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Why Bonanza Was Almost Canceled After Season 1

If you’re looking for a decent show to check out then you should look no further than the classic western series Bonanza. The show was a huge success after its second season. And it also helped launch the careers of several high-profile actors including the late, greats Michael Landon, Dan Blocker, and Lorne Green.

Even though not every cast member pleased with the program. A lot of folks look back fondly on Bonanza for its character development and unique plotlines. Fans of the series probably remember how the last season seemed kind of like it cut short. Bonanza had canceled at the time but it’s pretty much a miracle that it even made it as far as it did in the first place. It very easily could have canceled after its first season. But fortunately, it managed to limp along for a year before viewers at home started catching wind of how amazing of a series it truly was.

Take a moment to take a look back in time with us to recognize how Bonanza barely managed to stay afloat past its first season. We’ll give you a rundown on what the show was all about. And what obstacles it had to compete with just to avoid the dreaded ax of network cancellation. This is definitely the video that Bonanza fans everywhere have been waiting for.

Bonanza Was All About The Cartwright Family

Bonanza first hit the air in 1959 and ran for 14 action-packed seasons. The series aired on NBC and it became the network’s longest-running western program. Audiences couldn’t get enough of it and critics took kindly to it as well. Over the years, Bonanza won numerous awards and earned itself many well-deserved accolades. The cast of the show featured celebrated actors like Lorne Green, Michael Landon, and Dan Blocker.

The story hinged around Ben Cartwright and his three sons, Eric ‘Hoss’, Adam and Little Joe. The brood lived on a huge ranch named the Ponderosa in Nevada. Bonanza was by far not your average western series. Instead of focusing on life out on the range, the plot centered around the interpersonal relationships and drama between the main characters.

Landon played the fan-favorite character Little Joe and he skyrocketed to popularity due to the stellar performance that he routinely gave on the series. The actor grew so accustomed to being on the show that he even ended up writing and directing several of its episodes. Even though he had to deal with one tragedy. After another, Little Joe ended up prevailing at the end of the day.

When Dan Blocker passed away, his character Hoss sadly had to written off the show. When the series dealt with his passing, it marked the first time in history that a popular television show addressed the death of one of its primary characters.

Hey, not to get too off-topic, but if you’re enjoying this video so far, make sure you give it a like and subscribe to our channel if you haven’t done so already. And don’t you dare think about going anywhere just yet. Stay tuned to learn a few little-known facts about Bonanza that every true fan should get a chance to familiarize themselves with.

Bonanza Ran For 14 Seasons

Despite the fact that Bonanza enjoyed a fairly strong run, it eventually taken off the air in 1973. Even so, the show still had a large fan base at the time. And a lot of people shocked when it suddenly canceled. There several major setbacks that resulted in it being canceled. For one thing, it set in a very difficult time slot for the network to accommodate. Then, when Hoss died, the creators of the series had to suddenly halt production and re-evaluate what they were doing. It was a huge kind thrown into their gears, and they weren’t prepared with having to deal with his loss. It was fairly unprecedented to say the least.

When Blocker died at the age of 43 from complications of gallbladder surgery. The writers had to scramble to figure out what they were going to do. Before shooting the 14th season, he had suffered a pulmonary embolism which resulted in blockage to an artery in his lungs. Michael Landon was tinkering on a script at the time that would have kicked the season off with a bang. But he had to make several major changes to the script while the showrunners figured out what they were going to do without Hoss.

Some fans were pretty dissatisfied with the show’s series finale. But the episode was the result of the writers clambering to rewrite the script to accommodate the loss of the very important and quintessential to the plot cast member. There simply wasn’t enough time to pen a good ending to the series since no one was prepared for the unfortunate turn of events. Still, Bonanza remains a fan favorite to this day even after 50 years have gone by.

Bonanza Almost Got Canceled After Season One

Bonanza was on the air for more than a decade, and over the course of its run it accumulated a huge base of loyal fans and curious viewers. Even after the series had ended, people were still obsessed with the cast of characters that they had grown so attached to over the years. Like so many other TV shows that eventually found their way, Bonanza had a rough start in the beginning.

A lot of folks probably don’t even realize it, but the classic western barely managed to survive past its first season. Over the years that it was on the air, Bonanza managed to pull a full 180. And amassed a viewer base that competed with other popular programs from the era like the successful legal drama Perry Mason. But for its first season, Bonanza wasn’t even able to make it into the top 30 shows of the year.

