Café: How did you come to be cast on The High Chaparral?
|Harry Darrow at the Western Film Fair|
and Nostalgia Convention.
Café: There's a great sense of family on The High Chaparral. The relationships between the Cannon and Montoya families seem very real. Was the cast as close off screen?
|The High Chaparral cast.|
Café: Do you have a favorite episode?
HD: "A Time to Laugh, a Time to Cry" with Donna Baccala*. We shot that episode in the 1960s and then, about 30 years later, I was doing a series in Spain about Zorro and she appeared as a guest star. We were able to use scenes from the old High Chaparral episode. It worked out beautifully.
Café: I've heard that after The High Chaparral was cancelled, you performed a live act in Sweden. Can you tell us about that?
HD: That was wonderful. I had talked with Michael Landon, who had gone over to Sweden with a stunt man and played a little bit of guitar and sang a few songs. I prepared a 30-minute show, singing songs and doing comedy stuff like shooting balloons with a gun and...drum roll...there'd be a pop! It was all comedic. One night, we had 15,000 people in the audience, an incredible turnout.
|Darrow as Lieutenant Manny Quinlan|
on Harry O.
HD: I loved that show. They moved the show from San Diego to Malibu. My character was a detective in the San Diego police department, so he stayed in San Diego, and Harry moved up to Malibu and lived on a beach. Anthony Zerbe replaced me and that worked out well for him. He won an Emmy.
Café: How did you get along with David Janssen?
HD: Wonderfully. He had a marvelous, dry sense of humor. We pulled jokes on each other here and there. When I was being replaced, he waited for me when he finished shooting earlier in the afternoon. We had a few goodbye drinks at the hotel bar. I never saw him again, though.
Café: What was it like being a Latino actor in Hollywood in the 1960s and 1970s?
|A painting of Darrow as Manolito|
by artist JoAnn Peralta.
Café: Were there challenges, though, to being a Latino actor at that time?
HD: There were Westerns being made at the time. I had a lot of Mexican actor friends and they said I should pass myself off as a Mexican. I said: "Why?" They said: "Because there aren't too many New York Puerto Ricans doing Westerns!" I said OK. But then I did the Ray Bradbury play and got hired for The High Chaparral. It worked out beautifully for me.
Café: You've done a lot to help other Latino actors in film and television. Can you describe your work with the Screen Actors Guild and other organizations?
HD: There was an organization called Nosotros, which means "us" in Spanish. It was started in 1970 with Ricardo Montalban as president. I was the first vice president. We helped young Latino actors and actresses. At that time, there were only a few Latino casting people and agents. There was a guy called Carlos Alvarado. I lucked out when he hired me. His nephew was coming down the steps from his office and said: "You going to see my uncle? Because I have to go into the army. I think he'll hire you." Carlos did hire me, right then and there. There weren't too many problems that I can recall. There just weren't too many avenues for Latino actors at the time. A number of series happened over the next few years and it eventually worked out fine.
|As Rafael on Santa Barbara.|
HD: It was much, much harder because you had to do an hour script every day and usually you'd have three scenes handed to you the night before. That left little time to rehearse with your fellow actors. I had worked with A Martinez before and he gave me a lot of his time and the producer was a fan of mine. It worked out well and I had a good time doing it. It was hard work, though.
Café: You've written an autobiography, Henry Darrow: Lightning in a Bottle, with Jan Pippins. Do you have any upcoming projects you want to share with the Cafe's readers?
HD: I've got a meeting with a young filmmaker next week. So, we will see where that goes.
Café: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us.
HD: My pleasure.
You can learn more about Henry Darrow at his website: www.henrydarrowbook.com. You can follow him on Twitter @HenryDarrow1, Facebook, and Pinterest.
* In the season 3 episode "A Time to Laugh, a Time to Cry," Manolito's childhood sweetheart Mercedes Vega De Granada (Donna Baccala) steals his heart. He proposes marriage and she accepts--but their wedding plans go astray when she is kidnapped by Comancheros.