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Home, Home on the Stage

A BLM Actor Comes Full Circle

story & photo by Matt Christenson

David Jason, stage and television actor, has just wrapped his latest performance as "Probably" George Malvern, a city boy turned mountain man who lived an exciting, if too short, life in the 1800s American West. Carrying little more than his "possibles bag" full of every possible staple he might need on his travels, "Probably" George struck out from the relative safety of his hometown to brave a wild, unpredictable future hoping to find his fortune - as well as a place where he could settle down.

Mr. Jason knows this character very well. He created him. Mostly.

"Probably" George Malvern is based on in-depth historical research as well as Jason's personal experiences gathered along his own journey.

Before becoming an Interpreter for the BLM's National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center (NHOTIC) in eastern Oregon, David Jason spent decades acting in popular vehicles ranging from famed soap opera One Life to Live to the 1965 film The Great Sioux Massacre along with Darren McGavin (an actor most recognizable as the father in the film A Christmas Story) to 1979 television movie of the week Walking Through the Fire starring Emmy-winner Swoosie Kurtz.

Now David Jason is lending his prodigious talents to the BLM's NHOTIC, which delivers a full educational experience of living history, interpretive programs, multi-media presentations, special events, and more than four miles of interpretive trails.

To this character, Jason has brought his own travels and a myriad of similar life experiences. Between acting gigs, Jason has also worked as a ranger for both the U.S. Forest Service and the Park Service.

But now David Jason comes full circle, rejoining his craft as a thespian to transmit the experience of American life in the West from 150 years ago.

At the end, the crowd stands on its feet cheering for both "Probably" George Malvern and David Jason. What's his next act? "Well, I've been trying to settle down for the last 25 years," says Jason. And from the overwhelming applause at his performances, it seems he's found his audience at last.

See David and other talented BLM interpretive specialists perform at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.