February 7, 2013
Atop the river banks over looking the White River and Lyle O'Bryan's Quarter Circle XL Ranch with My Beau on the left, Lyle O'Bryan in the middle and Cody, who has become my primary ranch horse and sidekick, on the right (2005). Back in the early green horn dress rehearsal days of my current ranching role - still in my 'understudy' position. Although I am no 'Eve Kendall' to Lyle O'Bryan's 'Margo Channing'! (ha)
This photograph isn't exactly a film still - more like a location photograph, a behind the scenes shot, a continuity shot for wardrobe and props or a casting photograph of a true American original. I could have used a 'stand in' at the time so I could have photographed the likeness of myself back in this earlier time of discovery and use it as a reference point and reminder of my evolving role as part of the cast and crew on the ranch. I do miss the naivety of earlier times and find it difficult to recreate those feelings - perhaps if I were a better actor. At times it feels as if I am going backward and forward in time simultaneously.
Looking down upon the ranch as stage and back lot then, I could only imagine what adventure was to come and drew from my memories of cinematic imagery to create story board like thoughts in my mind. I knew the basic plot, but wondered how my 'character' was to develop and how this story would play out. Along the way, I realized that my desire to direct and control the unpredictability of ranching would be somewhat futile.
Over the years, the supporting cast has been nothing but cooperative - the special effects crew always has a surprise in store and despite the occasional misspoke line, break in character, lack of stunt doubles and on set injuries - it has been one long glorious, albeit sometimes challenging, take - so far ... continuing onward like a old time Western serial - without the chase scenes and shootouts, of course. ©JEAN LAUGHTON