Trivia / Bonanza

In General:

  • Dan Blocker, who played Hoss, founded the Bonanza Steakhouse restaurant chain. The chain was later bought out by Ponderosa Steakhouse, whose name was also inspired by the TV series.
  • The program Bonanza was, at least partially, created due to a deal between RCA and NBC. RCA wanted to sell it's color television sets and NBC made Bonanza as a full color Western, starting with the very first episode in 1959.

Specific Tropes:

  • The Cast Showoff: Pernell Roberts was a talented singer, so several episodes had Adam singing during the plot.
  • The Character Died with Him: Implied with Hoss in several early Season 14 episodes, including "Forever" (Ben mournfully looks at a photo of Hoss on Joe's nightstand, with the camera zooming in on said photo) and "The Initiation" (Ben – angry that a lynch mob is after one of Jamie's friends – shouts out, "I've already buried one son!"). This comes following the unexpected death of Dan Blocker in May 1972 just months before production on Season 14 episodes was to begin.
  • Dawson Casting: At the beginning of the series, the 17-year-old Little Joe was played by 22-year-old Michael Landon, and the 23-year-old Hoss was played by the 30-year-old Dan Blocker.
  • Missing Episode: When the show entered syndication in 1973, the original rerun package contained only the first six seasons (complete, minus one 1965 episode), plus select episodes from the eighth through 11th seasons (1966-1970, those considered to be the "most popular" amongst fans); this is the package that airs currently on TVLand. The entire 1965-1966 season, the episodes from 1966-1970 not included in the original syndicated package, and the final three seasons (1970-1973, which had Mitch Vogel as part of the cast as young teen-ager Jamie Hunter Cartwright) were not included and, amongst die-hard fans presumed to be "lost." However, the "missing" episodes were later included in a second rerun package, and these episodes have aired on CBN and the Hallmark Channel. That said, there are no known instances of the entire run of 430 episodes — from the premiere to the final episode — being aired as part of a single rerun package on a TV network or station.
  • Trope Namer: Bonanza is the trope namer for the Cartwright Curse, the tendency for love interests to die or be written out of a series at a high pace for the sake of drama or to maintain the status quo.
  • You Look Familiar: Numerous actors appeared in multiple one-off guest roles throughout the 14 seasons. A few notable examples are:
    • James Coburn, who appeared in 3 episodes as three different characters over the first three seasons.
    • Gregory Walcott, who appeared as seven different characters over the course of 7 episodes ranging from season 1 to season 14.
    • Don Collier appeared in five episodes (the most memorable being 'Credit For a Kill' as Sheriff Fenton), and also lent his distinctive voice to provide an uncredited voice-over as the Judge in the series finale.
    • In one particularly squicky example, Geraldine Brooks, the actress who plays Adam’s mother later returned as a love-interest for Hoss.
  • Written by Cast Member / Directed by Cast Member: Michael Landon's career as a famous writer/director began on Bonanza. He wrote his first episode in season 3 and had his directorial debut in season 9 — he wrote a total of 20 episodes and directed 14 by the time the series ended.


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