Voices of the West is a radio program–now internet radio–originating from Tucson, AZ.
Franzi, as almost everybody called him, created this radio program about 10 years ago as a vehicle to continue talking about the Old West. He was a student of Old West history and sometimes wished he had been born in that era. His catch-phrase for the show was “A radio program dedicated to the proposition that America was better off when its TV shows were about cowboys instead of lawyers.”
Since Franzi’s passing, those of us connected to the original radio show decided we wanted to continue with Emil’s dream. And, we decided to change the name to reflect the legacy that Franzi gave us. Kinda like “Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theatre.”We talk and write about anything that covers the Old West–the movies, the actors/actresses, the directors, the producers, the stuntmen, and, the film music. We also talk with and write about the authors who are still publishing books about the Old West–fact or fiction.
In other words, if the topic goes to that “Code of the West” ideal, it’ll be wrangled.
Taking over the co-hosting challenges of “Emil Franzi’s Voices of the West” is third generation Arizonan and rancher Joe Dreyfuss, retired Hollywood stuntman Steve “Bunker” de France, who was in 52 “High Chaparral” episodes, and Hollywood insider Todd Roberts, who’s father produced both “Monte Walsh” films, which were filmed at the historic Empire Ranch in southeastern Arizona. Show producer Harry Alexander has his hands full with the three of them.
Any history about the Old West is fair game on this program from the people who lived here first to those who later settled the area. We also talk about the military campaigns and what went right and what went wrong with some of those campaigns. We also talk about the weapons of the day.
The program also features interviews with those in the know in Hollywood and those familiar with the Western genre. Past guests have included Wyatt McCrea, grandson of Joel McCrea, Peter Ford, the son of the late Glenn Ford and Pam Marvin, the widow of Lee Marvin, and Cindy Mitchum (daughter of John and niece of Robert). Voices of the West has also talked with Old Tucson’s Bob Shelton to remember the great movies made at the famous movie set.
The program and Emil Franzi were honored in 2014 when the Western Writers of America named Voices of the West the winner of the Lariat Award. The award is presented to the person/entity that furthers the discussion of the Old West.
Voices of the West is also involved with the Empire Ranch Foundation. The Empire Ranch is a former cattle ranch located southeast of Tucson and its buildings are now on the National Registrar of Historic Places. The foundation holds a number of events throughout the year to raise money to continue the preservation of this important historical area. One of the annual events is the Empire Ranch Roundup. Click here for more information. The Empire Ranch has been the backdrop of many a Hollywood western. It also was the backdrop for the musical “Oklahoma!”