"Welcome to The McCain Ranch"
The Man Behind the scene
Assistant Director / Production Manager
This picture of Don was taken in 1940
Don Torpin was born April 25, 1917 in Oakdale, Nebraska
He died February 4, 1980 (age 62) in Winnetka, California
Gretchen's memories (oldest
daughter of Don)..... Her Dad's Uncle Ralph was the caretaker of 20th
Century Fox. Don started out in the mailroom for 20th Century Fox.
Through all those years he worked hard and worked his way up to
being an assistant producer.
Don was a cousin of Darrell F. Zanuck who was an American film
studio executive and producer.
His career spanned almost thirty years.
Don should have been a cowboy, he was never more happier then when
he was working on a western.
He loved to read.
He liked Chuck and thought him to be a nice man.
One year for Christmas Johnny Crawford gave Don a tool kit.
The Fox ranch was a beautiful 3,000(?) acres, with a strange &
wonderful combination of remote wilderness & modernity (for the
time). As kids, we played on all the sets, including the McCain
Ranch. My memories are a bit vague now, I truly don't remember any
specifics of The Rifleman set, only generic memories of my
brother, sisters & I, along with a passel of cousins wandering &
playing all over.
Gretchen remembers sitting on The Rifleman's lap..... As for sitting
on Chuck Connors lap, he was visiting at the ranch at the same time
my family was there. He was sitting in my Uncle Ralph's living room,
talking with the "grown-ups" when I wandered through. He pulled me
up on his lap, where I sat, stunned & in awe, of Lucas McCain! I
don't know what we said to one another, if anything, I just remember
thinking later, "I sat on The Rifleman's lap!"
She & her sibling were on The Detectives in one of the
episodes. She doesn't remember the name of the episode just that
they were in this scene where they were at an amusement park and
were forced to ride on the rides and got paid for it! J
Donna & Jenny (Don's two daughters, were extras on The Big Valley
when they needed some grammar school-aged kids. Peter Breck was
helping the kids into a wagon, but he overlooked Jenny (she was very
small for her age), so she said "Hey, what about me?" "Cut" says the
director (Virgil Vogel?), "Do that again, only don't say anything,
just tug on his vest!". (They would have had to pay her more if she
spoke.) She always got noticed as a little kid, 'cuz she looked a
lot like Pippi Longstockings, red hair, usually in pigtails,
freckles & big blue eyes.
A special thank you to Gretchen, Don's daughter her help in putting
these pages together!
A list of Movies and TV Shows
Don Torpin done as a Production Manager / Unit Production Manager
/ Assistant Director including the nine episodes of The Rifleman.
Don Torpin and Chuck
Connors first worked together in the 1956 movie Hold Back
Character Actors Index Page
Have you ever been watching TV or a movie and wondered who is that guy?
around The McCain Ranch