INSP Celebrates "The Virginian", and beloved Actor James Drury’s 80th Birthday!

On Friday, April 18, INSP will air Drury’s favorite episodes along with never-before-seen footage, to celebrate his 80th birthday. The 3-hour event will air on Friday, April 18th from 11am - 2pm ET with an encore presentation on Saturday, April 19th in primetime, beginning at 8pm ET.

For all of us Virginian fans, this is a must see! Don't miss it! Clicking on the link below will take you to a short video that will give you a sneak peek!

Click here

The Virginian

The Virginian was kind of a mysterious guy which would suggest that the character would have been very memorable. However, the character that I remember from this show was Trampas, who was a cowhand played by the "oh, so cute" Doug McClure (maybe that's why I remember him)! But he was a series regular and always a part of the action in one way or another.

Background of the Show

"The Virginian" was a classic novel written in 1902 by Owen Wister, and was the basis for the TV show of the same name. In this book we were introduced to a strong, silent type of cowboy who was tough and dangerous, but also gallant. And we learned about the Code of the West, the ironclad rules of honor and conduct that the cowboy lived by. By the time The Virginian became a TV show, this code was the standard followed by all of our cowboy heroes.

"The Virginian" was also produced 3 times as a motion picture; the most well-known was the version that starred Gary Cooper and Walter Huston in 1929.

Here's a interesting sidelight to the original pilot.

All About the Show

The Virginian first aired in 1962 and ended in 1971. And here's an interesting fact - it was the first 90-minute Western series on TV! Actually it was more like a weekly movie feature.

There weren't any gimmicks to this show. It was one of the leading "adult Westerns" and relied mostly on its strong cast and guest stars to provide solid performances which they did very well for the 9 years that it was on TV.

James Drury played the part of The Virginian, who never revealed his real name! He was a mysterious fellow of few words who was always around forcing law and order on eveyone who needed it. The show was set in the Wyoming Territory in the 1890's.

All the action took place on or around the Shiloh Ranch which had various owners during the run of the show. But the guy who never changed was (yep, my favorite!) Trampas (played by Doug McClure) - the Shiloh's wild, young cowhand.

Only James Drury and Doug McClure were in the show all 9 years. Because of the nature of this Western drama, there was a long list of characters that changed over the years. These included -

Judge Henry Garth - played by Lee J. Cobb from 1962 - 1966

Steve - played by Gary Clarke from 1962 - 1964

Molly Wood - played by Pippa Scott from 1962 - 1963

Betsy Garth - played by Roberta Shore from 1962 - 1965

Randy Benton - played by Randy Boone from 1964 - 1966

Emmett Ryker - played by Clu Gulager from 1964 - 1966 & then again from 1967 - 1968

Belden - played by L.Q. Jones from 1964 - 1967

Jennifer Garth - played by Diane Roter from 1965 - 1966

John Grainger - played by Charles Bickford from 1966 - 1967

Stacy Grainger - played by Don Quine from 1966 - 1968

Elizabeth Grainger - played by Sara Lane from 1966 - 1970

Sheriff Mark Abbott - played by Ross Elliott from 1966 - 1970

Clay Grainger - played by John McIntire from 1967 - 1970

Holly Grainger - played by Jeanette Nolan from 1967 - 1970

David Sutton - played by David Hartman from 1968 - 1969

Jim Horn - played by Tim Matheson from 1969 - 1970

Col. Alan MacKenzie - played by Stewart Granger from 1970 - 1971

Roy Tate - played by Lee Majors from 1970 - 1971

Parker - played by John McLiam from 1970 - 1971

Want to see some great still pictures of James Drury and other cast members from "The Virginian"? Click on the center button in the video box below

What Happened to the Actors?

After "The Virginian" TV series ended in 1971, James Drury appeared in a few movies including "The Virginian" TV movie in 2000. He also starred in another TV series in 1974, "Firehouse", which was a short-lived adventure show about firemen encountering various disasters each week. It ran for only 7 months.

James Drury was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City in 1991. He has since been a businessman, in the oil and natural gas business in Houston, TX.

My favorite from "The Virginian", Doug McClure, appeared mostly in commercials for Hamms Beer throughout the 1970's and '80's but did also star in the situation comedy "Out of This World" from 1987 to 1991.

Doug McClure died from lung cancer on February 5, 1995 at the young age of 59.

What do you remember most about The Virginian?

Do you have favorite memories about The Virginian? Please share them here!

