Trail Tales Cast Interview with Gabriel Folse

Rancher in "BLACK ULYSSES"

It was a beautiful humid day in Austin, Texas and Gabriel Folse was a darlin' to take time out of his day to give me a call!
My Questions/Comments in gold
Gabriel's Answers in white

How were you cast?

My Houston agent knew Holly Hire, the casting agent in Tucson. Holly was sending scripts to my agent and she would see if there was something worth the time to fly out there and give it a shot. They wanted the role to be large enough that it would justify me trying.  I flew to Tucson and read for her. I think it was a Friday and she brought me back Friday night. I had a pre-read with her in the afternoon at 2 o'clock or something, then I had to come back at 6.  That's where you would meet the producer and director. They were casting for one show while they were shooting a show.

The show that I read for was the fifth episode. When we were shooting our episode,the pilot was airing. They had shot the pilot in California in March or April of that year, the first season that is. Putting it together through the
hiatus, finishing the edit, and then finalizing the scripts for the first season and starting to shoot.

They, the company, started shooting again in August. I came in in September to do the episode that I was on. They had a party at a restaurant where all the stars and directors that were there, could watch the Pilot on a big screen TV.

So that night of reading on a Friday, I met Harvey Frand and Bruce Kessler. Bruce was the director for that week and he was very well known for directing westerns. Had done a lot of episodes of Gunsmoke. You can usually tell people in the industry....they kind of break out into two groups: people that have integrity, they're nice, they honor your boundaries and then people that are power mad, and there are no such things as boundaries, they are overly ambitious. 

Here's Harvey Frand and Bruce Kessler and instantly you know- "Man I'd like to work for these guys." They were just such kind people.  My first teacher was Ed Dmytryk, a rather famous film director, and he had moved to Austin. He was such a gentleman that I thought 'If that's what the film business is like, I want some of that.'  Meaning as a career, as opposed to real estate, which was what I was doing at the time that I met Mr. Dmytryk.

So, they cast me and I think I stayed over Saturday for wardrobe, then I went back to Austin. I had to wait a week. I went back out the following Friday and that day was, I think just a wardrobe fitting, we reported to the set, but I don't think we worked. We had Saturday and Sunday off. So then I shot, I  believe it was Monday through Thursday of next week. Tim Thomerson was a guest star and Stan Shaw was another guest star. They were both very nice. Tim was funny. Bruce Kessler was a great guy to work for.

When I had gone back to Austin to wait for the filming, they have this service where they fly a flag over the capitol building and then its certified as having been flown over the capitol of the State of Texas.  So, I got one of
those for Harvey and I took it back to him.

And he didn't stay long... I guess they fired him after the first year. I hear he was just too nice.  It's kind of sad.

And Holly Hire was really, really nice. I just had a great time, I have no negative memories. As an unknown actor, I'm looking at a bunch of people who have a shot at a series here.  All of the 'young riders' were unknown and it was a chance for one or more of them to break out. See if the audience took to the show or one of the characters.. I remember the lead female was a very very strong actress.  You could tell, just disciplined and well trained, just  REALLY good.

Costumes: It seems like most of the costumes come from one or two companies. American Clothing and one other have the wardrobe for westerns, and they try to rent enough assortment to fit people. So they don't have to make them. I'm assuming that they did for the stars, but it's difficult, and time consuming.. if you're doing stunt work you have to have doubles, for wardrobe that is, especially if you're going to be squibbed.  So they will usually make those or buy those at a western clothing store, so they are modern made but they look old and they can buy multiples.
Which members of the main cast did you work with the most?

Brett Cullen... I saw more of him.  I remember at lunch, talking to the actor that played the character of the Indian, he was very nice. I enjoyed talking to him. I didn't really get to talk to anyone else.

Tim Thomerson, we hung out in the shade one day. He was just telling jokes.. he was hilarious. I talked to Bruce one day, he was an avid sailor, Bruce Kessler, the director. We talked about boats.

What other actors do you remember from the set?

Don Collier. I remember him from the set... what a LIKEABLE, KIND man.

Peppi Sanders. [She played his wife on the episode]  Oh, she was SO nice. I liked working with her a lot. She was very dedicated. A serious actress and just pleasant to be around, I got lucky. I wonder where she is and how she is, and if she is still acting.

Did you have a lot of special makeup for the role [after your character was whipped]?

Well I would say it was more wardrobe than makeup. I, my character, had been bullwhipped. I think they just lifted up the shirt and showed a bloody bandage. They had a stunt coordinator that was an expert with the bull whip teaching Tim Thomerson how to use the whip and then they positioned the camera so it would look like it was hitting me, but it wasn't. It was a real whip.

I remember this guy named Lundin. He had the stage coach, he was the head wrangler. He was EXTREMELY professional and the stunt co-ordinator was a pretty intense guy.  Everybody was really safety conscious. Tim had to fall off his horse and they had dug some earth out of the ground and put a mattress in and they covered it with dirt. So, you have to be pretty specific, pretty near the mark.. and hit that mark, or you could get hurt.

The first season.. if I remember the show's rating were somewhere in the 50s.. and there's always gossip. Some of it sounded pretty authentic. It seems that the head of ABC at the time, loved the show..  the concept, the writing. Someone at Ogiens/Kane was saying that even though the show might not get a high rating, the head of ABC was going to personally see that the show would survive long enough to have a second season at least. It seemed real enough, felt like the truth.. it feels right. I think the ratings for the second season were in the 30s.

You know, we had that party at the restaurant. There was euphoria after it aired. Everyone was really happy with how it came out. I remember being impressed with Anthony Zerbe's working attitude. He's, I guess,  the most
recognizable name and had done so many things. I didn't get to talk to him at all, but I liked what I saw, his demeanor. Just a great guy!

A Big Ol' thanks from me to Mr. Folse!! He was a joy to talk to and I think I'd trade the humidity here for the weather down there anyday... Mr. Folse is on the lookout for his photos from the set... so keep an eye out for updates on this page!  Thanks again, for sharing your time and memories with the fans! - Raye