Regardless, NBC decided to keep the western alive for another season just to see how it would fair. It benefited greatly from the fact that it was one of the first TV shows to be released in color. After the network switched up its time slot, its ratings began to rise. From 1964 to 1967, it rose to the top of the ratings charts becoming the highest-rated shows on television.

Mark Twain Very Easily Could Have Been The Cartwright’s Neighbor

Samuel Clemens lived in Virginia City, Nevada back in the 1860s. He relocated to that city in hopes of striking it rich in the silver mines. But he ended up working for the local newspaper the Territorial Enterprise instead. It was while he was working there that he adopted the pen name Mark Twain, and the rest is, as they say, ancient history.

Bonanza Was One Of The Final Victims Of The So-Called ‘Rural Purge’

In the 1970s, the television networks all pretty much decided in unison that rural-country-themed shows were no longer in vogue and began nixing them from their line-ups. Bonanza, unfortunately, wasn’t exempt from this process.

Even though it remained on the air after the initial ‘rural purge’ of 1971. It was given the boot in 1973. Before getting cut, however, the western was moved to a different time slot pitting it against the All In The Family spin-off series. The only other show to last longer than Bonanza in the same category was Gunsmoke which was also canceled in 1975.

Lorne Greene Earned The Nickname “The Voice Of Doom”

Lorne was a Canadian actor who first got his start in the entertainment industry as an announcer for the Canadian Broadcasting Company during the Second World War. His official nickname when he was on the air was the ‘Voice of Canada’. But his signature deep booming voice coupled with his notoriety for delivering the stressful news about the war led many of his fans to refer to him by the nickname ‘The Voice of Doom’.

Dan Blocker Broke Records As A Baby

The husky actor weighed a hefty 14 pounds when he was born on December 10, 1928. At that size, he was actually the record-holder for the biggest baby born in Bowie County, Texas where he was born and raised. That incredible record still stands to this day. Can you imagine delivering a child that large? We send our condolences to his mother. That must have been rough on her, to put it lightly. But who knew, that little chubby baby would grow up to be such a big deal.

Blocker Founded The Bonanza Chain Of Restaurants

The popular chain of buffet restaurants was in fact named after the show. And was even founded by a member of its cast. Blocker started the chain back in 1963, and by 1989 they had expanded to over 600 locations worldwide. Ponderosa restaurants burst onto the scene in the early 1970s and expanded to the US in the early 80s. As of 2021, both chains are actually owned and operated by the same company.

Michael Landon Got His Name In An Unexpected Way

Landon was born Eugene Maurice Orowitz in 1936. He grew up in Queens, New York. His mother, Peggy, was a dancer and a comedian and his father Eli Maurice Orowitz was a Jewish entertainer that wanted nothing but the best for his child.

Landon started appearing on television in 1956 in the show Telephone Time. When it came time for him to pick his stage name. He simply thumbed through the phone book until he found a name that he liked. He’d keep that name for the remainder of his career.

The Cast Wore The Same Outfits For A Very Good Reason

Have you ever realized how the character in Bonanza all were the same outfits from episode to episode? From the fourth season onward, the Cartwright’s all rocked the same clothes much like a cartoon character like Doug, or Hey Arnold.

Standardizing the outfit choices made it much easier for the producers of the series to make use of stock footage for various sequences. It also made it easier for them to duplicate the wardrobe choices for the stunt doubles.

Most Characters Wore Wigs

During the last several seasons of the show, Lorne Green, Roberts, and Blocker all had to wear wigs because their natural hair had begun to thin. Greene and Roberts started off wearing hairpieces for the program but Blocker started wearing a toupee in 1968.

There’s A Bonanza Christmas Album

The Holidays seem to sneak up on us every single year. Next solstice season, be sure to add the Bonanza Christmas album to your festive playlist. In 1964, the four Cartwright cast members got together and recorded Christmas at Ponderosa. The album featured classic holiday ditties like Jingle Bells and Deck The Halls.

Alright, regrettably, that’s about all the time we have left to talk about Bonanza. But fortunately, the series lasted long enough for us to have something to discuss in the first place. It very easily could have been canceled after just one season and quickly forgotten. But instead, it had the opportunity to solidify itself in our popular culture.

Which Classic western TV series resonated the most with you, Bonanza or Gunsmoke? Let us know which one you preferred and why in the comments section below. And before you go anywhere, make sure you take a moment to show us a little display of support by giving this video a like. And by subscribing to our channel if you haven’t already. While you’re at it, go ahead and tap that bell icon. That way you can be notified every time we post another facts-packed video like this one.

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