Bonanza
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Bonanza

Year:
Duration:
49 min (430 episodes)
Genres:
Western
IMDB rate:
7.4
Awards:
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 7 wins & 13 nominations
Details
Country: USA
Release Date: 1959-09-12
Filming Locations: Virginia City Western Street, Paramount Studios Backlot, 5555 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, California, USA
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Trivia
Saturday night ratings were dismal and Bonanza was soon targeted for cancellation. Given one last chance, it was moved to Sunday nights at 9:00 p.m. The new time slot caused the series to soar, and it eventually reached number one by the mid-'60s.
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During the filming of one episode, Lorne Greene was required to jump off a small ledge into a lake five feet below. Michael Landon later recalled that when Greene did the stunt, he jumped into the water feet first and went completely under, but his hair piece came off and floated on the surface of the lake. Landon and the rest of the crew watched to see what would happen. After a short while, Greene's hand shot up out of the water, grabbed the hairpiece, and pulled it down. Greene emerged from the lake, wearing his hairpiece slightly askew. He walked nonchalantly past the snickering crew, and went into his trailer without saying a word.
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According to David Dortort, 'Michael Landon' himself grew difficult during the last five seasons the show ran, "Nearly every line, every scene, every set up... everything would halt for endless story conferences on the set... it got increasingly bitter toward the end."
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Goofs
Floor model wheel slot machine in saloon was not built until 1896.
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In every episode each character who wore a gun had a pistol belt with no loops for bullets. The show took place during the Civil War. Pistols were cap and ball, did not use metallic cartridges. Thus no bullet loops.
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The story of Bonanza starts in 1859 Nevada but the clothing worn by the cast is invariably 20th century . For example belt loops did not appear on men's trousers and jeans until many decades later.
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Quotes
Ben Cartwright: Hey, Joe, do you know the difference between a table and an ottoman?
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Adam Cartwright: Let's go back to the Ponderosa, Pa. This isn't any of our affair.
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Ben Cartwright: You and your education.
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Faq
Q
What were the reasons for Pernell Roberts abrupt departure from the series?
A
He claimed that he was very disappointed and disenchanted with the overall direction and writing of the show. Roberts didn't care for his Adam character having to ask his father for permission being an adult, the eldest Cartwright son and also the most educated with an architectural degree. Now imagine a grown man having to say "yes Pa, no Pa!" Sounds quite silly! While his brothers Hoss and Joe had minimal education. Its interesting to note that after the fifth season, all of the cast were negotiating new contracts with hefty salary increases for additional seasons. Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon all signed for five more seasons with an increase of pay from $5,000 per episode to $8,000 and Greene tried to persuade Pernell Roberts to do the same because by sticking with Bonanza then he'd be financially set for life. Roberts opted to sign only for the sixth season and to leave the show afterwards. His costars eventually became millionaires and Roberts missed out on this lucrative windfall. The writers left open the possibility of Adam's return for future storylines though this never came about since Roberts never returned to the show. Many years after leaving Bonanza, Pernell Roberts expressed sincere regrets on his leaving the show as he felt that the media coverage of his departure had left his fans with a very negative impression of him. He did eulogize his former costar Victor Sen Yung at his funeral in 1980 as he felt that it was the right thing to do at the time.
Q
Did Bonanza have a proper series finale to end the show?
A
No, due to the ongoing slide in prime time ratings in season 14. NBC decided to pull the plug around halfway through the 1972-1973 season and so Bonanza left the airwaves permanently without any kind of final wrap up episode. Dan Blocker died toward the end of the next to last season in May 1972 and so the character of Hoss was written out by the following season by having him die in an accident in one episode and so by the time of the final season only Lorne Greene, Michael Landon and Victor Sen Yung remained from the original cast.
Q
How did the characters Adam and Hoss leave the series?
A
Ben's eldest son Adam moved to Australia when Pernel Roberts wanted to move on in his acting carreer. Hoss died in an accident after the untimely death of Dan Blocker.
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Photos from cast
Nina Foch Meg Foster Sally Kellerman Dean Stockwell Susan Strasberg Alyce Andrece Anna-Lisa Alfred Barker Jr.
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