21. The Cartwright Curse
Every woman that Cartwright fell in love with either ended up dead or left town. It became a joke among the show’s actors and fans and there was obviously a “Cartwright Curse.” We would have settled for just one marriage that lasted but this dad was obviously cursed to raise his kids as a strong father figure with no mom in sight.
22. Fake Hair
Many of the actors on the show wore toupees, including Blocker, Roberts, and Green. Landon’s hair, however, was all real.
23. Equal Screen Time
The four men of the Bonanza household share the same screen time. The production wanted that no one of the four overshadowed the other three. Every script was closely scrutinized to make sure there were four stars during every episode. It paid off and led to a very well-balanced show that offered the chance for every star to shine.
24. The Show’s Title Is Slang
The name Bonanza was a slang term used by miners to describe a large mineral deposit or ore. The term is also synonymous with the word “jackpot.” A real-life bonanza was discovered right by the Cartwright’s ranch in the famous Comstock Lode.
25. The Show Stayed On TV To Sell Color TVs
Bonanza was one of the earliest TV shows to be filmed in color. When it suffered ratings, it remained on air because NBC and its parent company RCA wanted to sell more color TVs. As the TV show increased in popularity it didn’t have to rely any longer on its ability to sell color TVs.
When the show entered its final five seasons, Landon became hard to work with on a daily basis. It was rumored he made sure that no new major characters were introduced to the show. He also regularly delayed production shoots as he attempted to create his own vision for the series.
28. Dan Blocker Was Turned Down For A Role In “M*A*S*H*”
Dan Blocker was considered as one of Robert Altman’s top choices for the lead role in the movie M*A*S*H*. However, Altman’s request was not granted by the producers. The movie was still a huge success, but it would have been interesting to see which role would have been written for one of TV’s favorite actors.
Blocker died unexpectedly. Because of that, it was announced that Hoss would be killed in an accident in an episode of the show. It was the very first time in television history that a show had dealt with, or even mentioned, the death of one of its characters.
30. Guest Stars Were Paid More Than The Show’s Stars In The First Season
On the first season of Bonanza, the production was not yet sure if the viewers would love the show because the main characters were not as well-known as the other actors in the industry. In response, many famous stars were brought in for guest appearances. The show’s producers paid those actors more than the show’s actual stars. By the second season, the show’s ratings were increasing and the show’s actors had become bonafide stars.
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