Saluting ‘Bonanza,’ the most popular TV show of the swingin’ sixties

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Pernell Roberts, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker, and Lorne Greene rest alongside a boulder as their alter “Bonanza” egos while filming the season six episode “The Hostage” in early June 1964, possibly at the Kern River Valley in Kernville and Onxy, California. Photography by Gary Null / Bonanza Ventures
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Pernell Roberts is the dashing Adam Cartwright, possibly photographed during the location filming for “Bonanza’s” pilot episode “A Rose for Lotta” at Janss Conejo Ranch in Conejo Valley, California, April 1959. By the second season Roberts had acquired his standard all-black cowboy costume. Image Credit: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
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Clad from head to toe as altar ego Hoss Cartwright, actor Dan Blocker leans against a horse drawn buckboard on location filming “Bonanza” during the NBC western’s 1966-1967 eighth season. Blocker’s modern-day watch must have slipped past the photographer’s eye. Image Credit: Silver Screen Collection
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Lorne Greene and Mitch Vogel in character as Pa Cartwright and Jamie Cartwright circa June 1970. The autographed inscription reads, “To Eva, Thanks for writing! Love & life, best always, Mitch Vogel ‘Jamie.’” Image courtesy of Eva Foran Mayer / Bonanza Boomers
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Dan Blocker, Lorne Greene, and Michael Landon sign their autographs on a circa 1966 candid taken on the Ponderosa ranch set at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. Image Credit: Bonanza Ventures
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Lee Purcell smiles widely as Richard Thomas introduces himself in “The Weary Willies,” a “Bonanza” episode broadcast during the 12th season on September 27, 1970. Image Credit: Bonanza Ventures / Screengrab
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Pernell Roberts, Michael Landon, Lorne Greene and Dan Blocker head up the “Bonanza” cast, taken sometime during the second season [1960–1961]. Photography by Gary Null / Bonanza Ventures / CBS Home Entertainment
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David Canary, Michael Landon, Lorne Greene, Mitch Vogel, and Tim Matheson pose during “Bonanza’s” waning days in August 1972, mere months after the tragic passing of Dan Blocker, believed by many to be the show’s heart and central figure. Image Credit: Bonanza Ventures / NBCUniversal
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Michael Landon and Lorne Greene, the last two men still standing from the principal cast of “Bonanza,” express their deep admiration for one another on November 14, 1972, mere hours prior to learning that the venerable Western series had been unceremoniously cancelled by NBC. The duo are standing on the Warner Bros. soundstage in Burbank, as “Bonanza” creator David Dortort had decided at the start of season twelve in summer 1970 that it was cost prohibitive to pay Paramount’s increased lot rental fees. Photography by Larry Bessel / Los Angeles Times
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Michael Landon and late night pal Johnny Carson kibitz during a late 1970s appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” Image Credit: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
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Two years after Pernell Roberts departed “Bonanza” for greener pastures, series creator David Dortort drafted David Canary as a quasi-replacement of sorts. Here Canary is seen as Candy Canady, a drifter looking for a meal and an adventure, during the May 15–22, 1967, filming of his debut episode, “Sense of Duty.” No doubt modeled after Adam Cartwright’s trademark black ensemble, Canary’s wardrobe superviser would immediately eliminate the black shirt in favor of a passionate red one. Image Credit: AF archive / Alamy

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Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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