The Rifleman
"Welcome to The McCain Ranch"

Don Torpin
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

Don Torpin - The Riflman - Assitant Director

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 the Night.

Character Actors Index Page
Have you ever been watching TV or a movie and wondered who is that guy?

Tragedy Among the Stars

Site Map
around The McCain Ranch