Bonanza (TV Series)
From the optimistic Eisenhower era through the turbulence of the 1960's and beyond, Bonanza provided a brief respite to a simpler and more wholesome America. Debuting September 13, 1959, the Cartwrights entertained us for 14 seasons until the show's finale in the spring of 1973. The characters, Pa, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe became comfortable friends every Sunday for an hour, and have earned a place in American TV history.
Asked in Bonanza (TV Series)
Who was Little Joe's mother on Bonanza?
Why did Pernell Roberts leave Bonanza?
He left after the sixth season in 1965 due to disagreements with the writers and a desire to return to legitimate theatre. Although it was reported that Roberts wanted to stop wearing his toupe and believed that an "educated and urbane" son would not be calling his father "pa," the "toupe" or "pa" issues were not the reasons he left. It's noteworthy that he liked to tease people who didn't know that he wore a toupe by yanking it off unexpectedly. As such, his request not to wear it, may have been nothing but a teaser given that he wore it in other roles as necessary. His character "Adam" was originally slated to be a pivotal character, the second father figure in a more serious adult western, but ultimately the network and/or the producers changed the goal post on the show and turned it into a "family show" with the father figure as the one pivotal character and all the "sons" as "satellites" revolving around him. He was disappointed in this and at having been given what to him were childish dialogue and scenarios to act out. Roberts was a serious actor and found Bonanza to be silly. He said in one interview that he actually found it humiliating to play "Adam" the way his part was written. He said in still another newspaper interview, "I play an impotent role. "Wherever I turn, there is the father image." In much later interviews however, he said of his years on Bonanza, "It wasn't all black...I just didn't enjoy doing it." Roberts was also caught up in the "spirit of the sixties," and very involved in the civil rights movement. Thus, he was angry at NBC for the way it treated non-white actors and for its reluctance to do story lines which addressed social issues in greater depth. In spite of all this, his disappointment in the show and disagreements with writers, he said in a television interview that he would have stayed with Bonanza had he been permitted to do so on a part time basis, so that he could also do some stage work. David Dortort, Bonanza producer, indicated in a later archive interview (not the three hour one on the web) that he regretted not having allowed Roberts to continue as a semi regular. He added that he had been "too hard on him" and did not appreciate how good he really was. A little off the point, but some people might be interested in the fact that though Roberts had conflicts with Bonanza, he remained close friends with Lorne Greene until his death from cancer and is said to have wept at his bedside. He and Michael Landon, his TV brother went together for their last visit to him at the hospital before he died. Roberts was also friends with Dan Blocker until his death and eulogized Victor Sen Yung at the request of Yung's family when he died. Also off the point, but noteworthy is that there has always been speculation about whether or not NBC had Roberts blacklisted after he left and prevented him from headlining in any major production until almost 15 years later when he starred in his own series on another network. When the issue was raised to him in an interview around the time he was to begin his new series, Trapper John, MD, he denied it. But the fact that the question was raised in the first place attests to that speculation.
Asked in TV Programming and Commercials, TV Shows and Series, Bonanza (TV Series), Gunsmoke (TV and Radio Show)
What show aired first bonanza or gunsmoke?
Why did pernell Roberts quit bonanza?
Asked in Bonanza (TV Series)
What episodes was little joe shot in the back on bonanza?
How did Hoss die on Bonanza?
On May 13, 1972, in Los Angeles, California, Dan Blocker died of a pulmonary embolism following gall bladder surgery. The writers of Bonanza took the then-unusual step of referencing a major character's death in the show's storyline that autumn. So what that means is that when he died, on the show instead of recasting him, they said he also died on the show. It was later told to his long lost son Josh, that he died in an accident trying to ford a river.