day or something.
    It was an honor and a privilege to meet you Mrs Kit in May this year in New Orleans at BLC19. I look forward to seeing you again in March in Nashville at the BLC20

    • Oh, that’s too bad. Mr. Best was so friendly and nice when I met him and we took some pictures together. He talked about his wife, Mary and what they were planning for dinner that night. Simple chit chat. We chatted for about a half an hour. But this was back in 1996, too. Who knows what life was like for him when you met.
      It was fun meeting you too, Glenda! I have your little cowboy boot you gave me on my desk!

  5. What fun pictures. I don’t know if I would want to meet any actors. I would probably freeze up and have a panic attack or not know what to say. I have never met anyone even semi-famous and I have never been good with conversation with regular people.

    • Well, as one director told me once, actors put their pants on in the morning like everyone else. And it’s true. They’re just poeple. Some much nicer than others. The old-timers I found to be very nice. Some of the younger ones not so much, they aren’t as mature.

  6. I wish we had westerns today like I enjoyed in my youth. So many of you have already mentioned many of my favorites. Thanks for this great blog. Loved it.

    • Yes, it’s too bad there’s not as much interest in westerns now a days with the younger crowd. I mean, babyboomers make up the biggest demographic. We’d watch them if they had them!

  7. What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing this time in your life. I enjoyed watching Jack also. There are so many characters that made an impact in my life. A lot of them re-enforced the way I was growing up. Merry Christmas.

  8. Most of the ones I’d like to meet are deceased, but here’s my list: James Arness, James Stacey, Dack Rambo, Robert Fuller, Clint Eastwood, Peter Breck, Lee Majors, Richard Long, Wayne Maunder.

  9. I love westerns. Not sure who I would pick most have passed. Clint Eastwood is a given. Bruce Dern, just to talk about how mean he was (lol). It is a reach but I really love Terence Hill.

  10. What wonderful memories. I fear that youngsters today have no idea who Jack Elam was. We watched Westerns with my mom and I loved him growing up. Right now I watch The Rifleman, The Big Valley and Wagon Train every day. I would have enjoyed meeting any of the actors from those series, or really from any of them. Happy Holidays!

    • Loved Jack Elam. He was so funny in alot of his roles. He was one of the greats. I had the biggest crush on Chuck Connors back in the day.

    • Yeah, a lot of them haven’t got a clue! I used to love to watch those shows growing up. I don’t watch much television these days but do enjoy the occasional Bonanza!

  11. Oh, goodness, Kit! What a great thing to have happen! I love Jack Elam! Well, heck, I love so many of those old western stars. When I worked at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, I got to see quite a few of the old western stars, and there were a few that were NOT friendly at all! Others were just wonderful. One year, Maureen O’Hara was there for their awards program–she was gorgeous, even though she was older by then–this would have been back in the 2001-2003 time period. I wanted to go walk up and meet her–and I could have, but…I thought, “What would I say?” Everything was lame–she’d already heard it millions of times before. LOL

  12. Oh, I have no problem meeting them as I have friends in the industry. Most of them were very nice. Some, cranky, tired. I remember the day I met James Doohan (Scotty off of Star Trek) I thought the poor man was about to pass out. I would have loved to have met Maureen O’Hara! What a fun job you had!

  13. How exciting for you Kit! I grew up watching Western Shows, my dad loved them and so we watched them with him. I would have loved to have met John Wayne! We used to watch Old Western movies and shows. Someone else I would have loved to have met and it would be Lucas McCain. I used to love The Rifleman, and still watch the reruns. Have a Very Merry Christmas Kit and Thank you for sharing your Awesome memories and your nice photos. God Bless you and your family.

  14. What a wonderful experience that was for you. Re-enactors are a dedicated group. If you want information and reality for a time period and event, they can provide it in most cases. You were in the perfect place to be able to connect with the movie industry and get a view of it few are lucky enough to have. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a great 2020.

  15. Love your post and to me you just can’t beat a good western when it comes to movies or books. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

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