Bonanza TV Show
TV Show Details
|Original Air Dates||1959-1973|
|Key Cast||Lorne Green, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker, Pernell Roberts|
Ben Cartwright and His Three Sons – Hoss, Little Joe, Adam are Unforgettable in “Bonanza.”
The western “Bonanza” has two special distinctions: 1) It was the first western series to be shown on television in color. And 2) It was the second-longest running western ever on TV, having graced the screen for fourteen consecutive years. (The longest running television western ever was “Gunsmoke” which aired for twenty years straight.)
“Bonanza” revolved around patriarch Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene), his three sons – Adam, Hoss and Little Joe, and the massive 1,000 square mile ranch that they owned named “The Ponderosa” near Virginia City, Nevada.
“Bonanza” was not a traditional shoot-em up western. Instead, “Bonanza” focused on situations and relationships involving one or more of the Cartwright men and the people they encountered during each episode. The Cartwrights were a close-knit family who were always willing to help people in distress. Therefore, they had their share of desperadoes, connivers, escaped killers and cattle rustlers to deal with while also trying to protect their impressive ranch “The Ponderosa.”
The father, Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene) was a three-time widower who had three sons by different wives (who were all deceased). The eldest son Adam (Pernell Roberts) was the most serious and introspective. The middle son, Hoss (Dan Blocker) was the biggest, loudest and probably the most gentle in spirit. The youngest son, Little Joe (Michael Landon) was the most impulsive and romantic which led to many compromising situations.
The adventures of these men and their dealings with the numerous people whose lives crossed their path, made up the continuing saga of “Bonanza.”
Audiences loved the western, making “Bonanza” one of the top shows on television for most of the 1960s. For three seasons in a row, from 1964-1967, “Bonanza” was the number one television show on the air.
Its success led to “Bonanza” being broadcast in syndication for many years afterwards, which is why it is one of the most popular classic TV westerns ever made.
• “Bonanza” premiered on television on September 12, 1959 and almost didn’t make it past its first year. This is because the initial season for the show was terrible. It had very low viewership and ratings. Nevertheless, “Bonanza” was continued for a second year and the western’s ratings started going up. Eventually, it became a hit and for three consecutive seasons (1964-1967), “Bonanza” was the number one television show on the air.
• “Bonanza” is the second longest running western TV show in history. Airing for 14 years, Bonanza is second only to the western TV show “Gunsmoke” which was on television for 20 consecutive years. Bonanza may have continued on for many more years and surpassed the Gunsmoke record had actor Dan Blocker not passed away just prior to the 1972-1973 season. Blocker played “Hoss” on the show and he died unexpectedly of a pulmonary embolism in 1972. After his death, the ratings for “Bonanza” plummeted and the show ended the following year.
• Pernell Roberts, who plays Adam Cartwright, left “Bonanza” after the 1964-65 TV season. In the show, his character was written out as having gone to Australia to live. New people were added to the regular cast, such as Candy (David Canary) who was a ranch hand who became like a son to Ben Cartwright.
• “Bonanza” won the prestigious Bronze Wrangler Award in 1970 for Outstanding Western TV drama.
• “Bonanza” also won three Emmy Awards during its television run. They were: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Color (1965), Outstanding Individual Achievements in Film Editing (1966) and Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition (1971)
• “Bonanza” has also won a TV Land Award for “Best in the West” in 2003.
Season 1 DVD
Bonanza Season 1 DVD Set
This DVD set contains all 32 episodes from the very first season of “Bonanza.” There are eight DVD discs in this set containing 26 1/2 hours of programming. It also has some bonus material like an archival interview with the show’s creator and producer David Dortort.
Season 2 DVD
Bonanza Season 2 DVD Set
This Season 2 DVD set contains all of the Bonanza episodes from the second season. It also has bonus features such as a vintage interview with actor Dan Blocker who starred in the show as Hoss.
Season 3 DVD
Bonanza Season 3 DVD Set
This much anticipated release of the third season of “Bonanza” on DVD contains all of the TV episodes for this season.
Instant Download | Streaming
Bonanza Instant Watch
Some of the Bonanza TV show episodes are available for instant watching on your computer (or other internet connected device) from Amazon Instant Video. Click the button on the left for details.
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