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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James Drury  
He had the greatest rules of the west.... the true codes to follow. James Drury played his role with such integrity. I loved the show & watched it faithfully …

James Drury, 'The Virginian', was a dedicated Shiloh Ranch Foreman in the setting of Wyoming, which gained its Statehood in 1890. He was a man of strong …

The Family watching this TV series every week, together 
My dad was an avid Virginian fan. We watched every week without fail. Since I was daddy's girl I loved the show as well. When I was 16 I got to meet …

Want to know all 
I'm 39 years old & I've been watching the Virginian since I was 16 with my grandparents. Judge Dorothy is my favorite character. But, like James, I want …

...at least I thought so!!! Those eyebrows! One always seemed to raise up in skepticism whenever someone was lying!!! That black hair, that bone structure! …

My family watched it when I was a little bitty girl 
I watch it today on Dallas cozi tv in the mornings while I am getting ready for work. It is still a very good show and the events are just as current today …

The Virginian, of course, but also Lee J. Cobb 
I remember how harsh it seemed that Lee J. Cobb was in dealing with his ranch hands; if I'm wrong, I wouldn't mind that a bit. I didn't understand what …

The best of all Westerns on TV 
I still think that The Virginian was the best TV cowboy show & I'm still waiting for its return!

love them all 
They are playing the show on the western channel now. I loved it then & I love it now.

Roberta Shore's last episode. Not rated yet
When Betsy got married! I loved that episode so much I could watch it a million and one times. Thanks for the reruns! And the memories. I hated when …

The Roundups, The High Speed Horse Chases, When The Virginian Got Mad, Trampas' Antics, Judge Henry Garth, Randy, Belden's Quirky Ways, And The Ladies, Betsy, Jennifer And The Other Women Not rated yet
With all due respect, after Bonanza and Gusmoke The Virginian was the best show of the 60's. I enjoyed the roundups,the cattle drives, the horses mostly. …

Of course the best part were the actors The Virginan and Trampas Not rated yet
I used to watch The Virginan with my father. Every week I would sit with him. It has brought back a lot of good memories. My father is no longer with us, …

The best part was the actors, The Virginian and Trampas Not rated yet
I used to watch The Virginan with my father. Every week I would sit with him. It has brought back a lot of good memories. My father is no longer with us …

Good role model Not rated yet
They were all great role models. As a youngster (born 1946) this series and all the other series of westerns ( and Robin Hood and William Tell) were all …

The relationship between the Virginian and Trampus Not rated yet
Grew up watching it. Mad about Westerns and John Wayne films. Loved seeing the special famous actor/actress in each episode. So different from where …

Met James Drury in 1992 ! Not rated yet
I remember in either Nov.or Dec. Of '92 I met James Drury at Mermorial City Hospital in Houston when my daughter and his wife were both in the hospital …

The first pilot Not rated yet
I liked the fact that the show followed the true facts. There's only one problem and that is that I myself wished that I could have been part of the show. …

Tim Matheson and James Drury Not rated yet
They were heroes from a simpler time. They took care of business and it was a show all kids could watch. Thanks for the memories. The Virginian can still …

Just restarted watching the series on Foxtel and my husband and I are avid watchers.  Not rated yet
Love theVirginian and his knowing grin and fail-safe, can-do attitude. Love the way the character looks at life and his efforts to do-it-right. Emmet …

All Not rated yet
I love the way the Virginian carried himself! I'm so in love with him, I'm just glad there weren't too many women running after him! He is amazing! …

I remember the Virginian as a friendly man who meant business. Not rated yet
I watched the Virginian seems like most of my life. I watch it today, and it still never grows old. It seems as though I knew all of them personally. Especially …

Doug McClure  Not rated yet
Dougie was one of my best friends & I'm still in touch with his widow, Diane. Chuck Courtney, also one of Dougie's best friends, was a stuntman in many …

Doug McClure Not rated yet
I fell in love with Doug McClure when I was 23 months old. My folks were watching the Twilight Zone in November of '59. I saw Doug, screamed "I love you" …

Trampas Not rated yet
My favourite was Trampas. Recently I've started watching the show on Foxtel. It's great seeing it again. I don't remember any other stories, mainly …

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My favorite actor is James Drury.The Virginian was so handsome & humble. Not rated yet
The Virginian reminded me of a very dear friend of mine who he is no longer with us. My friend was a Vietnam Vet and i guess the hardships he endured from …

Emmet was the best! Not rated yet
My favorite actor on the series was/is Ryker a.k.a. Clu Gulager. I watch the reruns on Cozi TV here in San Diego. I also love the orchestrations on the …

Great 90 minute Western Not rated yet
I was 9-18 years old when the Virginian aired (1962-71). It was the first adult show I watched on TV. I liked Both Doug McClure and James Drury. Good …

The best Western series I know of Not rated yet
I love this show! Every time I watch an episode it just amazes me that I can eenjoy a Western this much.

James Drury at the All American Cowboy Get Together Not rated yet
I met James Drury though a mutual friend, Rudy Robbins, at the All Americian Cowboy Get Together in Bandera, Texas where Mr. Drury was inducted into the …

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